A few more photo's of around Hamlin on market day.
1, this old house was built with a wooden oak frame and bricks made with mud mixed with straw, then plastered over with mud and lime washed. The ceilings used mud and horsehair mixed to use as plaster. This house dates from the late 1600's and the majority of the oak is still in sound condition.
2, An old steam driven electricity generator made by Siemens.
3, The Pied Piper.
4, Description of the legend.
5, Apart from the cucumbers this stall is selling Yellow, Green, Black and Red tomatoes of different varieties.
6, Market day, stall with apples and asparagus which is in season here now.
7, An old time Mercedes 813 fire truck now having a second life as a mobile coffee stall.
Your welcome everyone, as long as you find it interesting and informative, then I'm on the right track.
I apologize for the break in updates but it's purely down to Wi Fi connections.
When we first started planning this adventure before dementia we itemised 'must do's' and 'wanna do's' and 'maybe's'.
Part of the planning was to study the weather and hydrology patterns of the Rhine valley in Germany and the Rhone valley in France over the last 5 years in order to get the timing right for a safe passage.
The Rhine is the third largest river in Europe, the Volga and the Danube being 1st and 2nd respectively.
Unfortunately we humans are just an insignificant part of a wonderful world we live in and even the best laid plans make mice of men.
This year Mother Nature decided to teach us a lesson and show her almighty power and grip Central Europe in a series of low pressures and give an exceptional rainfall, this of course means that the river Rhine is now in flood with lots of debris of being swept down. It would be foolhardy to venture onto it until it calms down to a safe navigable state.
In time we must ascend the Rhine and if the current is too strong our SOG (speed over the ground) would be like running up an escalator the wrong way we'd simply be burning fuel and going nowhere and now we must wait until the conditions are right.
For us the journey is just as important as the arrival at our destination and now we have reached the Ruhr valley area of Germany and there's lots to see and do and over the next posts I will bring you tidbits.
If you haven't seen the old English film 'The Dambusters' I suggest you do and I'll explain later.
During the WW2 Hitler made the same mistake as Napoleon before him when they decided to invade Russia, they both went on the offensive at the wrong time of year and both got the logistics and cold weather equipment wrong.
Following on from the last post I did some more digging around as I didn't feel I had all the facts for you..
The original concrete bridge was blown up by the Wehrmacht in 1945 to try and halt the American advance during WW2, once the Allies had secured the area a 'Bailey' bridge was erected in 1946 until 1949 until the one you see in the post above was erected.
The 'Bailey bridge' was invented/designed by Sir Donald Bailey who was the director of a British military experimental unit and was designed to the following criteria.
1, To be built quickly with low skill labour.
2, Accept the weight of a Churchill tank.
2, To be built with low technology in steel (aluminium was too precious for aircraft production)
3, Every component had to be able fit in the back of a standard 3 ton lorry.
4, The bridge is of a 'truss' design and can be lengthened to suit local conditions.
Another member of his British military design team, Ralph Freeman later designed the Sydney harbour bridge in Australia.
The 'Bailey' bridge was used in great quantities by the Americans, Canadians as well as the British.
Eisenhower said the 'Bailey' bridge was the 3rd most valuable contribution to Allied success, both Churchill and Montgomery went on to say that the enormous contribution considerably shortened the war.
During war bridges and dams are crucial in the logistics and many fierce battles raged to secure them, Pegasus bridge in Caen, France. Arnhem bridge in Holland, Remagen bridge in Germany to name just a few..
The first photo is taken from the bridge in question at Waltop over the Dortmund Ems canal looking North.
The large building you see in the distance is a nuclear power station.
The DEK canals runs generally in a North/South direction until here, where due to the topography of the land, it's turns in an Easterly direction (right in the photo) for the final 15 k's to Dortmund.
We did go all the way to Dortmund in our cruisers searching for a mooring in the town, we approached a gated pontoon mooring right near the town centre.
Brilliant ! the girls would just love some retail therapy in new territory !
As we moored up we noticed some swarthy gentlemen doing some vigorous tax free trading in little cellophane bags, we thought we were safe in the gated area but a little later we saw that someone had the code and were having an evening 'cigarette' on the pontoon.
A gentle word with Pat & Geri and a tactical withdrawal was in order so we slipped our lines and retreated to the commercial harbour for a safe, quiet nights sleep before returning the next day to a marina at Datteln.
The second photo is of a half timbered house built in 1894 in the favoured style of the time which was the construction offices for this junction of the DEK and Rhein Datteln canals
The construction employed 1,600 Dutch, Italian and Polish labourers and they were housed and fed in temporary barracks.
This is a very famous canal junction as I'll tell you in the next post.
Thank you for sharing your journey! Love this thread. Hope to hire a LeBoat next year to see if we want to do this ourselves. What area do you recommend as a first trip to get a feel for canal boating? Ireland, France and Holland are all of interest to us.We are experienced boaters and speak Spanish and English.
Thank you for your kind comments.
Depending on what time of year and whether you are a 'sun' person or not.
It's difficult to recommend Le Boat as their cruisers are not being maintained to a high enough standard for the price you are asked to pay.
Holland is the cleanest, friendliest place and virtually all speak English. The canals in Germany are fine but commercially based. Bearing in mind you will probably have your significant other half with you a lazy 'sun' holiday on the Canal Du Midi is probably the best option.
Belgium is also very nice but like Germany it's geared for commerce.
To be honest the more I see the more I want to see and learn so I think you will have an enjoyable holiday.
Let me know nearer the time where you've decided to go and I'll tell you the nearest convenient airport.
I spoke of the importance of canal junction of the Dortmund Ems canal from a logistical point of view but it's topography raised some challenging engineering problems to try and overcome a 13.5 metre height difference in canals.
Why did it need to go to Dortmund in the first place ?
Forgive the long winded explanation but imagine if you will the 3 leaves of a shamrock, the left hand 2 leaves being 2 valleys, or basins, the spine of the left hand leaf is the Ruhr river, the spine of the right the Rhine river, the surrounding foliage an enormous basin creating the Ruhr valley. Massive coal deposits were found around this region and with the coming of the industrial revolution factories were built next to the abundant fuel supply creating the powerhouse of Germany's production.
Krupp produced much of Germany's steel and ancilliary engineering company's sprang up around it.
The 1st world war and subsequent 2nd triggered a frenzy of steel consumption as factories raced to keep up with demand.
In turn this created some 15 major towns.
Today these towns and surrounding villages have all merged into an area housing 10 million people.
The head of the river Ruhr valley had been dammed to provide water for the people, produce hydro electricity and provide water for the Mitteland canal and if you followed my earlier advice and watched 'The Dambusters' film you will know by now that dam as the 'Moehne See' dam.
It became an important British target named 'Operation Chastise' to disrupt the logistical flow to the German military.
The idea to destroy the dam was not Dr Barnes Wallis (he invented the bomb) as shown in the film but the result of a military planning session in 1938 when Mr Hitler was getting a bit frisky, in all other aspects the film is accurate and truthful.
The German military drafted in 4,600 workers who worked in shifts 24 hrs a day and it took them 5 months to repair the bomb damage.
We paid homage to the final resting place of the commander of that raid, Sqn Leader Guy Gibson and it is shown in post 38.
The Ruhr valley then is of critical importance to Germany's economy and transport connections were vital as I'll show you in the next post
Coal mine wagons.
Hydro Electric turbine from the Moehne See dam.
The breached dam after the raid.
The repaired dam.
Photo of the flak tower and roadway.
I've given you the reason Why, now I'll show you How.
To overcome a height difference of 14 metres and allow the Dortmund Ems canal to reach the industrial heartland there were several ways to achieve it.
At Henrichenberg a flight of locks were ruled out due to insufficient water supply and very early attempts included a wooden human powered vertical lift using ropes, pulleys and a team of brawny men which could lift a barge of 80 tonnes with a pulley ratio of 5:1.
The first true ship lift was built in steel and opened in 1899, it had a trough of 70 metres long by 8.8 metres wide, using a float and screw guide system it could lift a barge in just 2 and a half minutes and worked efficiently right up until 1970.
A barge would be driven into the lift, the water drained from the trough into the pit below containing the floats which being buoyant would then rise.
On reaching the top the screws would hold the lift in position while the trough was filled with water and the barge driven out.
Early wooden shiplifts.
Early inclined plane.
Diagram of the Henrichenberg shiplift.
The shiplift today is a museum.
Pit with cylindrical float shaft.
Valve to drain the shiplift trough.
View of the top of the shiplift.
Entrance to the shiplift.
It had it's own boiler house to make electricity for the pumps and lighting.
The towers are copies of Egyptian obelisks and the eagle is the Prussian eagle.
As an aside the oldest incline plane still working is in Poland.
The early shaft lock has now been made into a service road.
Below are a series of photo's showing handling equipment preserved at the museum.
Entrance to the old shaft lock.
Electric train used to pull barges alongside the wharves for loading/unloading. Early barges had no engines and were towed by steam tugs.
Repair yard with cradles and side slipway.
Kilometre sign on the canalside. These are still along the canal today, either on a vertical post or set in concrete as this one is.
Prussian eagle on the shiplift.
These reservoirs contained water for the old shaft lock.
Gearbox for the steadying screw on the shiplift.
A newer shiplift was built at Henrichenberg to cater for increased traffic using only 3 buoyancy floats but I'm afraid I wasn't allowed to go and take photo's for you.
The new shaft lock was built and is in operation today as you can see.
It can take 2 barges 110 metres long or one pusher at 220 metres.
We look miniscule compared to the barges.
Queue at the entrance to the new shaft lock.
All barges display their length, Breadth and carrying capacity.
Control tower for shaft lock.
Inside the shaft lock are hooks set into the walls and also slots with floating bollards to attach to.
Tanker barge, the nearby town of Marl has the largest concentration of chemical companies in Europe and tanker barges ply this route night and day.
220 metre long pusher barge, I couldn't get this in one photo.
Some historic ships, can you see the barge behind the 2 smaller ships ? then check the next post.
One of the earliest motorised barges was called 'Franz Christian' and is now in the museum.
It was launched in 1929 and retired in 1974 and able to carry 319 tonnes, the same family operated it and lived on board until the last generation retired.
I always wanted to see a barge engine, did you ?
C'mon, we'll take a peek together.
At the side of the museum there is parked a green double decker bus, this is an iconic ex London Transport Routemaster bus which covered millions of miles in it's daily working life on routes around Britain's capital city with a different driver every day.
They entered service in 1954 and were built by the Associated Equipment Company at Park Royal in London (they also built engines and trucks) until 1968 and finally withdrawn in 2005 due to new emission rules.
2,876 were built and 1280 are believed to be still active.
Testimony to British engineering and build quality.
When these were sold off for a more modern fleet, many went on to have a second life with their roofs chopped off and became sightseeing buses, many of which are still working in cities around the world today.
This one even has a third life as a bar and 'schnell imbiss' (quick service) snack bar dispensing beer and German sausages (Bratwurst) which are a bit like a hot dog,,,on steroids ! they're a meal on their own and incredibly delicious.
German beer is wonderful must be tasted frequently to be enjoyed.
Diesel barge engine in the museum.
Open con rods and a leisurely 150 revs per minute.
'Franz Christians engine, an air start 70 hp 3 cylinder diesel, there was no reverse gears, the engine was simply stopped and started in reverse.
many barges still use this system.
Interior of the barge hold, Pat Butler reading the history.
Viking ship, I've never seen one with a Yamaha engine though !
Ex London Routemaster.
On a more mundane note, Germany is very heavy into recycling, each house has 4 bins to segregate rubbish and if you buy cans, bottles or even crates to carry drinks there is a logo on them.
You return empties where you bought them, receive a credit the machine in the photo is at a German discount store, Lidl.
The machine reads the barcode, accepts and crushes the empties to compact them and then issues you with a receipt after doing your shopping and you present this ticket and receive a discount off your shopping bill.
Snails are supposed to be hermaphrodites when it comes to sex, right, they're both power and sail.
Then how does the chat up line go ?
I guess it goes at snails pace !
These two were at it on the bike path, she was coming, he was coming, I was coming but only me had brakes ! ! 1
Recycling logo & barcode.
We've been moored for a couple of weeks at Waltrop beside the shiplift in a very friendly marina, everyone here has made us feel very welcome, one man especially has been very kind, Dieter has used his car several times to help us and even drove us to the train station for a quick trip to the South of France by Ryanair to show a prospective buyer around our Birchwood boat that's for sale.
From previous posts you will know that we have no Wi-Fi coverage in the marina and we have to go on a 10k bike ride to a local McDonalds to check the mail, the upshot is that I'm now as fit as a butchers dog and thinking of entering the geriatrics 'Tour de France'.
An added benefit is that nearby we have a terrific DIY store called Hornbach, with quality produce at keen prices that's allowed us to carry out some more improvements to 'Snow Mouse' to make her more comfortable for the next leg of the adventure.
Thank you Irish rambler! Your thread is helping us plan our next year charter trip to "test the waters". Thinking 2 weeks in either June or September 2017 on the canal de midi. Any advice on charter outfits to look at?
Depending what type of holiday you would like August is the hottest busiest (and most expensive) month on the Canal Du Midi
Le boat is possibly the largest operator but I can't recommend them. Take a look at Ireland to the Mediterranean Part 1, at the end are some photo's of their boats.
A company called Locaboat is probably the better company to holiday with.
The canal du Midi as it's generally known stretches from Bordeaux to Sete.
For more insight look on Amazon Kindle for a book called 'How To Cruise Between Two Sea's' by Geoff Woolley, it will give you all the info with photo's.
Alternatively why not buy my 33' Birchwood motor cruiser that's for sale with a group of friends and use it as a timeshare, with Brexit the exchange rates are in your favour.
If you need any specific questions about your forward planning just ask and I'll be delighted to help if I can.
As we travel around the Ruhr valley we see the strong efforts the Germans are making to clean up the old industrial region. Many of the old factories and steel foundries that had chimneys belching black coal smoke have been modernised and are now super clean and efficient.
Many have relocated as they no longer depended on coal for fuel and these old factories have been demolished, so thorough is the demolition that some places have actually become farmland, others in the towns have now been made into parks.
Everything here is recycled right down to the cement dust.
Incidentally the Romans invented cement/concrete as we know it today, they mixed 2 parts slaked lime with 3 parts of a local red sand found around Puteoli in Italy and named the mixture Puteolaneum after the region it was discovered in, it would even set solid below the water and revolutionised the building industry. The Roman governor Agrippa used it to build wharves, jetties, aqueducts and bridges.
Politicians dream of empires.
Soldiers conquer them, but it's the engineers who build them.
Here in Germany the bricks and cement are crushed and used as a base material for foundations, you can even buy 1 ton bags in your local DIY store to use as a base material for laying a stone drive.
The old mountainous waste tips from the mines around here, called 'slag heaps' are also being removed slowly and the material graded, any coal is scavenged and separated and used in power station furnaces.
I also discovered that there were 2 Irish owned and run coal mines, Shamrock and the Erin mine owned by a man named Mulvanney.
There's a company in Northern Ireland called Powerscreen who make very efficient machines for doing the job of grading this material.
Barges transport this material to where it can be utilised and nothing is wasted or dumped unnecessarily.
On a lighter note we went to an 'Irish Folk night'.
We were expecting a visiting Irish group, in fact they were German and we were a bit surprised to hear some of the renditions which kinda had a nodding acquaintance with the right words and with no fiddle or accordion, well, shall we say it was an interesting experience ! They meant well and the local Germans loved it and that's the main thing.
Were just waiting for a new Bimini to be made and fitted before we get on the move again after our mid journey R&R.
Rest and Recuperation ? not on your ruddy life !
No, it means Renovation and Repairs, with the DIY store beside us We've been working hard taking advantage of it's range of German quality goods to update our beloved 'Snow Mouse'.