Saturday 7 May 2011

FRAM locked up?

No worries, this is not breaking news, but a minor event which even adds spice to our trip from Oslo to Hamburg, you'll see.

After a sunset of major beauty we started the long crossing towards Hamburg. The sea was flat calm, also during the day, so lingering on deck was a sheer pleasure. Late during the night we reached Kiel-Holtenau and entered the Kiel Kanal (Nord-Ostseekanal), this event witnessed only by the night owls among us. The QE2, who was supposed to be somewhere near, must have slipped our course. Well, she is just so tiny…
Everyone else had only one thing in mind: the famous harbour festival, hosting the most beautiful traditional big ships right downtown Hamburg. A fantastic event, this year spoilt with warm, sunny pre-summer weather.
But, please: Why aren't we moving? What are these walls, so close on either side??
Simple answer: It's the lock, the Brunsbüttel Sluice, that is the westernmost end of the channel. And it was locked, the lock. And locked. Aaaand locked. Due to the very high traffic on the river Elbe we had to stay put for more than two hours until finally the gate opened and dismissed us into the wide river mouth. 
Sharp left turn, and off we go! Captain puts another coal on the fire (so to speak), in order to gain a little speed. 
But the trip upstream River Elbe is full of attractions, some of them grim as the nuclear power plant of Brokdorf, other simply pretty like the passage along lush green pastures and farms.
And then the skyline of Hamburg is drawing near, heralded by an increasing amount of vessels. We are here! Captain Arild Hårvik blows the horn, certainly one of the loudest heard by the crowd. FRAM is in town!