Minden - Haldensleben

On Monday the 11th of June 2018 it was departure time from interesting Minden at 8:36AM. Around 1:30PM we noticed this strange ‘hill’ in a predominantly flat scenery. ‘That must have been caused by mining’, we thought. A large ugly pimple in a peaceful setting. (Later on we read that this is probably caustic potash (Kali(umhydroxide)).)

Our overnight mooring for that day proved out to be Lohnde/Seelze – close to Hannover, where we stopped at 2:00PM. One could say it was a train-galore next to us with two double-tracks. (We slept well, thank you.)

The next morning we almost skipped a possibility to take in water and top up our diesel-tank(s) after leaving at 8:55AM. We turned and grabbed the chance to fill up four jerrycans (jerrycan = Kanister in German), over 88 litres, and for the first time in several years topped up the ‘normal’ diesel-tank by putting the diesel-hose directly into the filling-pipe, absorbing another 70 litres or so. The breeding-system, extensively adjusted during our stay at SRF in Friesland, did its job perfectly, to our great relief. Around ‘half ten’ (say the Brits, we prefer ‘half eleven’ = 10:30AM) we passed one of the busy city-harbours, in this case Hafen Hannover.

Around 12:10PM we reached the huge Anderten Lock. We had to wait over 5 quarters of an hour (the professionals of course have priority over the pleasure-boats) before we got permission to enter the lock. Here one sees the lock emptying and us, together with other boats, moving towards the entrance. The lock on the left side of the picture was out-of-use, thus preventing a smooth(er) traffic-flow.

We always prefer to publish pictures using landscape-format, because the ‘standing-up’-format takes such a lot of space. But… in this case there’s every reason to make an exception. This lock was lifting us a whopping 14,7 metres (almost 50 feet)! Therefore, this picture-format emphasizes the deepness perfectly.

  • Almost there

    One of us masters a front-rope, the other a rear-rope. Since this lock is not equipped with floating bollards the ropes must be replaced regularly during the rising-process. That is not completely risk-free, reason for us to wear a life-jacket. The first picture shows...

  • Completely there

    ...the front-rope attached to the uppermost integrated lock-wall bollard (using a boat-hook). The other picture shows us at the top of the lock, in front of the reddish building, that is already visible high above us on the picture before these two.

Leaving the lock ever so laid-back after having been inside for almost half an hour.

We called it a day at 4:09PM and stopped at the T-crossing, formed by the Mittellandkanal and the Stichkanal (side-canal?) (nach/towards) Hildesheim. The lock at the beginning of the Stichkanal is visible here in the background. Furthermore, errrr, not all that exciting.

Wednesday the 13th of June 2018 – departure time 9:14AM. Around 12:45PM we passed another T-crossing, this time formed by the Mittellandkanal and the Stichkanal Saltzinger (PK 213). During the approach we noticed a moored up Dutch Barge, which never fails to attract our attention. When coming closer we saw, really, a neighbour of ours from Amersfoort being Tony & Fred on their barge ‘Bertillac’. We could hardly believe our eyes, changed course and used the brakes extensively. What a lovely surprise! We exchanged some info while being next to each other. They appeared to travel in the direction of Hamburg, we towards Berlin. It was a surprise to such an extend that we forgot to take a picture. When already away for, say, half a kilometre we yet took a snapshot. This is the result. It was really them two!

Around 1:30PM we passed Braunschweig’s harbour. Scrap metal obviously is an important merchandise nowadays.

  • Special bridge

    The vast majority of all bridges has its span, in one form or another, higher than the surface of the (rail)road. This one is different. It has its carrying construction underneath the (road?)surface, which makes for...

  • Bridge’s underside

    ...an interesting sight. Because of our speed (around 5 knots!) we were only able to quickly make a picture of the underside, on its side seemingly having a possibility for pedestrians to cross the canal. (PK 224,732.)

After some 4½ hours of cruising we again stopped at a T-crossing, formed by the inevitable Mittellandkanal and the Elbe-Seitenkanal (Fred & Tony’s route towards Hamburg). In the background a long push-tug is doing its job. Name of the closed village/town: Calberlah. One learns some new things every day! Initially we were on our own, but that changed quickly. Later on we were accompanied by two other pleasure bots and two cargo boats.

  • Sülfeld (I)

    Thursday the 14th. We left at 9:14AM and arrived at the lock Sülfeld, close to Wolfsburg. After a bit of waiting, only 1¾ hours, we were allowed to enter the lock, together with...

  • Sülfeld (II)

    ...5 other ‘Sportbooten’. We descended 9 meters (30 feet), which took only 19 minutes, starting 11:26AM. This time one of us could enjoy the use of a floating bollard. Luxury!

Wolfsburg, with its huge Volkswagen business-concern on the north bank, was passed around 12:46PM. Of course we did not skip the opportunity to picture Volkswagen’s iconic headquarters.

  • Autostadt (I)

    It seems a good idea to visit Volkswagen’s world, called ‘Autostadt’. Maybe on the way back – all...

  • Autostadt (I)

    ...mooring spaces were occupied. Uneconomically that is, not for the first (or last, we fear) time.

  • Rühen (I)

    Rühen is where we ended up that day. We read (DBA!) this particular overnight stop is a hotspot because (a) it’s in front of a restaurant and (b) it’s the former border between the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD) and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). (PK 256,204). Well, the engine stopped...

  • Rühen (II)

    ...running at 1:49PM when only two boats had arrived earlier than we did. As the left picture proves the situation was different later that day. And yes, we did have some beer and a dinner later on outside the restaurant. The right picture depicts the same point, as seen from the bank where we were moored against.

  • Former bridge at Rühen

    The second picture of the set before this one shows the bridge in its present shape. A load of similar newish bridges is to be passed on the Mittellandkanal, all of them built in the nineties of last century or the noughties of the current one. Reunited Germany invested hugely in the former DDR’s infrastructure! It’s interesting to see what it all looked like not even 30 years...

  • Ships waiting for control

    ...back. A bit more about Rühen’s border-crossing part at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rühen. The English version in this case, the German version’s only information is ‘Nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges war Rühen bis zur Wende Grenzkontrollstelle und Zollhafen für den Güterverkehr durch die DDR nach Berlin.’ Could (should?) have been more, we think.

Friday morning, on the road again. Waterway in our case. We said bye to Rühen at 9:45AM, after having had coffee with a ‘Dutch couple from ‘Hoop op Welvaart’ (Hope for Prosperity) with whom we had dinner and a few drinks the evening before. Eventually we reached our goal for that day, being a town called Haldensleben. The anticipated mooring spot appeared to be non-existing (DBA again – they’re good though), so we passed the town and ended up a few kilometres outside of it. The picture shows what it looks like. It’s at PK 301,856, the Germans even do metres. That’s called punctuality in its purest form. We decided to have an extra day off, being the Saturday. Sunday is a traditional non-cruising day anyway.

  • White wagtail (I)

    White wagtails are highly interested in a ride. We see them many times playing around our little ship, landing at her, taking a ride and leave whenever it suits them. Here are a few pictures we made when they visited...

  • White wagtail (II)

    ...us. They do not seem to notice us because of the windows. We think that we even were visited by a yellow wagtail. No picture, unfortunately. It was to fast, or us to slow, or a combination of the two.

Pusher tug – behind four barges

Pusher tugs are a regular phenomenon on several of Germany’s canals and rivers. As proved by this short video it takes around half a minute to pass one pushing four large (engine-less) barges. The barges are 32,50 meters (108 feet) each most of the time and a pusher tug like this one around 25 meters (83 feet). That’s a total of over 150 meters (500 feet). Our speed is around 5 knots (9 kilometers) an hour. So during half a minute we move some 75 meters ahead – nearing half the length of the oncoming combination. If we’d have been in a moored position the combination tug/barges would have needed ¾ (???) of a minute to pass us. Please correct us -explanation included- if we are wrong. Bye for now.