Saturday June 20, 2009
We cruised all night, slept like babies, and stayed onboard all day today watching endless farmland and onshore activity as the Prinsendam made its way through the waters and locks of the world’s busiest artificial waterway – the famous Kiel Canal.
Known in Germany as the Nordostee-Kanal, it runs for almost 100 km right through Schleswig-Holstein – from Brunsbüttel (on the North Sea, at the mouth of the Elbe River) to Holtenau (at Kiel Harbour on the Baltic Sea).
For those with a technical bent, the canal is 160 metres wide and 11 metres deep, and is spanned by seven high-level bridges that have about 43 metres of clearance for ships to pass beneath them. (We had to duck a few times!) Originally built for military purposes, the canal was enlarged prior to WW1 to accommodate larger modern ships – like ours.
We witnessed endless green countryside … friendly towns with waving crowds … hundreds of wind-turbines striding across the landscape like giant, white insects … huge container ships, tug-boats, and at least one other big cruise ship … fishermen enjoying their Saturday afternoon sport … and (believe it or not) a German submarine. (Felt like we were back in a war movie!)
Tonight after a four-course, silver-service dinner we’ll take our seats in the Prinsendam’s plush Queens Lounge for a showtime spectacular of musical comedy.
Ahh yes, shipboard life is terribly stressful! I’m not sure our Mad Midlife Kiwis will be able to cope with 14 days of this …
TOMORROW: We’ve got a very early start and a serious 14-hour excursion in Berlin where (amongst other things) we’ll tour the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and visit the local Holocaust Museum …
Yours bloggedly – JOHN
P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!