During a leisurely trip through France by car we arrived at a small
hill town in the Auvergne, a beautiful and not a well--traveled part
of the country. The houses clustered on the slopes of a hill and at
the top stood the church. In front of it was a broad square, the equivalent
of the Town Green in New England. A small hotel stood near the church
where we found a room in the back with an extensive view of the countryside.
We left the car in the in front of the hotel. After dinner we went
to bed, since we planned to leave early in the morning. When we walked
out of the hotel after breakfast we found to our surprise that the
empty square from the night before was now filled with stalls and tables
covered with merchandise. Nobody had warned us that there would be
a market on this day. Lost above all the clatter stood our poor little
car and we had no way to extract it. The market people looked at us
with a kind of malicious smile (Schadenfreude, in German). But
as the saying goes "who laughs last, laughs best." We found
a policeman who ordered some of the stalls and tables to be moved to
give us a way out. In no time at all a narrow passage was formed, and
we drove slowly and smilingly through the crowd with a policeman in
front of us directing the traffic.
that experience we never again parked in such an exposed place, but
I also believe that the market people in that town never again tried
to embarrass a foreign driver.