The river was a lot smaller than what I thought I'd be canoeing in. I was kind of disappointed but it was very peaceful. We were the only ones canoeing

So basically, I am a weak person so I was worried that the estimated time of 4 hours was too generous b/c we were going very, very slowly

It was heavy and I tried my best to carry it.

We made it back just in time b/c as we arrived at our endpoint, it started to rain and the cold front was moving in

By this time, the temperature dropped, rainfall was heavy....the end of nice weather for our vacation. For pretty much until Prague, it was cold and rainy

The longer we drove, the more nervous I got that we wouldn't make it in 4 hrs..b/c it seemed soooo far away

I only complained when we had to drag the boat accross the locks (that was only 4 times)

Nature Park Atlmuhltal: Canoeing

The canoe shop owner, Frank Warmuth, had us sign all the necessary waver papers, and explained that we were being given a water-proof barrel, so that we could put all of our items in there that might be damaged by a spill into the river. Looking at the pictures on the wall of smiling families in canoes, all with a large bucket in the middle of their boats, someone filled me with peace. Frank then called a Stephan to take us upriver, but not before reminding us that after we got back, we HAD to wash out our boat with the sponge included in the bucket.

Young Stephan, with the crew and bucket

Picture then this husband and wife being driven upriver by young Stephan, a blond-hair German college student: The canoe was strapped to the roof, the paddles were in the trunk, and the bucket was next to Lin-Wei in the back seat. As we drove upriver, we noticed a very large green hill, topped by a rather inspiring fortress! We inquired about it, and Stephan said that it was open for tours, but even better, all the hills behind it open to hiking. Score! Now we had something to do tomorrow!

We drove for about 45 minutes upriver to the entry point, in a small town called... well, does it matter what it was called? We got near the river, but there were a couple of concrete barriers blocking the rest of the road from the departure point! Oh no! We were 10 feet away. What were we to do?

Well, instead of just taking the canoe off there and getting us into the water, Stephan drove down a dirt path near an inn (while the inn-keeper yelled at us and shook his fist), down to another road, then turning back on a second dirt path about 20 feet from the first, we drove to the end of THIS path, which now ended at the water....10 feet from where we were before. Apparently the town was getting sick of canoe company dropping off canoeing tourists here...

Stephan asked me if I knew about the sponge, and I assured him I did. He asked if I could steer the boat. After assuring Stephan that we could steer the boat, I waited for Lin-Wei to get back from the inn where she was taking care of some last minute business, and bidding Stephan goodbye, the Captain boarded his ship and held it steady so that the Crew could had over the bucket, and board themselves.

One of the four locks we had to circumvent

The River Altmuhl was a small brown river that moved at a lazy pace. Much slower than the raging Danube that we had left in Regensburg. We spend the half hour or so just drifting along, watching ducks pass us on the water.

The rowing was not too bad, but we did feel a little sense of urgency since we weren't really sure how they had estimated this trip at the boat rental place. Was it based on athletic people, this four hours? Or maybe it was based on basket cases like us? Not likely, so we tried to keep up a decent pace. There was also the threat of rain to worry about. The Captain did a fair job of steering the boat, with only the occasional snide comment from the Crew.

Along this river route we were told there were four places where we'd have to take the boat out of the water and walk it around some locks. The first one came up after about an hour, and it was then that the Crew started to get a little belligerent. Our canoe was fairly light, but the Crew claimed that it was beyond their means to carry it. Only after much coaxing from the Captain did the Crew finally relent, but the canoe had to be dragged to the other side of the lock, and then put back in the water.

Does this look correct to you? Belligerent crew not pictured.

This scene pretty much repeated it self for the next two hours, with us paddling to a lock, getting out, Crew complaining , and the canoe being dragged downriver to the other side of the lock. We did take a short break at some town about 40 minutes away from Eichstatt. Stephan told to checkout a lcoal pub and have a beer there, but we were nervous about getting back, so we just rested a bit and took some pictures. The Crew was also scolded.

Finally arriving at the outskirts of Eichstatt, we had our final lock to circumvent. By now the Crew had had enough, and was thinking about resigning. There was foot stamping After much cajoling, however, the Captain was able to extract just enough effort to get the boat back into the water, and downriver to our endpoint, which was very near the rental place. The place we needed to stop was very easy to find, as I had marked it by using this enormous white swan. Once we got here, we needed to get out. Lin-Wei kept asking where we needed to stop, and I said, "By the big swan." She had no idea what I was talking about. Only when we finally got here did she say, "Oh, by the brown boats!" She had completely missed the swan...

Swan? What swan?

We unloaded our bucket, and the Captain was forced to get the boat out of the water and wash it out with the sponge (I made very sure to do a good job with the sponge. It seemed very important).

We dropped off our supplies, had a shower at the hotel, and had a nice dinner at the old town square (next to the big church) at a nice hotel restaurant. I was able to have some wine, which was nice, but the cocktail in the shrimp cocktail was only red mayonnaise. That was just gross...

The Mythical City of Eichstatt

Copyright (c) The Sticklers 2006