Saturday, 1 October 2016

Full circle

It is now October and we have returned with Antiope to Corre, Since leaving there in May 2015.
She has taken us to 7 countries. She will spend the Northern winter ashore here having a well earned rest snug under wraps.

Antiope, on the Vosges canal, just a few Kms to Corre

April 2016, Under cover in Travemunde on the Baltic coast, our adventure began.

Since launching earlier this year we have cruised  Denmark, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, and now back to France.

Autumn arrives as we cruised up the Meuse into France

                                             The Freycinet guage locks of France,

The small 'do it yourself'  locks are a welcome change from the massive commercial waterways.

Calm warm sunny days of September 

September in Europe has been the warmest for decades, a late attempt at compensation for a wet and windy Summer.

We share a lock with a much travelled Enlish narrowboat

A sad looking bandstand, A sign of rural France in decline.

Some traditional industry survives at la Rochere near Corre.

We find hand made glassware still being made and sent all over the world from a business that has survived 5 centuries in the same family. 

We will miss these quiet waterways, until next year.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Up the Mass/ Meuse to France

Our route took us through Arnhem, and the site of the failed mass airbourne landing during WW2.
Of the 100, 000 troops who landed, 30,000 never came home. The town still honours those who tried to liberate them.and end the war.

Arnem bridge over the Rhine. the vital crossing , a bridge too far

The memorial to those who tried to end the war
 Arnhem Cathedral

From Arnhem we head South and join the Mass river which would take us through Belgium and back to France


A dramatic landscape through Belgium, where the Mass becomes the Meuse

At the summit the waterway becomes a canal with tunnels often cut through the hills 

A grebe with her chick on her back

As I write we are back in French waters heading for Nancy, and then down the Vosges canal to our winter base in Corre at the head of the Soane river

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Netherlands again

This week we crossed the border back into the Netherlands, following a route that last traveled 50 years ago on our return from Copenhagen by open boat.
Dortmund- Ems canal, and the link to the Mittelland

Big lock
Small lock

At Haren we turn West onto a small and historic waterway, the Haren-Ruetenburg canal. which will take us across the border into the Netherlands

Bruce hoists a new courtesy flag

A contrast to the major commercial waterways

We cut a path through the duck weed

We have the waterway to ourselves

A modern lock on a restored section of the link waterway

Now in the Dutch waterways we will briefly join the Rhine and then on to the Mass river heading South to Maastricht, Belgium, and France.  Watch this space.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Mighty Mittelland

14th August.
Over the past week we have been making our way Westwards along the 400kms of the Mittelland canal, which cuts across Northern Germany in an almost straight line. Some boaters have described this passage as tedious and boring, we have found it anything but, with friendly boat clubs and small town marinas at the end of a day's run.

The Mittelland Canal 400kms Potsdam to Osnabruck

A serious commercial waterway

We cross high over the Elbe river on the Magdeburg aquaduct

 Wolfsburg, the home of VW and the Autotowers

       Like a giant toy, new cars are picked or parked 
                                by a robot

Refreshment stop in Hannover

The 'New Town Hall' Hannover built 1913 was paid for in cash!

Outside the Town hall or 'Rathaus', an archer aims at the office of the Mayor. Could Auckland do with a similar statue?  
Hannover's  three 'Nanas' 
 Antiope takes a rest at the Osnabruck Motor Yacht Club

The very hospitable folk at the OMYC made us welcome on a side canal only a few kms diversion from the Mittelland. From here we head North down the Ems -Jade canal to Haren where we turn west and cross into the Netherlands.   

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Berlin re-visited

Despite the terrorist dramas across Europe, we felt at ease in Berlin, and were able to show our Kiwi guests around this time with some local knowledge.  We also had time to look deeper into Berlin's turbulent past.

We find a city centre mooring in the shadow of the Reichstag

                                 A classic Berlin bridge carries the U bahn over the Spree river 

We take a balloon ride above the city (on the end of a long wire)

During the Cold War Glienicker Bridge was used to exchange spies, Antiope is moored on the 'Russian' side. The bridge is painted different colours on either side of the old border.

The Bridge of Spies, 'Glienicker Brucke' 

The Wall is preserved in places around Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie. Then and now, 

                                                    The Author poses by a remaining 
                                                            crumbling watch tower 

A more contemplative day was spent at Sachsenhausen concentration camp only a few kms north of Berlin. During the Nazi regime more than 200,000 people were held here, few survived. Followed by the Soviet era when 60,000 political prisoners were also held here.

                                The main camp gate with the ironic motto 'Work will set you free' 

                Barrack markers show where up to 200 prisoners were housed in each block

                                            What remains of the crematorium ovens. 
                                           Here thousands of bodies were disposed of.

         To finish on a brighter note, a lake anchorage at sunset, only 10 kms from the city centre 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Hamburg to Berlin

On a cold, wet, grey June day we left the Kiel canal and headed out onto the Elbe river.
On the plus side, it was calm, as this stretch of river up to Hamburg needs respect.

                                       Elbe locks at Brunsbuttle. We enter tidal waters.

                                                      Hamburg to Berlin, A week long journey

                                            Hamburg skyline, A very busy waterway
50 km up river from Hamburg is Lauenburg, 
A sleepy town on the banks of the Elbe. Here we left the river  

  Our route to Berlin took us up the Elbe, down the Elbe-Seiten canal, and along the Mittelland.
The Sieten canal was built during the cold war, on the Western side of the border to maintain an essential inland waterway route to Hamburg, Huge boat lifts and locks needed to be constructed.

Scharnebeck boat lift

The boat lift at Scharnebeck lifts this 100m by 12 m caisson by 38m 

At the top we look down 38m to the waterway behind us

This lock at Uelzen is 190m long by 12m wide and 23m deep

Wolfsburg, the home of VW 

We stop for the day in Wolfsburg, where 2/3 of the population work for VW, 
Another days run and we cruise into the lakes that surround Berlin, arriving on a rare Sunny day which brought out hundreds of sailors.

We arrive on a busy day on the Berlin Lakes

Berlin, Brandenburg Tor

Berlin will be our base for the next few weeks, before we start the cruise back to France and our winter berth in Corre.