December 2017
  • Day17

    Frankfurt, an Unscheduled Port.

    December 29, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    Over this part of the trip we experienced many interruptions to the planned itinerary. They were due to several unforeseen complications. First of which was high water levels due to the large volume of snow melt waters. This meant there was a very high danger that the ship could strike one of the bridges immediately in front of us, so our captain elected to doc for the night. During that night another ship past us and subsequently struck the bridge. They said that the water rises very quickly here and Falls again just as quickly. When we began sailing again we didn’t go far and again had to dock because a barge in front of us lost his propeller and so drove the nose of the barge into the bank then the current swept the stern into the opposite bank. ALL traffic stopped until a big service barge came to move the blockage.
    Because we lost a night steaming and the blockage we were behind schedule. We had been due to dock in Würtzburg that morning. However,by morning we were now 8 hours sailing away. There was a side trip @ €60 available to visit Rothenburg so the tour director, Sue, said “ I’m putting you all onto coaches here, (8 hours steaming away) and sending you all on to Würtzberg for the morning. The coaches will get you there in an hour. Then this afternoon you all go to Rothenburg for free. Then she announced that as everyone was out for lunch she was giving every passenger €25 for lunch. Women were permitted to buy their husbands a bag of crisps for lunch and spend the rest on a nice pair of shoes
    The boat then steamed on to Würtzburg. Collected all the passengers and we were on schedule again.
    Our next stop was to be Cologne but Sue said it wasn’t as interesting as the Roman Fort at Frankfurt so she made an executive decision that that was the new plan. Skip Cologne the go on to the Rhine Valley of your the castles. Unfortunately that meant we arrived at nightfall so Sue wouldn’t let the captain continue because we would miss all the beautiful Rhine Valley Castles
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  • Day17

    Frankfurt, the City

    December 29, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 2 °C

    Not Actually a very large city by European standards. It has approximately 700,000 population. That however, does swell to between 1.2 and 1.3 million each day as workers from the surrounding towns flood in to work in the city. It is the financial capital of Germany and is expecting a massive growth as the Brexit issue unfolds and all the European Financial Services transfer to Frankfurt. They talk of 300-400,000 jobs moving into Frankfurt and a need for massive home building projects. So much industrialisation in Germany it’s little wonder its Europe’s power house.Read more

  • Day16

    Wertheim II

    December 28, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 3 °C

    There was a quite large castle here however it has deteriorated somewhat as some roofs have fallen in. The guide said it is often used for weddings and such functions. We didn’t go up to it as it was quite high above the town. One of these photos shows the ends of steel rods & nuts used to hold the wall up. Finally the Christmas lights were still up so I managed some nice shots of the town at dusk.Read more

  • Day16

    Wertheim

    December 28, 2017 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 3 °C

    This is again a medieval city with many buildings made with the timber frame and straw/mud and plaster infill. The tower was on quite a lean, it was formerly used as a goal for drunkard men and arguementative women. But as the guide explained “ in the morning the men would be sober but the women . . .”. Many buildings have second and subsequent floors with larger floor areas than the ground floor so overhang into the streets. This is because local rates were based on building floor area which was calculated by multiplying ground floor area by the number of floors. Therefore the extra overhang of upper floors they had for free. This is a town of glass blowers, many shops with beautiful glass. One of the workers came onto the ship and did a demo for us before we went to the town. Made a killing on the after demo sales and town visit to his shop. Quite pricey though.Read more

  • Day14

    Bamberg

    December 26, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 2 °C

    There wasn’t a lot to see at Bemberg. It is a very old town but doesn’t have a castle or any other major attraction. We wandered around the town and there were some interesting buildings which were very old, some to 800 years old. One thing I did try here is their famous smoky beer.Read more

  • Day13

    The next city is Nuremberg

    December 25, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    Most famous for its WWII associations is Nuremberg but our days visit left on Christmas Day left recollections of a fascinating and beautiful old city. The first stop off was the site of Hitlers Nuremberg Rallys. Much of this site has been destroyed by the German govt. so as to desensitise it significance. This was the second most bombed city in Germany. Approximately 90% of the buildings in the city were destroyed however the reconstruction was done in the old traditional style so what you see today is much like it was before the war. A walk through the old city is really nice especially if you have the services of a good guide. Travelmarvel have supplied excellent guides everywhere we have been. The city had an extremely well defended castle and the old city walls are the best preserved in Europe. They date back 600 years.Read more

  • Day13

    The Descent

    December 25, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 3 °C

    This was one of the deepest locks we passed through having a fall of 25 m. There were three of these 25 metre locks in a row. As the water level drops the water is stored in massive tanks at the side, this occurs three times with water stored in three separate tanks. The water from the fourth drop is released into the canal. This means that only about 25% of the water is lost to the system for each ship passing. The stored water is then reused to refill the lockRead more

  • Day13

    Passing through a lock - The Approach

    December 25, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 3 °C

    The lock system is an amazing piece of engineering. It consists of 16 rising locks from Budapest up to the European watershed, another 16 locks to cross the watershed and then 34 descending locks from the watershed down the Main river to the Rhine. The trip therefore traversing 66 locks in total. At its peak the elevation is 406 metres above sea level. On it’s inception it was clear that it was clearly only for freight and would never be used for passengers transportation, as obviously no sensible person would pay for such painfully slow mode of transportation. Then along cake tourism. The number of tourist river ships is mind boggling. Fortunately for us it’s off peak and the whole system shuts down each year two weeks after Christmas. Nearly all the vessels are docked and inactive so we have had the river pretty much to ourselves.Read more