Locks, Stock and Barrel

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. Things do change in Germany.

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, the 63-letter word meaning “law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling,” is no more, having been dropped from the language, repealed by a regional parliament after the EU lifted a recommendation to carry out BSE tests on healthy cattle.


The longest German word had appeared in official texts but not in dictionaries. (You can hear it properly pronounced here, before you put it aside and never think of it again.)

Anyway, it’s now kaput.

This fragment of ephemera constitutes my most recent knowledge of things German, so I am glad that my parents, Betty and Steve Zimmerman, have kindly  contributed a post as they make their way through the country by river barge. Here is their team effort, with Steve’s prose and Betty’s pictures:

MEMORIES of the lunacy and destruction of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich exist today (writes Steve) only among Germans in their 70’s and 80’s, and older.  

Among young Germans, especially those in their teens and into their 30’s and 40’s, a dramatic recovery, brought about in large part by the Marshall Plan, NATO and the collapse of the Soviet Union (and the infamous Berlin Wall), has enabled the emergence of a new Germany, clearly the undisputed economic leader of Europe. The change has been nothing short of miraculous.

Today, 50 years after our first trip to post World War II Germany, this new Germany has been shaped in both obvious and subtle ways.

The beautiful countryside of central and southern Bavaria, the largest state of Germany, was clearly the highlight of our 1963 trip…and it looks essentially the same in 2013, a dozen trips to Germany later.


On this trip, we are sailing on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers on the newly-built River Splendor, with 173 other American passengers and a multi-national crew of 44. The journey is made possible by a remarkable canal with 66 locks between the Rhine and the Danube rivers.


The project was initially  conceived by Charlemagne in 793 AD but abandoned due to incessant rain.

The expensive project was again attempted by Hitler in the mid-1930’s but was dropped in favor of Hitler’s ambitious plans to conquer all of Europe, and eventually the entire world.

The project was begun again 40 years later and completed in 1992. The current canal system consists of 66 locks on the rivers plus the Main Canal itself.


Europe has a Continental Divide similar to that in the United States. Therefore, the first 50 or so locks elevate ships upwards by as much as 81 feet until a total height of 1,332 feet is reached. Just past Nuremberg, the canal locks start to bring ships down closer to sea level.

Here are pictures taken of the lock at Bad Abbach, which brings our ship 18.7 feet down.



Our ship is 30.40 feet wide and the locks are all 39.40 feet wide, a difference of just two feet. Expert as our Dutch captain is, we still occasionally bump into the side of a lock with a noticeable thump.


It is now noon on Saturday, August 24th and we will soon dock in Regensburg for a walking tour of the town. Only 14 more locks to visit later today and tomorrow.



Filed under Culture, History, Nature, Photography

2 responses to “Locks, Stock and Barrel

  1. Anonymous

    How well you write. Must have had lessons from your talented
    daughter. Sorry we’re not there with you.

    Shirley and Jay


    Yea! A beautiful blog from The Peripatetic Parents! Informative, too!

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