To Aschaffenburg came our very good friends from California, Gina and Tom, who were also with us a week in northern Germany and Holland last year. They are travelers and boat people and of course it is a blessing for Joyce to have eight days without any Swedish. We started like last year with celebrating Swedish midsummer with herring, gravlax, aquavit and Swedish drinking songs. During the week we were now going further upstream on the river Main with 26 more locks, all the way to Bamberg, where Main is no longer navigable and the Main-Danube-canal starts. The service on the locks was excellent. Sometimes we had to wait a while for the barges and big cruisers but now and then we were the only boat in the lock and they filled it just for us. Gina and Tom learned to be a good lock-crew, gradually moving the lines upward as the water was rising (see picture).
The heatwave went on a couple of days but changed to more regular temperatures and some rain. We were now traveling in a part of Bavaria called Franken, a wine center with rolling hills full of vineyards and every now and then a town or a village with an medieval center and a castle or castle ruin above:
One of our favorite towns was Miltenberg, where we chose to stay an extra day to enjoy the great view from the castle (see picture).
In Miltenberg we also enjoyed a very well preserved old town and a good dinner at the Riesen restaurant, one of the oldest in Germany from the 12th Century. There the Swedish king Gustaf II Adolf had stayed during the 30 year war in the 1600s. (By the way, that was the time when Sweden was the leading power of the protestant war against the catholics, making war all the way down to Bavaria, where they say (as they did in Alsace) that the Swedes were ”the first and the worst”, plundering and raping. For a hundred years Sweden was a superpower in Europe till we were beaten by the Russians and changed into being a peaceful trading country, which now has not been in war for 200 years).
Lohr was another charming town, where the model of Snow White is said to have grow up in the big palace, using mirrors which was a speciality of the local glass blowers, escaping her wicked stepmother to the miners in the mountains, who had to be very short people because the mines were so narrow. (On the picture Joyce is impersonating the evil stepmother before the palace and the sculpture of Snow White and the seven dwarfs).
Würzburg was another, much bigger city, where we stayed half a day for sightseeing: the old university from the 1400s with lots of Nobel Prize laureates like Röntgen (who invented the x-ray) and a magnificent and beautiful rokoko palace, a World Heritage (see picture).
In Würzburg I found at last a replacement for the kitchen gas, Campingaz, which was said to be easily found all through Europe but turned out to require a lot of research and time-consuming trips to Supermarkets in the suburbs of big cities, one of the most annoying aspects of being a boat traveller. I was lucky because the day after I found a replacement the gas-bottle we used was empty. So our trip is not all pure enjoyment. A list of challenges: 1) On the river Main there is only one fuel station to get diesel directly to the boat, but it was too shallow for our boat, which means you have to carry the diesel to the boat 2) The reason is that the pleasure-boats on the rivers and canals, are only motorboats which have much smaller draught, which also means that most of the marinas are not available for my boat 3) That is also why we one night could not find a marina for the last night with Gina and Tom and had to tie up at a quay in Hassfurt, so high that you had to climb a ladder to get ashore, a considerable challenge for my elderly crew. We all got a big reward: a delicious fare-well dinner with Gina and Tom on the local restaurant: