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About notamermaid

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    Rhine, Germany
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  1. notamermaid

    The Elbe river 2018 - not just water levels

    With rain finally having reached all of Germany for a few days in a row, the Elbe has also gained some depth again. Yet, for this year as far as I know, the season has ended. We can only hope that next year will bring better conditions to the river. AnhaltER1960, thank you for joining us with info and updates about the river levels. I am sure I speak for the fellow river cruise enthusiasts if I say that your help has been much appreciated. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. The following article's topic you will quite likely be well familiar with. For the benefit of all who are interested in this region that has its own special Christmas traditions, here is a picture gallery on the Ore Mountains: https://www.dw.com/en/the-ore-mountains-sparkle-at-christmas/g-18122572 notamermaid
  2. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    Tragedy in Strasbourg, exasperation with the British in Brussels, my beloved island drifting ever further into a state of disarray, as one interviewee on BBC put it... Glad to only have to deal with standard health problems and the usual stress before Christmas (although I am still somewhat annoyed with a colleague for packing it in when we are in desperate need of staff) I try to push aside the sombre thoughts about the state of this world. I hope someone is still around to join me in festive spirit and like me enjoys this article by Deutsche Welle. And now, ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present a "parade" of Nikoläuse*: https://www.dw.com/en/why-st-nicholas-puts-candy-in-boots-and-stole-our-hearts/a-18889948 notamermaid *plural for German (Sankt) Nikolaus - (Saint) Nicholas
  3. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    The Netherlands are not really a big country and is so often the case tourists to that place flock to the certain areas of interest. Here: Amsterdam. The city sees 18 million visitors each year, more than the population of the whole of the Netherlands. No wonder the Dutch that escape to the hills in Germany each Summer. The Amsterdam authorities have had enough and steps have been taken to get the crowds under control: https://www.dw.com/en/amsterdam-cracks-down-on-tourist-excesses/a-44994468 Unconnected or not (they are supposed to be in need of renovation), the authorities have now removed the iconic lettering in front of the Rijksmuseum: https://www.dw.com/en/amsterdam-removed-a-popular-selfie-backdrop/a-46552944 Quite frankly, the Rijksmuseum looks better without them... notamermaid
  4. If you do not know it already, Nürnberger Lebkuchen are something special. Folks of all ages explain in this video why they like the famous gingerbread: https://www.dw.com/en/christmas-specialty-nuremberg-gingerbread/av-41765314 notamermaid
  5. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    Thanks, G.M.T. It echoes what I have read in the Bonn newspaper "Der Generalanzeiger", well, it is the same press release, just in different phrases. Months of double the average rainfall to bring us back to where we want to be? Awkward, as it would cause flooding in March/April. But we are used to that anyway, I just do not want to see a new record in the opposite direction of drought. The weekend has been wet, I have not seen so much rainfall in two days on any given two consecutive days since June probably in my area. A guess of mine, but not far from the truth. Nevertheless, I do not think we will see much more rain this winter than we normally do at this time of year. Deutsche Welle reported on the dry conditions at the end of November: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-registers-record-low-rainfall/a-46510847 For now, I am glad it is raining and the river cruisers are happy. Drought and flooding, to some extent, are part and parcel of river cruising, just as they are a part of the locals' lives, and will inevitably return. Some time next year, probably one or the other. For a day, a week or a month... The river levels are looking good, even for commercial shipping there is almost a return to normality. As long as the levels are backed up by more rain. Temperatures are forecast to drop to freezing conditions, but it will be dry with little snow. Rain will return soon, though, with rising temperatures. notamermaid
  6. notamermaid

    The ever increasing popularity of river cruising

    Marketing, marketing, marketing. Sometimes I find it really too much, especially when an article like the following comes at a time when river cruise companies are under scrutiny for their interactions with their existing customers. Do not get me wrong, I work in a tourism sector that requires me to be acquainted with marketing strategies and able to employ them, on a very small scale. But one reads so often about marketing officers and all the verbiage of what those people will do for the company, etc. https://www.travelpulse.com/news/people/janet-bava-joins-amawaterways.html I have yet to read an article in which an appointment of a "customer relations evaluation for the improvement of communication officer" is employed... Personally, I have the slight impression that the AmaMagna building project has taken some energy away from other AmaWaterways areas of strength. Just an impression probably, I leave that up to the present and future cruisers to decide. Or is it just the trials and tribulations that have come with the extreme drought this year? notamermaid
  7. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    Okay, just to clarify this. The river is still in the low to medium range. But even if their was no rain coming we would not get back to the abysmally low levels we had two weeks ago. According to the forecast at Maxau that is. As far as I can see there is no blockage, but slow traffic due to traffic jams at locks perhaps, "catching-up traffic", getting ships where companies want them to be. Barges and tankers are not loading full yet. BASF is not on full production yet, as of yesterday. But for us river cruisers it does look good. Swapping ships at Rüdesheim shows that the Rhine gorge is free, as you cannot logistically make a ship swap work at that point with another point further upstream like Mannheim when the passage is blocked. The usual swapping points are Koblenz and Rüdesheim, with other ports nearby stepping in if necessary. If you want to know exactly I would clarify with Ama why they are swapping, "the river is too low" sounds a bit weird, does not explain it. Onto Ludwigshafen. That is an odd case which I mentioned to an acquaintance, a hydrology engineer. We both do not understand what they have done there. Ludwigshafen inaugurated a new landing stage at the shopping center in April of this year. In Summer I read a report that the steel construction/landing stage was not useable because of lack of depth in the river. Apparently the landing stage has not been used during the low water period. It sounds as if it is not equipped for low water at all. Here is a partly blocked article from the first docking in April: https://www.morgenweb.de/mannheimer-morgen_artikel,-ludwigshafen-erstes-schiff-legt-am-steiger-bei-der-rhein-galerie-an-_arid,1226896.html That is probably, hbr777, why you moved to the other side of the river. Mannheim I guess? In the newspaper article a spokesperson for Mannheim harbour said that the authorities have already had enquiries from river cruise companies to move back to Mannheim in their schedule, away from Ludwigshafen. No wonder, if Ludwigshafen is not useable. While a bit much in detail, I hope this post helps to calm your nerves, nstarrenburg. And if any of you have not had enough tips for Christmas markets yet, river cruise or land tour, here is an article by Condé Nast Traveler: https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/the-best-christmas-markets-in-germany notamermaid
  8. Hope all goes well and you are fit and happy in time for Christmas. notamermaid
  9. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    Cruisin Kelly, Thank you. And today is perhaps the best day to give thanks to Saint Nicholas, as it is his special day in the Church calendar of patron saints. In western Europe his day is celebrated in many ways today. Most widely known is probably his connection with children and when the children put a shiny boot out they find it filled with goodies. The naughty ones get coal (or nothing). But he is also the patron saint of seafarers and inland waterways sailors. You could look up Nicholas on wikipedia, but as regards traditions I quite like this info from the Christmas museum: https://www.weihnachtsmuseum.de/en/die-ausstellung/gabenbringer/heiliger-nikolaus Quite a few churches are dedicated to Sant Nicholas and along the Rhine there are some chapels that are or have been used for pilgrimages by sailors and those connected with the river in other ways. Some decades ago a pilgrimage was revived and now takes place every year on the Sunday after Saint Nicholas Day. The old chapel stands at the place where the dangerous passage through the Rhine gorge starts or ends depending on the direction you travel in. Praying for a safe passage or giving thanks for a safe passage. It is very small but perhaps you can make it out from the river when you sail past as it supposedly stands right underneath Ehrenfels castle on the main road: https://www.stnicholascenter.org/galleries/gazetteer/4781/ The new chapel is this one: https://www.stnicholascenter.org/galleries/gazetteer/4782/1/ Both traditions of giving treats to children and giving thanks by the seafarers and boatmen is lovingly combined when St. Nicolas visits the barges and tankers and hands over treats from his boat to the children, well adults mostly. This is what it looks like: https://www.swr.de/swraktuell/rheinland-pfalz/ludwigshafen/Motoryachtclub-Germersheim-beschenkt-zum-50,nikolaus-binnenschiffer-100.html The headline says that even low water cannot stop Saint Nicholas. On the Rhine he cannot quietly appear though, too dangerous, so the ships are informed beforehand. They slow down so that St. Nicholas can hand over a bag with the help of a pole. And here, taken from the 1840 book by John Snowe - The Rhine: The Most Interesting legends..., is a (warning) poem: Never mock St. Nicholas and do be kind to Mother Nature. I wish you all a safe and uninterrupted journey. By the way, I have read in the past that on some river cruises, people have found little treats on St. Nicholas Day in their cabin or just outside the door... Have you found any? notamermaid
  10. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    The Kehl-Kronenhof gauge near Strasbourg is within the canal/lock system of the Upper Rhine. I do not why it still appears as low. If I could find the figure it relates to I could probably explain but a reference is not published like it is for Maxau. The navigation channel is deep, in normal conditions kept at 3m. As it is never mentioned in the news here and Maxau always given as one of the stations to look at by the authorities I would say that we can probably ignore the daily fluctuations at Kehl. Just a quick update on the levels. It is looking good with all stations now having profited from the rain. The forecast for Kaub has changed and 200cm is no longer mentioned but with figures staying well over 100cm and more rain forecast it looks like plain sailing for quite some days to come. Companies still have logistical problems to get round though which could still mean embarking at a different port or swapping ships. notamermaid
  11. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    It has been an eventful 48 hours on the river. I have not seen so many ships move about in weeks. What a pleasure it is. Read the news headline over breakfast: Ende des Niedrigwassers in Ludwigshafen. End of low water in Ludwigshafen. The article referred to the harbour there and the shipping industry. But also ferries are running again. It is all looking much better. Better than had been forecast three days ago, in fact. We have had more rain than the weathermen said we would have. It caused a few flash floods along the Moselle, but nothing major to report. With the Moselle also contributing more water (I expect them to retain some of it in the locks, though) the Lower Rhine will soon benefit as well. As of this afternoon, all gauges up to and including Cologne are off the low water status. Hardly any orange dots on the map left in the Rhine valley. And Kaub is on triple digits! Here are the figures: Maxau 463cm, Kaub 133cm, Koblenz 177cm. Emmerich is still low, but even there the level is at 42cm and due to rise fast. With the level at Kaub forecast to rise further to potentially over 200cm, my "job" of daily reports is done, and this weary head is having a rest from all those figures. But I will continue to "lurk in the background" and give you some info during this happy time of year. The sun has set over the valley so I will say goodbye for today and put the Christmas lights on. If you are sailing enjoy food, drink and good cheer on the Christmas markets and on the ships. If you are at home equally, in what can often be a stressful time of year, find calm and joy by putting on the lights or light up your life through having loved ones around you. See ya. notamermaid
  12. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    hbr777, nstarrenburg, peasmith, Thank you for your kind words. You are really lifting my spirits today. Sniff. Moist eyes. notamermaid
  13. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    It is like an early Christmas present, isn't it? I am so pleased to read this. Have a great time. notamermaid
  14. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    Thank you Mark. And while I am here, I will squeeze in a short update in-between household jobs. Maxau has now got its guaranteed navigation channel depth of 210cm again. Several other gauging station indicate that the respective stretches of river have also gained quite a bit of depth. Kaub is well on the way to reaching its depth of 190cm, perhaps in the early hours of the morning, being currently at a depth of 180cm. The gauge is running ahead of its forecast currently showing a few centimetres more than was forecast for late afternoon. Managed to have a quick look at Niehl harbour and did not see the SS Antoinette on marinetraffic. I tracked her then and found out that she has "sneaked out" while I haven't been watching and is already past Bonn, well on her way to reaching Koblenz during the night. Will she continue into the gorge or rest overnight in Koblenz? I am getting excited about this! You lot on the other side of the big pond can follow her on her journey during the night. I shall rest and hope to read more good news over breakfast. Byeee for now. notamermaid
  15. notamermaid

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    Hello sachasmum, You are right, with this five-day Cologne round-trip itinerary you have no real alternative and just need to wait and see what the ship can do. But with the levels rising I am confident the Robert Burns can stick to the original itinerary. One good thing about the relatively short distance the ship travels is that all the towns are doable by coach or train. Riviera Travel could organise an excursion boat perhaps to give you sailing through the Rhine gorge. With the figures of today she would at least get to Lahnstein at the beginning of the gorge, but probably even to Boppard which is an interesting small town in the gorge. Ships have done this and then returned to Koblenz. But for now the situation looks promising for sailing all the way. notamermaid