River Cruise Day 9

River Cruise Day 9                    Nuremberg            cloudy and cool       high of 14 deg

 At approximately 7.15 this morning we crossed the Continental Divide, which, from what we can work out, is the point at which the water stops flowing down towards the Black Sea and stars flowing down towards the North Sea.  In other words, it is like the top of a hill.  So, this means that up until this morning, when we went through the locks, we were being lifted to the next level, but as from passing the Continental Divide, we are now being lowered to the next level.  We passed through the three locks with the biggest height difference this morning – Hilpoltsein, Eckersmuhlen and Leertstetten – all with a height difference of a whopping 24.7 metres.  Quite a few passengers, including us, stood out on the deck early this morning to watch as we went through the first of the three locks – it was very impressive (and also extremely cold).

As we were coming in to the Leertstetten Lock, we picked up a Lock Lecturer, Stefan Hoffman, who first spoke to us up on the Sky deck, which looked quite peculiar as all the furniture had been folded away and some of the side railings had been lowered (obviously not the section we were allowed on), the flagpole and all the radar equipment had been lowered also. 

Stefan explained to us some of the features of the lock system, while he could show it to us in action.  For example, there are three holding tanks beside the lock, all at different levels, sort of like tiers.  When the ship goes into the lock, the door is closed behind us and they open the valve to the holding tanks and gravity transfers the water into them starting with the highest to the lowest.  This accounts for 60% of the water in the lock and the remaining 40% is allowed to flow downstream when the downstream gate is opened. This whole process takes about 30 minutes for this particular sized lock.

The Rhine River joins with the Main River but there was a gap between that and the Danube River, so the Main Danube Canal was man-made to give access from the North Sea all the way through to the Black Sea.  The Main Danube Canal is 171 kilometres long and has 16 locks to cover a difference in altitude of 243 metres.

Our next stop was Nuremberg, which is in the State of Bavaria, in Germany.  Although Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during World War II, much of it was restored to its original style.

We were picked up in coaches and taken up to the Castle of Nuremberg, the biggest castle in Germany – the Old Imperial Castle.  Along the way, we saw the Old City Wall and Towers, all of which has been protected and is in good condition, having been restored to its original condition.

The Castle was distinctly different from anything we had seen before, in that, there was a lot of ornate timber and the traditional flowering window boxes as opposed to the bare stone construction we have seen in so many other castles.  The Castle was set out with towers at each corner of the wall protecting it and it originally had a moat and a drawbridge.

We walked back to the bus and were dropped off in the city of Nuremberg, where we continued our walking tour.  She took us for a walk through the city to a specialist gingerbread bakery where we bought some gingerbread.  Then we visited the Church of Sebald, Market Square (where they have a green market on Monday to Saturday and a Pottery Market on Sundays), the Hospital of the Holy Ghost (which is an old peoples home now), we walked over the River Pegnitz on the Meat Bridge and walked through the Old Entrance to the Meat House .  The Meat Bridge was modelled on the Rialto Bridge in Venice (apparently they sent for the plans).  We walked along the little Island to another shopping area past Hangman’s Bridge and finished our walking tour back at the Square.

We enjoyed our tour of Nuremberg because our guide gave us just enough historical information without overloading us and we were able to see interesting buildings in a style that we hadn’t seen before.

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