THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
London to Verviers
Onward to Austria

A brilliant day in Germany

The sun shone. I drove on unrestricted autobahns with the roof down at some speed. My Dunhill flat cap puzzled German motorists by not flying off. It's a matter of aerodynamics. My football team won at home, which means "the great escape" from relegation is still on. And I made some new friends.

I did not come anywhere near to maxing Speranza out today. It's the beginning of the school holidays and the autobahns were packed. I enjoyed the instant separation of cavaliers and roundheads when the magic road sign appeared. Even more so as I was able to lead the cavaliers' charge. Still, I never had long enough to get to top speed before reaching the back of the next queue.

I did pass two police cars at 243kph - just in excess of 150mph. Every instinct screamed to brake at the sight of them. The thrill of not doing so was terrific. Thank you, Germany, for treating your citizens as adults in at least this one respect.


My average speed reveals many quieter patches. There was a frustrating forty minutes or so stuck in traffic on an unrestricted section. What a waste.

On arrival in Nuremberg I did a few circuits of the beautiful city centre before finding my way into the the narrow one-way lane my hotel is in. When I drove past the castle at the top of the town I actually drew applause from a party of young tifosi. I gave them the royal wave and they cheered me on. The receptionist took a look at Speranza through the window and decided she was not going to make it down to the basement garage. So she is wedged diagonally into an archway out front.

It was while parking her there that I made new friends. A young boy was photographing Speranza and I invited him over, with his Mum's permission, to be photographed in the driving seat. The small boy in me knew exactly what that would mean to the small boy in him. I did it many times on my American tour and it always went down well.

When I was out on my photo-walk later the boy's grandmother called me over as I was about to sit down in a sidewalk café. She invited me to join the family at their table. Theo, the paterfamilias, grew up in Nuremberg but emigrated in 1960 to Denmark, where he married his Danish wife. They had come back to visit in a three car convoy with their children, their children's spouses and their grandchildren - all thoroughly Danish. As is Theo himself now. He passed my World Cup-based variant of the "Tebbit test" without hesitation.  He also chose my food and my beer so that I could have the authentic Nuremberg experience. I had a very pleasant time and he even insisted on picking up the tab.

The charm of Speranza strikes again.

After dinner Theo and his wife took me on a guided walking tour to see what I had missed. This is a beautiful city and well worth a visit. There is far more to see than I could in the time available.

You can see a slideshow of today's photos here