AFORTNIGHTS holiday tour on the Continent gave me the chance of paying a much belated visit which should be of some interest to older readers of this paper. They will recall that shortly after the end of the war. the CATHOLIC HERALD started the plan of relieving the plight of the Germans by organising the adoption of German parishes by British ones. In this undertaking we were much helped by Fraulein Haage of the Caritas Verband in the little Black Forest tourist town of Triberg. Triberg itself was adopted by the parish of Ware, but Fraulein Haage. if my memory serves, was in a position to help us over a wider field, and readers of the paper, including many from overseas, added to the help that could be given to Triberg.
IT was only while driving home1wards through Germany that we remembered Triberg and worked our way towards it. We entered a hotel for a late lunch and made enquiries about Fraulein Haage. Within a few minutes she appeared, for by chance we had stopped opposite the place where she worked, and the hotel manager had at once asked her to come over. I have rarely seen anyone look so surprised as she asked two or three times whether I really represented the CATHOLIC HERALD. The little town flows like a river through the wooded valley, and soon we were walking all over it. and chatting about old times, thought it was hard indeed for the imagination to seize the fact the prosperous and gay town of today had once been in such distress. We climbed up to the highest waterfall in Germany (Germany is curiously short of real heights) on to the new .church (of which this
paper once published a picture) and over to the fantastic baroque pilgrims' church, Fraulein Haage always talking of further plans for the future to found homes for the sick and for the children. It seemed to me that two or three hours can rarely have been spent with greater pleasure through such a chance encounter and the feeling of reward for a good work once done by the readers of this paper.
THIS tour has been unique for me in another sense for it was done in a "Caravette", in other words one of the many types
of cars which can be rapidly converted into a bedroom. besides possessing cooking and washing arrangements, This experience has shown that this is far and away the hest way to travel. not only because it cuts down the cost by at lease one-third, but because one has a sense of belonging to the country and being utterly free to roam about as one wants. I was a trifle apprehensive about finding suitable places in which to settle for the night. In fact, one can always go to an official camping site, but we avoided these except for one night near the Lake of Lucerne when we had experienced two days of steady rain.
Greeting the dawn
BUT the real excitement is to drive on in darkness and then blindly choose a stop. One night in the hilly Ardennes country we ventured up a rough road into a forest and settled high up. The next morning we found ourselves on top of the world with a view that seemed to stretch to infinity. It also happened not to be raining. That early morning awakening was almost worth the whole journey. It is worth noting that these cars, which park as easily as any average size car, are classed as commercial vehicles and consequently pay no purchase tee They are therefore much cheaper than they look.
Churches one sees
NATURALLY. in driving long distances in more than halfa-dozen countries (including Liechtenstein) one sees a great many churches My picture shows one of the most striking. It is situated in the centre of Berne, and the richness and finish of its ornamentation, glass and furniture betoken the richness of Switzerland. f cannot imagine why the tower is so high. but if this is a mistake it is one in the right direction. In Central Europe one saw church after church of simple but well-proportioned design, each with a high, slender steeple. These steeples, whether they ended in a conical top or the onion shape, gave an elegance and a lightness that was most pleasant. I thought that many of our simpler new churches would be much enhanced by such tall, slender steeples.
ITOOK with me a review copy of the 1961 Michelin Guide to France (Dickens Press, 22s. 6d.) and I am glad to testify to its usefulness. Because of it we returned to Boulogne via Arras. where one of the rare starred restaurants was to be found, For the last evening we let go for an expensive French meal which thoroughly lived up to its reputation. Though food prices seem higher on the Continent, you get your money's worth. The expensive meal is often rather less expensive than in Britain. The difficulty for tourists is the cheap meal. but price for price and nourishment for nourishment, you fare better with a picnic on the Continent than with a cheap English meal. '