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June, 2004 - Nr. 6


The Editor
Vorsicht Satire!
Vienna Connection
Rachel Seilern
Zurich Connection
Dear Mom
KW & Beyond
Concert Season's End
Old Customs in New World
Heidelberg Village
Royalty in Burlington
Dick reports...
President's Pep Talk
Nachfolger von Rau
German Cuisine
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Health Newsletter
Drugging of Children
Continental Divide
Via Salzburg
Event at The Fringe
Pearls in Color
No to Film Scene
German Beauty in Troy
A Truly Canadian Experience
Children's Writer
Returned to Bremen
Bach Festival 100th
Slow Meltdown
New Immigration Law
US Author in Berlin
German Olympians
Training for Olympics
Bremen Captures Trophy

Celebrating The 10th Anniversary Of The Main-Danube Canal

Crossing The Continental Divide

Germany’s Rivers and Canals -- Waterways for Leisurely Cruises through the Heart of Europe


Toronto - Ten years ago this summer, travellers in Germany, for the first time ever, could savour the pastoral beauty of Franconia, Swabia and Lower Bavaria from the decks of a river cruise ship. Two years earlier, in September 1992, construction had been completed on the last 300 kilometres of canal linking the Main and Danube rivers in the centre of Europe. Eight locks, each with a tremendous lift of up to 25 metres, had finally made it possible for freighters, barges and pleasure craft to scale the continental divide. Crossing Europe by boat from the North Sea to the Black Sea had become a modern-day reality.

Rieslings and Romantic Ruins

Scenic excursions on Germany’s rivers, though, especially on the Rhine and Moselle, have been popular ever since the days of the Grand Tour. The steep riverbanks along the meandering Moselle, planted with the country’s trademark Rieslings, and the Rhine gorge, with its castles and fortress ruins, have welcomed a steady stream of visitors for more than 200 years. But the opening of the modern Main-Danube Canal, along with the fall of the Iron Curtain, has added a multitude of waterways to explore Germany and Continental Europe.

Berlin to the Baltic

One of the newly accessible cruise routes begins in Berlin, Germany’s capital. The cruise ship, accommodating approximately 80 passengers, navigates a succession of canals northeast to the Oder river and Poland’s Baltic Sea harbour of Szczecin, once a member of the fabled Hanseatic League. From there, the route swings northwest, along Germany’s Baltic coast, with stops at the resort islands of Usedom, Ruegen and Hiddensee. Also on the itinerary, visits of the German Hanseatic cities of Greifswald and Stralsund reveal massive restoration and reconstruction efforts since reunification. Brick Gothic architecture abounds here in its purest form, with many churches, old warehouses and public buildings carefully restored.

Hamburg to Prague

Another water route has become increasingly popular in the past 15 years. Sailing for a week on the Elbe - at 1,144 kilometres, one of Europe’s longest rivers - takes passengers through a variety of landscapes and urban settings, starting with Germany’s largest North Sea port city, Hamburg, and ending in Prague. En route, the river cruisers visit the Bauhaus city of Dessau; Dresden, with its carefully restored Baroque architecture; medieval Meissen and its world-renowned porcelain manufacture, and they pass by the dramatic sandstone cliffs of the Elbsandstein mountain range before entering the Czech Republic.

Canadian tour operators now offer a large variety of river cruises in Germany, some as cruise-only packages, others part of longer all-inclusive tour itineraries in Germany and Europe. Vancouver-based Pavlik Travel, for example, offers a 10-night Berlin-to-Prague cruise until mid-October, with rates starting at $1,623.00 per person, double occupancy, all meals included (see www.pavliktravelgroup.com) Toronto-based Exclusive Tours lists a 7-night cruise from Potsdam (outside Berlin) to Stralsund (on the Baltic Sea) starting at $2,759.00 per person, double occupancy, all meals included (see www.exclusivetours.ca) Tour operator Globus promotes a 19-day Paris-to-Budapest tour which includes a 14-night cruise starting in Germany’s oldest city, Trier, cruising down the Moselle, up through the Rhine gorge into the Main, through the Main-Danube Canal and down the Danube, past the historic cities of Regensburg and Passau (see www.globusjourneys.ca) Rates start at $3,599.00 per person, double occupancy, including all meals on board.

For more information on river cruises and general information on Germany, please contact the German National Tourist Office’s toll-free number, 1-877-315-6237, send an e-mail to gntonyc@d-z-t.com, or visit GNTO’s Web site www.cometogermany.com.


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