We became somewhat expert in locks. When we got to the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, we took locks uphill over the continental divide, then down the other side. An engineering marvel. It's all gravity-driven and, as I have said, you can travel from the North Sea and Amsterdam to the Black Sea, by water, today. That trip would be a fine 30-day vacation.
The width of ships and barges is limited by the width of the locks, and the height is limited by bridges. In some locks, we only had about 6" space between the walls. I asked the Captain how he managed to get into those tight ones without scraping the sides. He laughed, said "You just go straight." (Our ship had a joystick like a Hinckley Picnic Boat, not a wheel. Bow thrusters, but no stern thrusters because the driver could turn the props to 90 degrees.)
I hear you asking what music our Dutch Captain liked to listen to when he had the con. Seemed like he was partial to Mark Knopfler and Van Morrison. Chugging up the Danube, listening to "We gotta move these refrigerators..." was memorable. I thought some Creedence might have been good, but maybe trite.
He had read some Mark Twain, said he liked Life on the Mississippi. Our Captain was a hearty and cheerful bloke who liked his wine and beer when off-duty. It seemed that the crew and staff responded well to his upbeat attitude towards life, making for a happy boat. Good cheer is contagious. Negativity is a plague. He constantly displayed warmth and appreciation towards his crew, but you cannot be a Captain without having a tough and serious core. As Dr. Bliss would say, not everybody is made for that.
Photo inside one of the many locks we went through.
Lots of pics below the fold -
Lock doors open:
Lock doors closing. Depending on where you are, you either rise up or sink down to the dark depths of the lock:
Coming out of a lock in Bavaria, with flagstaff folded for low bridges ahead:
This is in Regensburg, my favorite town on the trip. The Romans had a large castle there, but not much left of it. People recycled the stones.
Sign on an old Red Vienna housing complex:
The dining room on board. Our ship had 124 passengers, around 30 crew. The staff was dedicated, attentive, friendly, attractive, and well-trained. Mostly from Eastern Europe. The food was elegant, as good as that on a grand ocean liner. But I am showing my age: they don't have "ocean liners" any more.
Cafe in Regensburg, across from the Gothic Dom. Superb men's room upstairs in that cafe. No Baroque at all in that Gothic cathedral, which felt grim, dark, and gloomy compared to all of the baroque we had seen:
Stairway in the Kunst Historische in Vienna.
Low bridge ahead. They lower the wheelhouse, the flagstaff and radar, and fold down all the sundeck railings and chairs for the low ones.
At the Melk landing:
Nice cafe in Melk.
Visual and cultural pollution in the Bavarian countryside:
Another hamlet in the Wachau Valley. Much of it is too steep to terrace for Riesling:
The Inn River, from the riverside park in Passau:
A good door. Regensburg, I think. There was a pro photographer on our boat who also liked to take pics of doors and doorways. The doorways of the old buildings all lead to courtyards.
A pedestrian shopping strasse in Regensburg.
Liked this tiny cafe:
The old train stop by Otto Wagner, now a cafe, in Karlsplatz in Vienna:
True rococo. Karlskirke, The Church of St. Charles Borromeo (1713), in Karlsplatz. Same Borromeo family we encountered on Lago Maggiore two years ago. Isola Bella, etc.
What a hodge-podge. Greek portico, and dig them Christian minarets:
Random street scene near Karlsplatz:
A modest Hapsburg hunting lodge and country weekend getaway. In the 1500s, their land was stocked with game - pheasant, duck, deer, etc. It's in the suburbs now. The yellow paint was a wedding gift.
If I knew how to make cartoon speech balloons, I'd put one coming from a room on the left saying "Honey, have you seen my running shoes?" and one on the right saying "No, I haven't seen them, dear."
A quick hydration break with a BD daughter at a cafe in the Belvedere gardens. We wrote a couple of postcards there while mentaly processing the Egon Schieles we had just seen. She is always one to try a new Austrian or German pastry. This is one of the few places I saw where you could have a glass of beer. It's usually a choice between half-litre or litre. These are very nice beer glasses, like large champagne flutes: