Viking River Cruise-Apr./May 2013 (14)

Saturday, May 04, 2013 It’s Saturday morning now and it’s a beauty. Sombre grey skies have given way to bright sunshine. Sitting here on the balcony of the room, Cynthia and I noticed a marked change….we are now sailing downhill! Sometime in the night, we passed the great continental divide of this area.

Lock On The Canal (Going Downhill)

Lock On The Canal (Going Downhill)

The locks we passed through during the night, and now in the morning, are lowering us rather than raising us. It’s an eerie feeling to be sitting here watching the top of the lock disappear above us as water is moved out of the lock and we descend over 80 feet (or more) to the bottom before exiting at the lower level.

Descending Into The Belly Of The Lock

Descending Into The Belly Of The Lock

Holding Tanks Near Each Lock

Holding Tanks Near Each Lock

Water from the lock can be emptied/filled by using gravity for a while, then pumped into holding tanks on the canal sides. This saves a great deal of water being lost during the exchanges and also cuts down on the power used. This canal which connects us from Regensberg on the Danube, to Nuremberg on the Main was first conceived by Charlemagne in the 8th century, but when he ordered his lads to pick up their shovels and dig, it didn’t work out. The canal runs from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim and connects the Black Sea to the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It is an engineering marvel. I believe it is some 105 miles long, with numerous locks, and was constructed at roughly 23 million euros per Km. This canal will allow us to enter the Main river and travel west into the Rhine , at which point we can go northwards towards the North Sea and Amsterdam.

Mid morning we had a guest speaker. Dr. Marcus Urban (Ph.d.) of the university of Nuremburg. He gave us an account of the European Union’s history, advantages and disadvantages. It was very enlightening. He was an excellent speaker.

Dr. Marcus Urban Speaks To Us.

Dr. Marcus Urban Speaks To Us.

Lunch came next and we had the pleasure of sharing a table with Al and Pauline, an older couple from Florida. They were/are avid cruisers. They had given up counting the number of their cruises at #65. When we asked them where they were headed on the next cruise after this, they told us they were planning to go to the Antarctic from Florida on a cruise of some 68 days! Yikes!

In the pm, the bus took us into Nuremberg on a sight seeing tour. Our first stop on the tour was the monolithic construction the Kongresshalle started by Hitler as a larger version of the Coliseum in Rome, the meeting place for his Hitler youth rallies.

Hitler's Kongresshalle

Hitler’s Kongresshalle

It was never completed. We moved on and saw the Nuremberg Law Courts where the trials of war criminals were held.

Rear of Law Courts (Nuremberg) From The Bus.

Rear of Law Courts (Nuremberg) From The Bus.

From there we headed up and up over Nuremberg to the castle at the top of the high ground. We left the bus and entered the Kaiserburg, which is one impressive fortress.

The Castle In Nuremberg

The Castle In Nuremberg

Good views of the city are afforded from there. Eventually we wandered down into the main square, the Hauptmarkt where red and white striped covers topped the vendors’ stalls as the vendors offered their fresh produce for sale. It was such an exciting place as folk bustled to and fro’ among the stalls and the vendors’ cries sounded as they would in any town market.

Across the Market To One Of The Local Churches

Across the Market To One Of The Local Churches

Cynthia and I had a few quiet moments in the church on the square before heading back out into the bustle of the market-place. Don and Lynore had been in another group but now we met up as it was almost time to make our way back to the bus and to the ship. A short ride in our coach had us back at the dock. Later we enjoyed dinner together and then listened to the lovely music of The Sound Of Europe. They were three young singers and their pianist, who charmed us with music from Mozart and Rossini, to the Sound of Music.

One of the Singers Gives Cynthia A Hug

One of the Singers Gives Cynthia A Hug

It was a perfect end to yet another great day. Goodbye for now and God bless.

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