MEMORABLE MAIN

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Ahhh, another day of river cruising; a day relax while enjoying the sights of the Bavarian countryside as we meander the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, the most environmentally friendly canal in the world.  Seven miles per hour is the maximum speed permitted for boats to prevent erosion.

Water quality on the canal is so good that fishing clubs have stocked the canal with fish!  I sure would have enjoyed swimming in it…

The canal connects the Danube to the Main, and it crosses the European watershed.  It is up hill from the Danube to the Main, so the stair-stepped locks are necessary for boat passage.  At the summit, the canal elevation is 406 meters (1,332 feet)!

The locks are 45 feet wide, and riverboats vary between 35-40 feet wide, so that explains why the crew keeps busy re-painting the sides of the riverboats while passengers are off touring at the next city!

Although the canal was built to transport cargo, transporting passengers via riverboat has become all the rage—something that was never predicted!  These days, forty-two percent of the boats on the canal are touring riverboats.

Transiting the canal is quite a bargain.  Compared to the fee cruise ships must pay to transit the Panama Canal (typically $500,000!), the cost for the River Voyager to pass through the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal was only 184 euros.  Not bad!  The fee is per passenger, and transit is on a first come, first served basis.

In our case, we were traveling from the Danube to the Main.  The Main River (pronounced “mine”) is the longest river lying entirely in Germany, and the scenery along the hills rising up from the riverbanks is breathtaking.

Having a day to reflect on our travels and anticipate Wurzburg (as well as Rothenberg for our optional tour) was wonderful!  Although the weather during most of the day was cloudy and rainy at times, we thoroughly enjoyed kicking back in the lounge or out on deck when the weather cooperated.

Sea days—um, make that “river days”—are also a great time to enjoy the ship (or boat) and other passengers.  (I haven’t yet mentioned much about life aboard the River Voyager, because it will be the subject of my final trip blog post; but, suffice it to say for now that it was fabulous.)

On this day, the pastry chef and her assistant worked extra hard preparing an afternoon “tea” for us all to enjoy.  I didn’t see much tea being drunk, but there sure was an enthusiastic crowd around the dessert table!  As if we didn’t get enough to eat aboard ship…  Sheesh.

Count me in as one of the guilty ones having an extra dessert (or two) that day.  Who could resist all that delicious chocolate?

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The lounge, before the desserts and passengers appeared.

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Frosting Flowers

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The main attraction (for me):  CHOCOLATE!

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A popular waterskiing spot this turned out to be!

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Aha!  This is the launch site for the skiers!

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Did you read my post, “Lots of Locks!”?  This was another of the numerous locks along the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal.  See those windows in front of us?  They appear in the photo below.

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Cheers!

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On to the next lock we go!

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At another lock, we had a VERY close call.  Due to the high water levels from the rains, the upper deck was closed for several days while cruising through the locks.  All of the eqt. was lowered to reduce the height of the boat; however, we were all holding our breath at this point.  Once it was sure we were clear, the look of relief by this crew member was priceless.  He flashed a HUGE smile!

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Whewww!!!

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The river was so narrow at times that we hardly needed to use telephoto lengths for shooting photography.

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Sun at last!

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After dinner, we enjoyed the sunset from in back of the Cotton Club Cafe while cruising through yet another lock.  Meanwhile, some of the passengers were watching the European Soccer Championships on the large screen TV inside.

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This riverboat (above) pulled in so close behind us (to fit into the lock) that these two crew members had a great view of our boat’s TV!  When I asked if they were watching the soccer game, we got a cheery thumbs-up!

Check back for my next post on  our optional tour to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (from Wurzburg).

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