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notamermaid

The river Neckar infos and experiences

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We're on the April 6 sailing. The April 13 cruise goes from Stuttgart to Saarbrucken, and they won't have English speaking guides.

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On 4/3/2018 at 4:30 PM, notamermaid said:

I was going to write a little about Stuttgart but could not resist linking this article when I found it on Deutsche Welle. Heidelberg on the Neckar, visited of course by many Rhine river cruisers on an excursion: http://www.dw.com/en/10-reasons-to-love-heidelberg/a-19190864

 

notamermaid

 

I am a bit late in responding to this thread, but I second any recommendations to visit Heidelberg. I was lucky to live there for 10 years, and think it's one of the prettiest cities in Germany.

Heidelberg is popular with tourists, however, if you wander onto some of the Old Town's lesser-visited lanes, have a picnic on a quieter part of the castle grounds, or visit the Philosophers' Walk (Philosophenweg), you can have a more relaxing experience. 

Since I lived in Heidelberg for so long, I wrote an informational blog post about the city. My article covers some of my favorite historic details (Mark Twain spent time in Heidelberg, for example), cafés, and places to take in a great view: 

https://triciaannemitchell.com/2015/06/21/things-to-do-heidelberg-germany/

Here's hoping you have sunny weather when you visit as the Neckar River Valley is stunning when it's bathed in sunshine. 🙂

Edited by SlowBlueSkies
I forgot to make the URL clickable. :)

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Tricia,

 

Thanks for posting. I lived in Heidelberg for a year (1971-72) and I love going back. I actually lived in Dossenhiem. In the fall I took classes at the Dolmetscher Institut in the old Bunsen house (appropriate for a chemist) and spent the rest of my year in to the Chemistry Department in Neuenheimer Feld, doing chemical synthesis with mercaptans (sulfur compounds) so that I often reeked on my return home. In those days there were street cars and autos on the Hauptstrasse!

 

I'm not sure what we'll do with our free time in Heidelberg on our Nicko trip. We dock around 1:00 p.m. and cast off around 10:00 p.m. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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FuelScience,

 

not long to go now till your river cruise on the Saar, Moselle, Rhine and Neckar. You are our nickocruises "guinea pig" :classic_biggrin:. I so hope that you will have a great time with the four rivers doing exactly would they should be doing.

 

Your cruise ends in Stuttgart of course, probably the furthest it makes sense to go on a river cruise ship and I know you will not have time to explore the river further post-cruise this time.

 

Further upstream are a few nice places that merit mentioning for pre- or post-cruise plans or indeed a land trip. One of them is Tübingen, the old university town: https://www.dw.com/en/tübingen-half-timbered-houses-and-students/a-36132127

 

notamermaid

 

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Tübingen and Stuttgart have been on our list for a while now. Just haven't made it there yet. We also want to see the Atomkeller in Haigerloch.

 

My family is from a small town not too far from this general area - Lampoldshausen, near the Kocher River which feeds the Neckar. My great-great grandmother and her brother emigrated from there to America in 1857. My great grandfather was born in the US in 1859.

Edited by jpalbny

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1 hour ago, notamermaid said:

FuelScience,

 

not long to go now till your river cruise on the Saar, Moselle, Rhine and Neckar. You are our nickocruises "guinea pig" :classic_biggrin:. I so hope that you will have a great time with the four rivers doing exactly would they should be doing.

 

Your cruise ends in Stuttgart of course, probably the furthest it makes sense to go on a river cruise ship and I know you will not have time to explore the river further post-cruise this time.

 

Further upstream are a few nice places that merit mentioning for pre- or post-cruise plans or indeed a land trip. One of them is Tübingen, the old university town: https://www.dw.com/en/tübingen-half-timbered-houses-and-students/a-36132127

 

notamermaid

 

Thank you! We're excited about the trip. I would love to see Tübingen, but that visit may have to wait for another trip. Three weeks away from grandchildren is about all my DW can stand. There have been a couple of modifications to the trip. We heard a some time ago that the cruise would end in Ludwigsburg instead of Stuttgart due to an event at the Cannstatter Wasen. Then last week we learned that construction work on the Ludwigsburg river bank would prevent docking there. So the ship will make its final stop at Lauffen.

 

The original plan was to dock at Lauffen at 22:00 after visiting Bad Wimpfen and set sail for Ludwigsburg at 7:00, arriving at 12:30. We will now be bused to Ludwigsburg from Lauffen and then be taken back to the ship.  We disembark from Lauffen on the final day of the cruise, arriving at the Stuttgart bahnhof around 8:15. 

 

We're flying back from Frankfurt on the next day, so maybe it's worthwhile taking a train to Tübingen and spending the day there before heading to Frankfurt...

 

Again, thanks for the note. I'll try to be a good guinea pig and post from the cruise with a full review upon return.

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jpalbny,

Aah, the Kocher. That reminds me of the story of a Lutheran minister - well before your ancestors' time - who went to the US. His name was Josua Harrsch, also known as Josuah KOCHERthal. Yes, he was born close to the river Kocher and led the first mass emigration to the US from that area: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josua_Harrsch

 

He was apparently very good at promising the poor a great life in the New World... His life is well-documented in German history literature.

 

notamermaid

 

 

Edited by notamermaid
added word

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Thanks, notamermaid. There is German blood on the other side of my family tree as well. That branch settled in the Mohawk Valley in the early 1700s, and one of them (my many-times-great grandfather, born here, 1726) fought in the American Revolution. I wonder if his parents were in that group? Certainly, the timing fits. His father was born in Langensbold in 1697.

 

Col. Peter Bellinger, in this story, was my relative. He married Commander Nicholas Herkimer's daughter. 

 

http://www.threerivershms.com/names4regiment.htm

 

Herkimer was mortally wounded in the battle of Oriskany. There was a stamp in his honor many years ago.

 

Screenshot_20190313-142656_Chrome.thumb.jpg.344741554b5814de7cbe34ac9d530dfe.jpg

Edited by jpalbny

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jpalbny,

I am quite intrigued by this as I read a book about those German settlers a few months ago. It is called "Becoming German" by Philip Otherness. He also refers to immigration lists, partly drawn up in England, in their temporary home.

Unfortunately, your link does not lead to the website anymore.

I am wondering if you mean the town LANGENSELBOLD as Langensbold does not seem to exist. A quick genealogy sites search revealed two people who were born in Langenselbold and died in Mohawk. The place name Herkimer also comes up in that list of immigrants.

 

notamermaid

 

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Oops... Yes, Langenselbold. Typing on my phone can result in some interesting words. Thanks for fixing that.

 

I know where Herkimer, NY is. A little over an hour west of where I live now. We pass it on the NY Thruway when we go west to see my brother and his family.

 

Sorry about the link. It does not seem to work on my computer but it still works on my phone. It has more detail about the Battle of Oriskany and Col. Bellinger's role later in the war.

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I know what you mean about the phone... Mine struggles with me mixing German and English a lot. The other day I wanted to write the plain German "Hallo" and my phone suggested "Halloween". :classic_biggrin:

 

Talking of language, I had one of those moments where I got it slightly wrong at first. I figured the name Herkimer is pronounced like in the name Kim. When I read that Herkimer is anglicized Herchheimer I realized my mistake.

 

Have a look at this: https://www.germany.travel/en/ms/german-originality/heritage/places/memorials/nikolaus-herchheimer-sandhausen.html

 

They have not forgotten him.

 

Funnily enough, depending on which road you take from Speyer from your river cruise ship to get to Heidelberg, you pass through the municipality of Sandhausen.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

 

 

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I have mentioned before that the Neckar is controlled by locks and therefore does not become impassable in times of drought. With the widespread rain over Southwest Germany in the last week the Neckar also burst its banks of course and flooded some areas. The river was closed a couple of days ago. This happens in the area of Heidelberg when the gauge reaches 2.60 metres there. The level is getting close to the (statistical) mean again now.

 

The waterway has been in the news again recently as there are new developments in the plan to modernize the locks. But more on that at a later date.

 

notamermaid

 

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We have also mentioned that in parts one, in fact, is not on the Neckar River but on a canal system controlled by the locks, passing through some unattractive industrial areas. Let it also be said that in times of drought, even though water levels and through fare may not be affected, the smell of those canals, in desperate need of fresh water to refurbish them can definitely be affected! The Neckar, particularly between Heidelberg and Neckarsulm , is a beautiful stretch of country side! However, let’s not confuse the product with cruising on the major river waterways.

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You are right of course, the canal and the river run side by side in parts. I hope I never have to experience that smell! We can get some of that on the Rhine but it usually does not last long, a couple of hours of rain do the trick. I really need to go down to the Neckar again and see the canal parts - I like hydrology engineering stuff, it is a few years since I have been to the (beautiful) areas of the river. Really like Stuttgart, its museums and also a great place for shopping. The market hall is amazing.:classic_smile:

 

Overall, the Neckar and its ecological system have been much improved in the last ten years or so, but a canal will stay a canal...

 

Looking forward to FuelScience's verdict.

 

By the way, the Neckar is not as wide as the Rhine or the Danube, but it is a main Federal German waterway, i.e. designed as a major transport route. Which explains the need for canal sections.

 

What this means for the new plans at a later date.

 

notamermaid

 

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The Neckar has got potential...

 

...for barge traffic, according to a study into transport structures in Germany. With ever more lorries clogging up roads, trade is looking for cost-effective, environmentally-friendly options. The only way to go is to take away goods from the roads and load them onto ships, especially in the busy Rhine-Neckar region. It is the only mode of transport that still has capacities and to ensure this for the future the Neckar has been put high on the infrastructure project list of the federal government. Sounds good for barge traffic and the good news is that the enlargement of one lock is starting this year, i.e. all of the Neckar's locks and connected infrastructure are to be updated, making the river navigable for 135m ships. At every lock one chamber will be enlarged. Good news for river cruise ships, as a side product only. As much as we would like planners to think of us river cruisers, such ships are ignored in the reports as, well, we all know, current cruise traffic on the Neckar is negligible. The bad news: the whole project - costing 1.1 billion euros - will not be finished before 2050.

 

At least there is hope for CroisiEurope to be able to expand their current offer on the Neckar. I spoke to a German representative of the company a few weeks ago who explained to me that they only sail up to Eberbach as the lock(s) beyond that point is (are) slightly too short. Work is to start upstream from Eberbach and if construction is started with the shortest lock, CroisiEurope could strike lucky...

 

Literally just a couple of metres are missing for CroisiEurope's 105m ship, enabling nickocruises to navigate those locks that CroisiEurope cannot. Nickocruises' MS Casanova is 103m long.

 

notamermaid

 

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Heilbronn on the Neckar is one of those places that grabs the foreign (US-) attention more than other towns of that size due to its army connection. This year Heilbronn has hosted the Federal Horticultural Show. Urban landscape gardening and redevelopment is part of the show and Heilbronn really went for this with the remodelling of a former industrial site into a park with new urban living space. So if you remember Heilbronn as an industrial, dirty, unappealing place it might be interesting for you to look at it again. If not in person than through this article from an US-American magazine: https://landscapearchitecturemagazine.org/2019/11/07/a-new-urbanism-plucked-from-the-garden/

 

Heilbronn is not a port for CroisiEurope as the locks are too small for the standard ships they use on the Neckar (see above), but nickocruises sails the Neckar with the MS Casanova (though Heilbronn is not a port on the upcoming cruises) and Phoenix Reisen stops at Heilbronn with the MS Switzerland.

 

notamermaid

 

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I have mentioned the massive undertaking of updating the locks. The first one at Feudenheim is nearing completion. Unfortunately, it has no real positive effect on making the river more accessible for river cruise ships. Feudenheim is near Mannheim and has had an additional third chamber for many years. The two old ones are the standard size being able to take river cruise ships up to 103m length. The third one is much larger. The left (old) chamber is being enlarged (lengthened) which means speeding up traffic in the area is possible as then ships can simultaneous put through the locks upstream and downstream rather than having to go through one lock if they are over the size limit. To give you an idea of the scale of the work here is the photo album from the building site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bundesanstalt_fuer_wasserbau/albums/72157709047933501/with/48048753731/

 

 

This photo shows a river cruise ship in the other chamber, probably one by nickocruises:

Verlängerung der linken Kammer der Schleuse Feudenheim am Neckar

 

 

notamermaid

 

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1 hour ago, notamermaid said:

I have mentioned the massive undertaking of updating the locks. The first one at Feudenheim is nearing completion. Unfortunately, it has no real positive effect on making the river more accessible for river cruise ships. Feudenheim is near Mannheim and has had an additional third chamber for many years. The two old ones are the standard size being able to take river cruise ships up to 103m length. The third one is much larger. The left (old) chamber is being enlarged (lengthened) which means speeding up traffic in the area is possible as then ships can simultaneous put through the locks upstream and downstream rather than having to go through one lock if they are over the size limit. To give you an idea of the scale of the work here is the photo album from the building site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bundesanstalt_fuer_wasserbau/albums/72157709047933501/with/48048753731/

notamermaid

So with the expansion will this lock be able to accommodate 130 m ships? I took a look on Google Maps, and it looks like there's only one lock (Dossenheim) between this one and Heidelberg.  It would be great if this lock and the one at Dossenheim could be enlarged, allowing modern ships access to Heidelberg. BTW, I lived in Dossenheim for a year back in the day when I studied chemistry at Heidelberg!

FuelScience

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Hmm, I have not explained this well enough. Yes, the new lock (chamber) will be able to accommodate the 135m ships. It already can in the one modern chamber. Hence the only minimal improvement in shorter waiting at the lock for large ships when the left one of the old chambers is ready. So there will be one short chamber and two large ones. The still short one will become obsolete.

 

The lock is just past Mannheim so will have no real advantage for a journey on the Neckar.

 

This is the page for the project on the authorities' website: https://www.wna-heidelberg.wsv.de/Webs/WNA/AN-Heidelberg/DE/Projekte/1-Neckar/1-Schleusen/Schleusen_node.html

 

Those are the most important parts in the text: "Die Verlängerung der Schleusen

Im Wesentlichen abhängig von den nautischen Verhältnissen ober- und unterhalb der Schleusenanlagen wird eine der beiden Schleusenkammern für das 135 m-Schiff verlängert."

 

"Um das Wenden von 135 m-Schiffen in der Nähe bedeutender Umschlagstellen zu ermöglichen, sind derzeit über die Bundeswasserstraße Neckar verteilt bis zu sieben Wendestellen für das 135 m-Schiff geplant."

 

If you feel like translating these with a program.

 

On the right are listed the individual locks with the projects. Not all have mentioned a prospective date for improvement so I am not sure which is being worked on at the moment.

 

1 hour ago, FuelScience said:

BTW, I lived in Dossenheim for a year back in the day when I studied chemistry at Heidelberg!

So you were a true Heidelberg student, and I expect many evenings were spent in the Studentenkneipen. :classic_smile:

 

notamermaid

 

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The Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung published an article last week that has been very helpful in contributing to the topic of locks and shipping on the Neckar. Here are some facts:

 

- the chamber at Feudenheim will now not be finished until well into 2021 as they ran into unexpected problems during construction work

 

- currently undergoing repairs and lengthening are also the chambers at Schwabenheim and Hirschhorn

 

- of the 367 kilometres of the river 201 kilometres between Plochingen and Mannheim are navigable

 

- the difference in height is 161 metres which is overcome by ships using 27 locks

 

notamermaid

 

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