Archive For The “Germany” Category

Museum Island

Museum Island

Berlin’s Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of five museums built between 1824 and 1830 on an island in the river Spree, with a sixth scheduled to open later this year. The museums are significant in that each was designed to showcase the collection it held and they demonstrate the evolution of…

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Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz was once one of the busiest intersections in Europe and the geographical center of Berlin, but was completely destroyed during World War II. The area remained largely abandoned during the Cold War, as the Berlin Wall bisected it and sections formed the “death strip” of the Berlin Wall. After the wall fell, Potsdamer…

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The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall

Little remains of the infamous Berlin Wall that once divided the city, separating East and West, but it will long be a part of Berlin. After World War II, Germany was divided into four sectors controlled by France, Britain, America and the Soviet Union. The capital city of Berlin, entirely within the Soviet sector, was…

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Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Spectacular Cologne Cathedral dominates the city’s skyline and this UNESCO World Heritage Site is among Germany’s most popular tourist attraction. Built starting in the 1248, it is the biggest cathedral in Germany and one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in northern Europe. The exterior is covered with ornately carved sculptures and the 142-ft-high (43.35 m)…

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Rhine Gorge

Rhine Gorge

The 41-mile (65km) section of the Rhine River known as the Rhine Gorge was named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its castles, historic views and vineyards. This dramatic stretch of waterway has 40 castles, among the greatest concentration in the world, and was featured in The Learning Channel’s Great Castles of Europe Rhine Castles…

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Rudesheim, Germany

Rudesheim, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhein has been a German winemaking town for a thousand years, and today is known especially for its high-quality Reislings. After touring Heidelberg, Germany, we arrived in Rudesheim that evening and enjoyed a post-dinner wine tasting. The following morning, we walked up through the vineyards to enjoy the views to the Rhine River…

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Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany

The city of Heidelberg lies along the Neckar River in southwest Germany beneath the expansive and scenic ruins of Heidelberg castle. The city also is the home of Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386, and one of the oldest surviving universities in the world. The philosphors and university professors were fond of walking a path…

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Colmar, France

Colmar, France

On the second day of our Rhine River cruise, we visited beautiful Colmar in France’s Alsace region. The city is full of centuries-old half-timbered buildings lining winding cobblestone lanes. And when we were there, the Christmas markets were in full swing with holiday decorations everywhere. Colmar also is notable for being the hometown of Frederic-Auguste…

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Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

In late December we flew to Basel, Switzerland to embark on a week-long Rhine River cruise back to Amsterdam. Lying just south of the Rhine River border between France and Germany, Basel is the second-largest economic center in the country and the third-highest in population. We arrived mid-morning for a 10pm ship departure and spent…

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2019 Summary

2019 Summary

For us, 2019 was the “Year of the Canal”. We spent much of the year cruising the Baltic Sea, and passed through an incredible 98 locks while transiting several major and minor canal systems, including the Kiel Canal across Germany, the Saimaa Canal through Russia to Finland’s Great Lake Saimaa system, and the Gota and…

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Heligoland to Vlieland

Heligoland to Vlieland

We departed Heligoland shortly after daybreak on a 132nm run to Vlieland, Netherlands through the German Bight. The body of water, at the southeast corner of the North Sea, can be a nasty stretch and is our last offshore run off the year. We had blissfully calm conditions through much of the trip, with the…

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Dune and Bunkers

Dune and Bunkers

The tiny island of Dune was connected to the Heligoland main island until 1720, when a storm flood destroyed the land bridge between them. As the name suggests, sand dunes cover much of the island and beaches ring the shores, making it a popular summer destination. The island’s healthy seal population also is a major…

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Heligoland Storm

Heligoland Storm

On our third day in Heligoland, a storm came through bringing southwest winds over 40 knots. In the large port basin, Dirona was moving around a bit in the wind and waves, and the boats in front of us on the dock were really tossing. The harbour would be removing the dock for the winter…

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Exploring Heligoland

Exploring Heligoland

Heligoland is a dramatic archipelago thirty miles offshore from mainland Germany. Attractions include incredible natural beauty, extensive seabird life, seal colonies, naval ruins and many excellent restaurants. On our second day in Heligoland, we toured throughout the main island and particularly enjoyed the views and scenery from the cliff tops at the north end. Below…

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Duty-Free at Heligoland

Duty-Free at Heligoland

Heligoland, Germany is part of the EU, but is not inside the EU Customs Union or VAT area. The duty-free sale of fuel and luxury items such as alcohol, cigarettes and perfume make up a big part of the island’s economy. This is the reason we’ve stopped here for fuel three times in the past…

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Kiel Canal to Heligoland

Kiel Canal to Heligoland

From Lake Flemihude, just inside the Kiel Canal, we made a 97-nm run to Heligoland, a small island 30 miles offshore from mainland Germany. Despite adhering to an 8.1-knot speed limit in the canal, the delays in locking through, and an initial negative current in the river Elbe, we got enough positive current later on…

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Copenhagen to Kiel

Copenhagen to Kiel

After an excellent week in Copenhagen, we reluctantly departed to continue south towards Amsterdam. Over two nights, with an overnight stop in the Smalandsfarvandet, we ran 153nm to just inside the Kiel Canal at Lake Flemhude. Shortly after departing Denmark and entering Germany, our US registration again attracted an official inspection, this time from the…

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Kiel Canal

Kiel Canal

Following an overnight run from Amsterdam, we made a brief pit stop in Heligoland to top up our diesel tanks with duty-free fuel and were underway again in time to catch the last half of the Elbe River flood tide and reach the Kiel Canal that afternoon. We arrived at the canal in a fog…

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