Second week: Strasbourg and father Rhine

Wiesbaden, Sunday June 18th 2017
We spent three days in Strasbourg and enjoyed it a lot, it´s well preserved medieval centre with an abundance of restaurants and sights. The gothic one-tower cathedral was magnificent.
I got a great view of the city from the top of the cathedral after climbing 330 steps. There I could see the mountain range of Vousgues in the west, which we had just passed. In the east was another blue mountain range, Schwarzwald (the Black Forest), along the other side of Rhine, where we would spend our next week. In Strasbourg we also witnessed when Birgit´s friend Jean voted in the parliamentary election. We enjoyed a boat ride on a tourist boat around the city, we enjoyed a French public bath (because the marina didn´t have showers and toilets) and, not the least, we enjoyed listening to Swedish radio when Sweden beat France in soccer!
In Strasbourg we said goodbye to our first crew, Birgit and Ann (see picture above), and welcomed the next one, Clara (see picture below), a lady from Birgit´s choir with a lot of sailing experience. She had been able to come with short notice instead of Anders, who had fallen ill.
Then we spent the week on the Rhine, going downstream with great speed because of the strong stream, sometimes 12 knots instead of our usual speed of 5 knots. I had expected a Rhine to have a lot of commercial traffic but often we were alone on this vast river. We had two big locks on our way, which we passed very smoothly, the first one, Gambsheim, as the only boat in this enormous basin, 270 x 24 meters and 10 meters high (see picture with Clara by the rope).
We had first Schwarzwald on our starboard, later mostly flatland with great deciduous trees along the river. We also passed a stunningly beautiful hill with vineyards where some of the best Rhine wine is made, in Oppenheim and Nierstein.
For the nights we stopped at well equipped marinas close to cities well worth sightseeing: Karlsruhe, Speyer, and Worms, the latter both with magnificent roman cathedrals.
An important factor for living by and boating on the Rhine is the water level, which is extremely varied between the seasons. The level changes several meters, at the most as much as five meters! They have a system of official gauges, which are read daily and published on the internet. The gauges are called Pegel, see picture from the one in Mainz, indicting a water level of 250 cm.
After five days on the Rhine, we arrived in Wiesbaden, the goal of this week, with a very nice marina, Wiesbaden Yacht Club,  with floating house and docks, necessary because of the changing water level. Yesterday was the last day with Clara as mate and we made a great excursion to Mainz across the Rhine and visited a huge farmers market at the marketplace by the enormous cathedral. We also visited the museum of the most famous son of Mainz, Johan Gutenberg, and got a fascinating demonstration of the printing press he invented around 1450, a pivotal event of the Western culture.
Yesterday evening we said goodbye to Clara and received our next crew, my son David and his family, his wife Caroline, the twins Rebecka and Oskar, 12, and my youngest grandchild, Klara, 9. We are now looking forward to the next part of our trip, going up the river Main. From left: Klara, Rebecka, Caroline, David Oskar and the proud grandfather.

Author: nilsassarson

Retired child psychiatrist but still working part-time. I am recently married to an american woman and we are living halftime in Stockholm, Sweden halftime in Palo Alto, Ca, USA. Have three kids and nine grandkids from earlier marriage.

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