Burg (bei Magdeburg) - Wolfsburg (Hannover included)

Burg, the town where we saw our first Trabant in years when on the way up to Berlin, was left on Monday the 23rd of July 2018 at 8:50Am, some 20 minutes after neighbouring YE 165, owned by Jasper & Hennie. We were reunited at Schleuse Hohenwarthe (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleuse_Hohenwarthe - around 19 meters elevation) because they were a bit unluckier than us as far as waiting time is concerned.

  • Kilometer 322

    Withered land Not far after having negotiated the lock we passed the impressive Magdeburg-aqueduct at kilometre 322 – counting down this time. The level of water...

  • Low Elbe – Withered land

    ...in the river Elbe is not all that impressive, though we’ve seen fully laden cargo boats going onto or coming off the river. The adjacent land is dehydrated – yellow all over.

The aqueduct (Kanalbrücke Magdeburg) is, even being 43 metres (143 feet) wide, a one-way ‘road’. Passing is permitted only after the lock at Hohenwarthe has given permission – by VHF radio. If there’s more than one boat, all are obliged to cruise in convoy, the commercial boats in front. Here’s the little convoy of us and YE 165; no commercials in sight.

Only after 2 hours and 31 minutes, around 3 quarters of an hour ‘lock-time’ and 7 minutes needed for crossing the Kanalbrücke Magdeburg included, we moored in the arm leading to the Schiffshebewerk Rothensee (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothensee_boat_lift - better in German). This picture is taken from the watchtower of the (Spar)Schleuse Rothensee, offering free admission to the public.

  • A huge improvement

    crossing The left picture clarifies the enormous improvement, achieved by building the red-coloured locks and the canal-bridge. Before the Wende (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaceful_Revolution) ships travelling from west to east had to descend the Schiffshebewerk Rothensee, cruise downstream on the river Elbe, again descend the Schleuse Niegripp (hence the enormous height difference with the, new, Schleuse Hohenwarte) and end up in the Elbe-Havel Canal.

  • Aerial view of the crossing

    And the other way around, of course, when travelling east-west. The building of the red coloured state-of-the-art works ended in 2003. The right picture gives a good impression of the entire area. Number 1 is the Schleuse Rothensee (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleuse_Rothensee), 2 the Schiffshebewerk Rothensee, 3 the Kanalbrücke Magdeburg, 4 the Schleuse Hohenwarthe and 5 the Schleuse Niegripp. We were moored in the short arm, leading to 2, the Schiffshebewerk Rothensee.

  • Schiffshebewerk Rothensee (I)

    The entrance of this interesting boatlift, as seen from where we were moored. Underneath the first...

  • Schiffshebewerk Rothensee (II)

    ...immovable, part of the boatlift a road leads up to, of down from, the new lock west from the old one.

  • Movable part

    The movable tank is 85 meters (283 feet) long and 12,2 metres (over 40 feet) wide. The tank is able to overcome a difference of 16 meters (53 feet), though the river Elbe-level can be...

  • Birds-view

    ...18 meters (60 feet) lower - in which case there is (was) no other solution than to bide one’s time. A great view is offered after climbing the watchtower of the Schleuse Rothensee.

The Schleuse Rothensee itself is 190 metres (633 feet) long and 12,5 (over 41 feet) wide. Built next to it are a pumphouse and three different side ponds. Why? That’s explained by the next picture. The overview of its surroundings is stunning, don’t you think? Our little ship is just partly visible on the right. Today, Sunday, a combination of (99 + 85) 184 meters (613 feet) passed us. A new record! A combination like this would fit inside this lock!

The side-pond-system explained. It’s all about saving water.

The lock on low level with two fully laden commercial ships, each about 80 meters (266 feet) long. They will ascend some 17 metres (almost 57 feet) – the river is rather low.

A side-pond in full action. The water is forcefully pushed upward by very powerful pumps.

Something completely different now, being sunset on Monday the 23rd of July at 9:16PM.

Tuesday the 24th we travelled into Magdeburg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdeburg). By bike – which was, on hindsight, not the best choice. Far away (12 kilometres/7,5 miles), hot and boring – a lot of industrial area, still with the traces of the GDR-era. Well, an interesting thing about Magdeburg then: the Magdeburger Halbkugeln (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdeburg_hemispheres), made famous by Otto von Guericke (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_von_Guericke).

Magdeburg has a vast tram-network. That’s not all that special, as a lot of towns do have the same. What was special in this case was a vast square (we are unable to tell you the name, as we threw away everything about this city too early) with an amazing network of rail-connections and, subsequently, a complicated overhead powerline system. In spite of the long line-span they all remained flawlessly in a tight, level position.

As said we felt tired by the bike ride and it was hot, very hot. So we stayed mainly in the shadow with a look on a tram-stop. That was a very good reason to take the tram (line 10) back home; we just had to end the journey with a simple bike ride of around 2 kilometers (1,25 miles) left. That was a lot better than the outward journey, we can assure you!

The Schiffshebewerk Rothensee, and surroundings, were left at Wednesday the 25th of July , 7:31AM. On the way the sighs of long-lasting drought are obvious, wherever one looks. Yellow is the predominant colour, although harvesting activities are part of the colouring too.

That day we ended up at a place called Calvörde where we could do some needed shopping – especially insofar the drinking is involved. It’s unaltered: hot. The engine was switched off at 11:55AM already. As you can see we found a mooring spot in front of a commercials ship – 84,6 metres (over 280 feet) long and 9,5 metres (almost 32 feet) wide. We are only 18,3/61 by 3,75/12,5 and dwarfed by our neighbour for the night.

Calvörde where, to our surprise, we did not have an Internet-signal, was left the next morning, 26 July, at 8:25AM. After almost 3 hours of cruising our engine was switched off at 11:20AM, when Rühen was reached. We described this town more extensively when we had an overnight stop here when travelling in Berlin’s direction. It was once on the border between the BRD and the DGR. We had lunch as well as dinner at the restaurant next to the mooring-area. This is the view if our ship from the outdoor café.

Several times we had a swim in the river and/or canal this summer. After a load of years even! But, unfortunately, we have to give up this newly-found pastime – at least temporarily. The weather conditions have caused a strong increase of cyanobacteria (blauwalg) in the, basically very clear, water.

Rühen was left on Friday the 27th of July at 8:42AM. The nice lady of the restaurant waved at us and wished us well. We’ll be back! It was some time ago that we had taken in water. When passing Wolfsburg’s marina for pleasure-boats around 10:00AM we asked politely if we could refill our water-tank. The answer was positive, bless the friendly boat-people of Wolfsburg! Because of our vastness (well…) we had to stay on the canal or, if you like, outside the marina. We needed almost 50 minutes to top up again with both the marina and Vfl Wolfsburg’s handsome stadium (VW!!) as background.

Contrary to the occasion that we passed Wolfsburg on the way up it was easy to find a mooring this time. Our engine stopped running at 10:52AM, therefore another short journey especially considering the 50 minutes taking in water. We are visible here, hardly indeed, in the far distance on the left, immediately behind the somewhat larger freight-ship – the third one from the front of the picture that is.

For all non-believers among our followers – here’s the prove of our nice spot. Squeezed in between Wolfsburg’s train-station and the enormous/numerous Volkswagen buildings.

Because we have good experiences with Germany’s railway-system we decided to visit Hannover from Wolfsburg by train. Two return-tickets for only € 27,00 for almost one hour of travelling, that’s acceptable we thought. Well, it is. The thing is that it is the one that stops 10 times before reaching Hannover – and the other way around. Who cares, we are retired people and the express train is at least 2,5 times the price we paid. This is a picture of Hannover’s main train-station which, in the past, even had a special waiting-room for its ruler, the king. The square in front of the station is called the Ernst-August Platz, named after Ernst August I. (Ernest Augustus) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Augustus,_King_of_Hanover, very interesting, especially for British followers).

First we had a cup of coffee (no, not thea), then we visited the tourist information. We were seduced there to buy tickets for the hop on-hop off bus and entered one after one of us had swallowed a few pills against motion sickness. Here we go, every now and then diving because of swishing tree-branches.

  • Opera building

    One of the first things the guide brought to our attention was Hannover’s opera building. That never fails to attract our interest indeed. It is supposed to be one of the oldest of Germany, popular with performers at the time because the opera-company paid them all year...

  • Striking building

    ...around instead of just during the period of their performances. The second building was such a striking one that we pictured it instantly from the bus. After doing some rechearch today, Sunday the 29th of July, we have to admit that we have not the faintest idea what it is. Sorry!

  • Pouring rain on biker

    It was our plan to visit the Herrenhäuser Gärten (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herrenhausen_Gardens), ‘one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe’. Alas, just after we left the bus, a sudden thunderstorm struck. Fiercly...

  • Wedding couple on the run

    ...too! The only thing we could do was hide from the storm, the dust and sand that was whirling around and the rain. Even a wedding couple (perhaps dressed like this because of a photo shoot) was looking for a safe place to hide.

More or less forced by the changing weather-conditions we visited the adjacent palace/museum. Highly interesting, undeniably. The most striking thing we noticed in the museum was this counter with a dedicated part for children. Haha.

  • Leibniz Universität

    To begin with: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Hanover. The university is named after Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz (1646 – 1716) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottfried_Wilhelm_Leibniz) only since 2006, on the 360th anniversary of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's birth. He was excellent in binary numbering. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_number. It’s too difficult to explain here – assuming that we...

  • Neues Rathaus

    ...understand it in the first place! The Neues Rathaus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Town_Hall_(Hanover) was opened on July 20, 1913 by Emperor Wilhelm II. The total building sum was only 10 million Marks – nowadays an unimaginable amount of money for a castle-like building like this. During WWII the building was heavily damaged because of American bomb raids, but there it stands again, in its full splendour – inside and out.

The last thing we pictured from the bus was Hannover’s main museum, we think the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Saxony_State_Museum). Because of the weather we did not find the time to visit anything else. Maybe some other time, the town looks interesting enough! (We should have bought a day-ticket for the tram….) Bye for now.