Tales from the River – Bamberg, Germany, Oct 6, 2011

This morning, we were sailing toward Bamberg so we spent that time learning about the Main-Danube Canal. Gosh, the things you never think about! We will be crossing, probably sometime tomorrow, the equivalent of the Continental Divide in the U.S. Because of that, there are many locks that we have to pass through, both on this side going up and the other side going down.

We learned that the first attempt to build a canal between the Main and Danube rivers occurred in 793 by Charlemagne. It didn’t go so well but there are still traces of the project in Graben. We’re not stopping there. The next attempt wasn’t for a thousand years later, which should tell you how difficult the project was! It wasn’t completed until 1846 and there were 100 locks from Bamberg to Kelheim. The new Main-Danube Canal wasn’t completed until 1992 and there are fewer locks and better technology. What an amazing feat!

We then heard about some of the other river barge trips that Vantage has available and, of course, we both would love to do some of them. Those will have to wait for a while though.

This afternoon, we took a walking tour of Bamberg. We had to dock in the industrial port and take a bus to the old part of Bamberg. It was a great melding of old and new. We saw older German people who, except for clothing, looked like they could’ve come out of an old black and white movie. Then we would see a young person with white or blond hair, with an undercoating of purple hair. And this was not just one person! We saw quite a few young people with hair dyed various colors. What a contrast.

There is an American military base here and, afterwards, Ed and I stopped and had a smoky beer at an Irish pub that many of the enlisted men enjoy regularly. Some people like the smoky beer and some don’t. They say is tastes like a smoked ham. I didn’t taste the ham part, but it did indeed have a very smoky taste.

Tonight, they have scheduled a swing band for entertainment. I’m really looking forward to it. Ah, reminiscences for some; for others, just a love of the music.

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