With church boats through the world cultural heritage
A rowing trip on the occasion of the RI Convention in Hamburg from 26 to 31 May 2019      

1st Day: Speyer

Today is Sunday, 6 May 2019. At 14:00 we meet in Speyer for our hiking tour on the occasion of the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg. In total we have 27 registrations. We row with church boats 200 km down the Rhine to Sankt Goar.

Anne and I are on our way to Sankt Goar. For us the journey starts at the end. In Sankt Goar we drive to the ramp where the boats are pulled ashore. There we have an appointment with Achim, who arrives only a few minutes after us with the empty boat trailer. Car and trailer are parked and secured. Then we set off for Speyer.
In Sankt Goar I show Anne the boathouse of the water sports club. We have organized luggage transport from hotel to hotel everywhere. But at the end of the tour we don't need a hotel anymore. There the train station waits for us for the return trip or the onward trip. And today it is no longer a matter of course that railway stations have luggage storage. In St. Goar this task is taken over by the Tourist Information - if it is open. "This is a holiday" I was told on the phone. But a call to the chairman of the water sports association St. Goar 1924 eV solved this problem. Of course we can store our luggage in the boathouse of the club. Thank you!

We stop briefly in Bacharach at the landing stage of the Bacharacher Ruderverein 1884 eV. In a narrow bend with sandbanks, mooring at the jetty is not without problems. But the water level is high enough to get over the sandbanks.

Around one p.m. we arrive in Speyer. With us come Judith and Paul from Lucerne, Paul from Rosenheim and Maria from Berlin. Already yesterday Ionella and Valer as well as Liana and Sorin from the Rotary Club Blaj have arrived in Speyer. The welcome meeting is moved to the terrace because of the good weather. According to the organizational instructions, the IFoRR shirts ordered for this occasion will be distributed to all participants present. Before Hans-Jürgen from RC Speyer brings us to the cathedral we have to count through again: Tomorrow we row with 21 people plus 3 non-rudder makes 24. Paul from Neuss arrives tonight. Wolfgang and Christof from Mainz are expected tomorrow morning. Fits!

In front of the cathedral we meet 3 members of RC Speyer. The Incoming President Ute Bahrs was my contact person. The cathedral priest Bender welcomes us as landlord. The guidance is taken over by our rotarian friend Münchbach, a trained lawyer with an almost inexhaustible knowledge of Speyer and his history.

We visit the cathedral. We then pass the city and reach the Jewish bath. And on the way to the beer garden of the Domhof house brewery we pass the beautifully baroque Trinity Church, which was constructed the same way as a former church in Frankfurt, where Goethe was baptized.
The closing of the day takes place together with the Speyrer friends in the Domhof. The way back to the hotel passes the Museum of Technology. The hustle and bustle of the day has given way to an illuminated silence.

2nd Day: From Speyer to Worms

Monday 9:00 am: Departure to the new boathouse of the Speyr rowing community. Yesterday morning Heidi and Achim already launched the Neuss boat Bolly. With the support of Norbert Herbel, Charlie gets into the water within a very short time. The rowers are distributed among the boats. We set sail!
Before we turn into the main river of the Rhine, some more manoeuvres are done in an old quiet Rhine arm.

On time we reach the jetty of the Ludwigshafen rowing club, where Harald, representing the Rotarian rowing team Rhein-Neckar, and his wife Gabriele are waiting for us. The restaurant in the boathouse is closed today, but the owner nevertheless prepared a warm meal for us. We drink the provided water. Don't they have any wine here? Yes, they do. And it tasted well.

The journey continues in an upbeat direction towards Worms. In the raft harbour we look for the landing stage of the 1st Worms Swimming Club Poseidon. The shuttle bus is ready to take us to the hotel. In the lobby of the Parkhotel Prinz Carl iour rotarian friend Heigl from RC Worms-Nibelungen is already waiting for us. He will lead us through the city. The small group of English-speaking rowers will be taken over by friend Bentz from the same club.
The tribunes for the Nibelungen Festival are erected at the cathedral. The Jewish cemetery is idyllically situated with its many old graves. Since 1868, the Luther monument commemorates the Reichstag in Worms in 1521, where Luther defended his theses. The tour ended with a downpour.

In the evening we meet Rotarians from Worms at the winery of the president of the Rotary Club Worms-Nibelungen Andreas Schreiber. The weather has calmed down, but Andreas has had his house stocked as a precaution. We enjoy the conversations with numerous Rotarians from both Worms clubs and the Rotaract Club Worms. We drink excellent wine and eat good food. And we are enthusiastic about the Indian inbound, who eagerly absorbs and passes on everything worth knowing about wine in theory and practice!

3rd Day: From Worms to Mainz

We leave and listen to Paul's commands. Anyone who wasn't awake after the short night is now. Hans-Jürgen only wanted to join us for one day. In his place Wolfgang from RC Simmern is on board now .
We have the longest stage ahead of us. 35 km to lunch in Steckler's restaurant at the Oppenheim lido and then another 19 km to Mainz. In Oppenheim we pull the boats from the water onto the beach and wonder about the peace and idyllic location. Oppenheim, in the Middle Ages a free imperial city on the Rhine, is far away. The Rhine has found another way.
The house is covered for dinner, it has been raining here. Incomprehensible, because we didn't get a drop of water on the Rhine.
We leave at 2:30. We pass Nierstein, the Rhine island Langenau. The weather remains dry, but a headwind comes up, which makes the last 7 kilometres hard work. Suddenly the fight against the waves stops as we reach the Mainzer Winterhafen and row to the jetty at the boathouse of the Mainzer Ruderverein, which the innkeeper of the boathouse restaurant Frank Buchholz has made available to us. We have a drink before we go to the nearby Favorite Hotel located in the Mainz Stadtpark.
For dinner we meet with Rotarians from Mainz in the wine tavern Bacchus in one of the oldest half-timbered houses of the old town of Mainz.

4th Day: From Mainz to Rüdesheim

For exceptional reasons, the next day does not begin with rowing. The morning is dedicated to the visit of the city of Mainz.
We meet our city guide in front of the Stephanskirche. The stained glass windows were designed by Chagall. The blue colour of the windows gives the interior of the church a peculiar atmosphere. We go down to Schillerplatz with its carnival fountain and continue towards the cathedral. Every time we look at a pedestrian light we see a Mainzelmännchen, a symbol of the Mainz-based Second German Television, Europe's largest television station. And why are some street signs blue and others red?
After the visit of the cathedral we go back in the way of the boathouse. We pass the shipping museum and have a look at the Roman ships excavated in 2009.

A feudal picnic awaits us at the boathouse, prepared by Anne and Gudrun and set up with the help of Wolfgang from the RC Simmern. We look at the Rhine and the opposite mouth of the Main.
With a little delay we sit again in our boats, leave the protecting harbour and row along the Mainz city scenery and the Biebricher Castle to the Rheingau with its beautiful wine villages. The two shuttle buses as well as Anne and Gudrun are already waiting in the Rüdesheim marina to take us to the hotel. Recreational drinks, showers, changing clothes and we are ready for our planned evening activities.

We have arranged a meeting with the our rotarian friends of RC Bingen on the other side of the Rhine. It is too late for the passenger ferry; we have to go to the car ferry. So we have a boat trip without own effort and after that a long walk, before we arrive at the "Vinothek" and are welcomed by the president of the club Klaus Becker. Good wines, good food and good conversations. And a check on the clock: The ferry only runs until midnight!

5th Day: From Rüdesheim to St. Goar

Today we pass the Middle Rhine World Heritage Site. On board the vacant seats have been filled by Simone and Hans-Hermann. Above Rüdesheim we see the Niederwalddenkmal. The mountains are very close to the river. It seems there is a castle on every mountain: Ruin Ehrenfels, Castle Rheinstein, Castle Reichenstein, Castle Sooneck, the Heimburg, Ruin Nollig and Ruin Fürstenberg. Situated in the middle of the river behind the mouth of the Nahe we pass the Mäuseturm.

When Stahleck Castle comes into sight, we know that Bacharach is no longer far away. The water is high enough that the sandbanks are no problem.
Ashore we are welcomed by Dieter Römheld, member of the RC Mainz, and his wife Andy, who have descended from their residence, which is located even higher than Stahleck Castle on top of a mountain, to show us the old town of Bacharach.
We ordered lunch from Josch, who runs his restaurant in the boathouse of the RV Bacharach. Everything is freshly made and tastes delicious to those who have enjoyed the food. The look wanders to the clock. The train is waiting in St. Goar! Wrong: The train doesn't wait! Good, if you didn't plan too tightly there.

In St. Goar Anne is already at the jetty of the water sports club. Bolly docks, Remmer and Paul leave the boat, can change in the boathouse and reach their train to Emden or Rosenheim.
Meanwhile we have arrived at the ramp in St. Goar-Felten. We pull the boats onto the trailers.
Klaus and Vera drive with Achim's car and boat Bolly to Neuss. Michael and Christiane take the opportunity and go with.
Simone, Walter, Harald and Christoph accompany Daniel, who carries the boat Charly to Mainz. Wolfgang and Hans-Hermann are almost at home.

We'll go to the boathouse, change and get our luggage. The end of a boat trip.

Only 13 people are still sitting in Peters Brauhaus in Cologne's old town: Achim and Heidi, Paul and Anne from Neuss; Valer and Ionella, Sorin and Liana from Blaj; Judith and Paul from Zurich; Maria from Berlin; Hartmut and Anne from Mainz.

6th Day: Cologne

And before we go on to the RI Convention in Hamburg the next day, we admire a Gothic cathedral.
With this experience we are already thinking about next year. With church boats on Lake Starnberg? Why not!