Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Kelheim, Liberation Hall and the Danube Narrows (Gorge)

Friday, June 26, 2015
With stomachs stuffed with sausages and beer from our Wurtzkugl lunch, we boarded a coach for the afternoon trip to Kelheim and its old Celtic hilltop site now known as Liberation Hall. 


At the visitor center, we found we still had a good half mile walk to reach the monument.

 

Luckily the stroll was across the top of the hill and given the size of our objective there were plenty of opportunities for nice photos.  In a nutshell this massive structure was constructed by King Ludwig the 1st to commemorate the German's defeat of Napoleon in a series of wars between 1813-1815.  It was commissioned in 1842 and took just over 20  years to complete. If you need more information, you can click to enlarge the sign below.

Otherwise,  just enjoy a few photos of classically styled rotunda writ large on the tippy top of a wooded hill. 




When we got around toward the front, it became quite evident that the memorial was having a concerted plastic sheeting attack.  The viewing gallery around the top is supposed to supply magnificent views of the Danube valley, but we were already kind of pooped from the walk so opted not to climb more stairs.

Besides, the view of Kelheim from the plaza out front was pleasant enough.
 

 On the way back to the visitor center we took a small side path that led to an overlook of the Danube Narrows or Gorge.   At this point the river has cut through a rocky deposit and is now no longer able to support large boats or commercial traffic.  As a matter of fact this section of the narrows does not even have a road. It is accessible only by water or bicycle and foot paths.  

To see and sail on this part of the river we had to return to Kelheim and board a shortship not a Viking Longship for transport. 



Our new vehicle was the Ludwig der Kelheim.  

As we moved out we could still see Liberation Hall on the hill above.


 But soon we were on a now bucolic  waterway, which was much smaller in scale and filled with touches of wildlife.


We passed a few small enclaves as we chugged out of town

and even a local with a fishing pole trying his luck


The vestiges of town life quickly receded and soon we were deep into a forested canyon with chalky cliffs peeking out from the trees.  Many of these formations have been given fanciful names, which the guide on the boat was fond of talking about.



Some have caves and have been used for hundreds of years.






Walkers or smaller parties can hire motor boats to assist their passage through or around the gorge. We didn't see any oared boats or canoes, perhaps because the current is too strong.




 At its narrowest point the river is only a couple of hundred meters wide.  As we approach the narrowest of the narrows,

as usual I am snapping away.


Hmm, not bad!


Even better.



 After about fifty minutes of winding progress our next destination--Weltenberg Abbey-- appeared. This ancient spot deserves its own entry.

Bye for now. 






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