France to Denmark April-May 2016

Normandy  |  Normandy 2  |  Monte Carlo - Monaco  |  Ibiza  |  Cartagena  |  Malaga  |  Gibraltar  |  Portimao  
  Lisbon  |  Porto  |  Coruna  |  Cherbourg  |  Rouen Day 1  |  Rouen Day 2  |  Cruising the Seine  |  Belgium  

  Amsterdam  |  North Sea Canal  |  Travemunde/Lubeck, Germany   |  Fredericia, Denmark   

LEAVING AMSTERDAM via the North Sea Canal
North Sea Canal

We get a little bit of everything on this cruise.

First we sailed to various ports in the Mediterranean, then to and through the Straits of Gibraltar, then into various ports on the Atlantic, followed by a trip up and down a portion of the Seine River, and today we are sailing through the first of two canals, the North Sea Canal.

When our ship is underway we′ve either seen no land, land on one side of the ship at a distance, or land on both sides of us. The Strait was unique in that if we looked away from the Rock (even when we were in the Gibraltar port), it was like sailing on the open ocean because land "disappeared". The Seine was the opposite experience. Although our ship is fairly large compared to the other boats we saw on that river (mostly barges and smaller craft) our ocean-going craft gave us the "river cruise" experience because we could see both river banks, and all their activity, at the same time.

On the Seine, buildings on the river banks close to Rouen were largely industrial, mostly storage and petrochemical facilities (with wind turbines everywhere). Later on, farther away from Rouen, it changed to residential and ultimately, where there was enough flat land, to farming.

The North Sea Canal out of Amsterdam was different. As we left Amsterdam, I was struck by the number of modern buildings, a couple of which had cut-outs apparently to improve harbor views. Also, the banks along this Canal seemed much more heavily industrialized than outside Rouen.

Modern Buildings  Modern Buildings  Modern Buildings  Modern Buildings  Modern Buildings  

dredgingPossibly the biggest difference between the Rouen trip and this one was the dredgingnumber of ships and sites dedicated to, in this case, actually building/maintaining Amsterdam: dredging, hauling sand to and from sites, storing sand, and in one instance, pounding in foundations for a new structure.

dwellingsdwellingsIn contrast to the Seine where individual residences were more prevalent as we moved away from the city center, they were either less frequent or less visible as we moved away from Amsterdam.

WWII Bunker
There was only one (presumably WW II) bunker in sight.

Kiel Canal, 5-11-16

The Kiel Canal connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea.

connecting seasWe traveled on it for almost 10 hours.

Picture a slow leisurely ride in the country except that the road is a waterway.

Really S…L OOOOOOO…W! We were told that speed is closely monitored on the canal because speed excessive speed creates waves which erode the canal banks.

In the beginning there were a few scattered homes. Some had thatched roofs.

farmland Farmland Farmland
Then farmland. And more farmland.

We were a treat for the residents along the way. Everyone stopped whatever they were doing and waved or took pictures. We (meaning everyone who was outside on the ship) took photos and waved back.

Like anywhere else, there are rules of the road. At certain parts of the canal, there are pilings that designate where the canal is deep enough to allow two big boats to pass each other. Traffic lights signify which ship is to wait until the other one goes past.

The canal is spanned by lots of railroad and auto bridges. Where there isn′t a bridge, there are ferries that seem to be constantly crossing the canal, presumably all day long.

Kiel Canal Kiel Canal Kiel Canal Kiel Canal 

There are wind turbines everywhere and, every once and a while, an old windmill.

Wind Turbine windmill Wind Turbines 

The canal had lots of swans. They all seemed to like the salad course (the algae on the rocks).
      Swans      Swans

Baltic SeaBy 6PM we were Locked out, having gone through the last Kiel Canal lock.

Now we′re into the Baltic Sea, greeted by swarms of white sail boats that are only just slightly taller than the white caps.

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