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Drewlin's Danube Delights - The Scottish Lock

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    Drewlin's Danube Delights - The Scottish Lock

    Captain's Blog Emerald Stardate 14258.5

    Having been on the Sun Deck since leaving Passau we were approaching the last lock in Germany before entering Austria. Due to the low bridges the sun deck had been closed for the previous five days. Bearing in mind the incredible scenery there were very few of us on the deck. I was stood at the front with Vicki, one of our Australian fellow travellers. Our cruise director Simona came on deck to tell us that there were two low bridges as we entered the lock and we would need to be seated as we passed under it.

    We went and sat on the two seats immediately in front of the bridge which they lower to get under the bridge. The bridge is therefore known affectionately as “The Periscope”. We picked these seats for two reasons. Firstly, we would have the best view of the lock, as we entered. Secondly, we would know if they lowered the periscope below our head height then we would have to rethink our strategy.

    At the top of each staircase leading up to the sun deck there is what looks like a barbeque, this turns out to be a control system that is used when the periscope is down.

    As we made our approach I noticed there was a sign with the name on it. I said to Vicki, “look the lock has a Scottish name1”

    Now some of you may think that by calling the lock Jochenstein the German’s were taking the mickey. Au contraire, (French as well as German!) for those of you who read my earlier German lesson you will realise that this is a perfect example of the “En” and “join the words together” rules and that the lock is named after one of Scotland’s three greatest heroes.

    It is fitting that this tribute is in Europe. The other two greatest heroes Robert the Bruce and William Wallace have statues either side of the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. They only beat the English, our final hero – take the Jochen and drop the En and you get Jock Stein. Another rule in German is that they often swap “K’s” for “H’s”. Jock took the battle to the Europeans, as manager of Glasgow Celtic he led the team in 1967 to victory in the European Cup. THE FIRST BRITISH TEAM TO DO SO. Beating teams from Switzerland, France, Yugoslavia (as it was then) and The Czech Republic before beating the Italians (Inter Milan) in the final.

    Anyway, back to the story. The periscope was lowered than our head height, and we approached the bridges. It was at this point that panic stated to set in! I noticed the height sign on the bridge said 7.7.

    I am not very good at maths and my sums aren’t much better, but even I know that a ship that is 8.1m high will not get under a 7.7m bridge. Thankfully the ship has a 2.1m draft. We still could see that it was going to be very close. At this point we realised that in our current position we would be de-capitated so we threw ourselves on the floor. Normally, I would not have told you about a roll on the floor with Vicki, but in this instance as there was a reasonable gap, I feel safe in making this confession.

    I was still worried. Although I had been on a fairly successful diet before coming on the cruise, and was well on my way to my target – being really fat instead of clinically obese!- all my efforts have been undone with the excellent food and the great quantity of complimentary beer and wine that Emerald provide at meal times.

    So as my feet passed under the bridge I turned my head away so as not to see my impending death!
    I was about to close my eyes when I noticed another passenger who was ascending the stairs. Unaware of the fate that was about to befall her I shouted to Dawn to “Duck!” Still unaware of her impending doom she reacted to the panic in my voice and promptly sat down just in the nick of time.

    I said earlier that there are two barbeques, this is because there are two drivers. Obviously the health and safety people are worried that if the pilot doesn’t duck in time there would be nobody driving the ship.

    After we passed under the bridge we were surprised to see a crew member on board an Avalon ship going in the other direction was walking on their deck.

    He had a squashed nose! He high fived some of those on the bridge, before throwing himself on the deck. This is obviously a skill he has perfected, but judging by his nose it took him some time to get it right!

    Now if there are any readers from the Midlands planning to drive to Southampton to sail with P&O, or from Surrey on Coo-nard, make sure you buy a good quality SatNav. Otherwise as you get near to Stirling you will see a sign for “The Falkirk Wheel”

    This is Scotland’s “Big Lock” being only three feet shorter than the deepest locks we go through on this cruise. It may be smaller but is actually more efficient than anything the German’s have. The energy used to drive the Falkirk wheel is equivalent to boiling kettle of water, although they'd need a much larger version to take a ship like the Emerald Star.

    Last edited by drewlin, wigan; 16th September 2014, 11:30 AM.
    Cheers Drew and Linda

    What a great blog. I don't know how you find teh time to enjoy the holiday!

    One question: how long is this cruise. it seems to be going on forever! Is it a 'world' river cruise?
    See my cruise blog: HERE


      Wow, that really is a close shave going under the bridge. Great photographs, many thanks.
      Queen Mary 2
      Queen Victoria
      Queen Elizabeth


        Wow! The funniest blog yet. I love the reference to Jochenstein (Jock Stein) and the comments about the guy with the squashed nose - Ouch!


          Another great read, and again some great photos, its been a interesting trip and one i have enjoyed following. Thank you once again, George.


            Hi Malcolm, thank goodness this is not a world cruise. I don't think Linda and I could keep this up for one. I am not sure what is more addictive - posting blog entries or river cruising. We could really do with a sea day! It is midnight here in Austria and we are two days behind in the blog. You look at the daily programme and think it is not much, but by the end of the day you wish you had more time, as you just can't keep up. River cruising is so different from Ocean cruising. If you like scenery then it is for you. I can't believe that there are people on this ship who read their Kindles when the most glorious scenery is passing them by.
            I know Linda has a different view, but if I could afford it I would do nothing else but River Cruising.
            Cheers Drew and Linda


              Yet another great blog.

              I remember Celtic winning the European cup in 67. Jock Stein was a great manager for both Celtic and Scotland and an even better man. RIP.
              don't want to work, just want to cruise.


                Great stuff & so funny! Thanks for taking the time to let us share your cruise.


                  There should be a TV crew following you 2! Thanks for entertaining and informing us all
                  BIG SHIPS, little ships, small world


                    Not surprise people just read their Kindles...are they getting bored or a river cruise is just about rest & relax for them. Not about going around like a typical tourist.....Good information and pictures, thanks.


                      Originally posted by drewlin, wigan View Post
                      I know Linda has a different view, but if I could afford it I would do nothing else but River Cruising.
                      Thanks Drew. So what's Linda view?

                      How long is the cruise?
                      See my cruise blog: HERE


                        The whole cruise Amsterdam to Budapest is 14 nights, however, we joined 2 days into the cruise at Cologne. We're on our last 3 nights and fly home to Manchester on Saturday.
                        I, too, am enjoying this river cruise and wouldn't mind doing another at all. As you can have one or two excursions (mainly walking tours) a day depending upon which port you are visiting, it can be quite tiring as most of the cruising is done overnight. Today in Vienna, for instance, there was a morning coach and walking tour of the centre and shuttle buses back to the centre after lunch but there is also optional excursions (payable) both this afternoon and evening so you effectively can do 3 excursions today! The few times we have sailed during the day, it is so relaxing just sitting and watching the scenery pass by with a glass of wine to hand. However I do like ocean cruising with its variety of activities and entertainment and occasional sea days to recharge the batteries.
                        Cheers Drew and Linda


                          An absolutely fascinating account, with the low level bridges....glad you're enjoying it so much.


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