July 6, 2019

The canals of Bamberg

Dateline: Bamberg, Germany and points east

We’ve turned off the Main river and into the Main-Danube canal that connects the Rhine watershed with the Danube watershed, leading to a water transportation route across Europe from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The idea for the canal was first proposed by Charlemagne well over a thousand years ago but they didn’t actually getting around to constructing it until after World War II, finally finishing in 1992. The canal is a good deal smaller than I imagined. Just enough room for two river boats to pass and with small locks and low bridges everywhere strictly limiting the size of vessels. This is why all the river boats have roughly the same plan, no matter the company. I think they’re all made by the same manufacturer in Switzerland with just little tweaks in the design.

Today was another low energy morning. For some reason i woke up at 4:30 AM raring to go, but it was far too early to be up and moving about. I watched some TV, read a few chapters and ultimately broke out the laptop and finished the last 2,000 words on the next chunk of the book I’m trying to write. This whole bit ended up being slightly over 6,000 words. I’ve now got somewhere around 10,000 words down on paper which is about 20-30% of book length. The editor I’m working with thinks I have something here so maybe, if I can keep churning pieces out, it may actually come to fruition. I’m going to try to get one more chunk done before I go into rehearsal for Choir Boy as I am unlikely to get anything done during that four week period.

The shingles continue to be a problem. I wandered off to the Apotheke this afternoon and bought capsacin cream and an ice back. The heat was not a successful trial. I’m going to try the ice later tonight. The pack is still cooling down int he minibar fridge. The arc is toward slow improvement but this is now week six and I’m really ready for the symptoms to go away. It’s very odd to have what feel like small electric shocks to ones navel.

Cathedral Square – Bamberg

We reached today’s destination, Bamberg, in the early afternoon. The dock was a rather depressing looking industrial area so we boarded busses for the mile or so into the central city. Where Rothenburg was a celebration of the medieval style, Bamberg is going for Baroque. The city is dominated by a large cathedral (aren’t they all?) which is in sort of a transition between Romanesque and early Gothic style. Next door is the Archbishop’s palace which was based somewhat on Versailles with very baroque lines. Below them is the center of town which is bisected by a small river and which seems to be a hodgepodge of styles from the last millennium. Bamberg was relatively untouched by World War II so a lot of the architecture is original.

The city is a bit of a regional hub and a good deal larger than some of the other places we have been stopping recently. It’s Saturday so everyone has come into town from the outlying villages to do their shopping and the central shopping area was full of life and ordinary Germans doing ordinary things. I spent some time shopping, but didn’t buy a whole lot. Also a lot of the amiable chit chat one does with tour travel companions. As there’s only 63 of us, we’ve all pretty much IDd each other at this point and sat together for at least one meal.

We left Bamberg early evening and continued along the Main-Danube canal. Uneventful so far but some of the locks are a bit of a tight squeeze. We’re due in Nuremburg tomorrow morning.

Splash Mountain at Disneyland

Tonight’s story is a short one. I could probably come up with longer and more involved ones if the waitstaff wouldn’t keep filling my wine glass at dinner. I was reminded of it as I sat on deck this evening watching the countryside glide by as we split the dead calm waters of the canal. It struck me that in some ways, this cruise is a very long log flume ride. I’ve always been partial to log flumes at amusement parks, even if you do get wet. Maybe because it was one of the few kinds of rides that my mother would get on. She had terrible vertigo issues with most roller coasters and things. I remember her being very green when she got off the Matterhorn at Disney many years ago. She was a bit perturbed at my father who had convinced her that it wasn’t really a roller coaster. Anyway, years later, Steve and I were on one of our annual trips to Disneyland in California. Steve adored Disneyland. He had grown up in Southern California and it opened when he was seven and he went with his parents the first week it was open and back again at least once a year most of the rest of his life. We were there on some weekday (we avoided weekends – crowds). We did all the usuals but were a bit disappointed that the big new ride, Splash Mountain, was not yet operational. Later in the summer the sign said. About two that afternoon, an announcement came over the PA system that they were going to beta test Splash Mountain that afternoon with park goers and that it would be open starting now. We hightailed it across the park and became two of the first paying customers to ride. It’s a good thing we did too as the word got out quickly and the park was inundated with local season pass holders eager to sample the new attraction. As the line grew impossibly long, we smiled, and headed for Pirates of the Caribbean. Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time.

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