Lebendiger Neckar

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
Trip End Dec 14, 2015

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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Howdy folks,

After spending all weekend getting a legal headache from reading German law, it was time to get out and enjoy the sunshine. After a warm week, the temperature dropped down to a nice 24 degrees, which was perfect for a nice afternoon out on the river. Today we had a festival (Yes another one) called Lebendiger Neckar (Living River).

The Neckar River is a pretty long one starting high in the Black Forest and flowing down through towns like Tübingen, Stuttgart and Heidelberg before it and the Rhine River confluence in Mannheim 367km later. Along with being a source of fresh water, it also acts as a river highway with river boats traveling up and down delivering cargo. It may not be as long as the River Murray, but its pretty important in Baden-Württemberg and worth its own celebration!

The regional councils between Mannheim and Eberbach, a 60km long stretch filled with activities, events, live music and entertainment including a rubber duck race in Heidelberg. There are a number of bikepaths that run along the river and it was also made bike-friendly with bike parking areas. A good idea to get people out enjoying the sunshine and burning some of those beer calories!

We were going to head into Heidelberg to take a look, but we ended up joining Steffie's parents down by the river in Edingen. They were running a canoe shuttle service to the village on the other side called Schwabenheim, although its more like a farmyard than a proper village. The river only has a few places you can actually cross between Heidelberg and Mannheim, although its not usually a problem. After jumping in the canoe, with crossed the river in no time and walked through the farmyard, which has a land cafe along with a lot of old machinery.

We caught up with Steffie's parents at the Schleuse Schwabenheim, a lock in the river where the ships travel along a separate canal through to Heidelberg. There are a lot of locks on the river, over 20 in fact, which regulate the water levels to allow traffic. They had a cafe and bouncy castle for the kids. There was even a diving presentation with diving helmet and pressurised diving suit. Not exactly enthralling, but definitely different.

They were offering free boat cruises on a converted river barge, so we took up the offer and climbed on board. It took about an hour to cruise down the river to Ladenburg and back. It was great to relax and watch the scenery float by. There were plenty of people having BBQs on the Neckarwiese in Ladenburg and a line a mile long for the ferry in Neckarhausen. We even ended up rescuing a soccer ball which had ended up in the river!

After arriving back at the dock, we walked back through Schwabenheim and caught the return canoe back to Edingen. Then it was some more relaxing and more beer drinking at the fishing club, with old German singers singing English language songs. But nobody knows the words to La Bamba except for la la la la la Bamba.
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