I was home in Germany last weekend. It was a good time to do some cycling instead of running. My dad can’t run with me, but he cycles frequently, so it was something fun to do together.
Whenever I am home, my parents like to reacquaint me with the area that I grew up in. This time, my dad chose a route along canals and through the industrial area. The “Route der Industriekulture” or the route of industrial culture takes you through 150 years of industrial history in the heart of the Ruhrgebiet in Germany.
It’s a 700km network of streets and pathways that are easy to cycle and take you past power stations, coal mines, steel plants, river ports, an intricate canal system with old locks and ship lifts (the German word “Schiffshebewerk” sounds much more elegant).
The steel plants and coal mines are all closed down and what is left now is a beautiful and green network of cycle and hike paths with many museums on the way.
The Alte Schiffshebewerk Henrichenburg (old ship lift) started its operation in 1899 and only closed in 1970. It was inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhelm II (the last German Emperor). Not sure what he did in this part of Germany. Anyway, next to the ship lift is the old lock, Alte Schleuse Henrichenburg, which was also inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhem II (he must have liked this area).
Here is another photo of the ship lift. This is taken from the entrance of the museum (which is closed on Mondays – which was the day we were there…)
The old lock has this fine plaque commemorating history:
I missed taking a photo from below the lock. There is an under path below the street that used to be the canal.
None of these are in operation today. there is a new and modern lock and also a new and modern ship lift (which is not in operation either…).
The canal waterways have been changed around the old locks and ship lifts, so that now you have little canal dead ends and it’s no wonder that there is a dragon boat in hiding:
As I said this cycle network is pretty nice actually and I would encourage you to cycle there if you happen to be in the area.
The canals are pretty:
There are fields of maize. Something I grew up with and I do miss the sights of these in London. We used to play hide and seek in them as kids. Sometimes we pretended that aliens had landed here…
This part of Germany has some very picturesque villages, some more than 600 years old. The cyclist in the photo is not quite as old and he probably wonders why he is in my picture. I wonder that, too…
And you can’t complete a cycling trip in Germany without at least seeing one castle. Schloss Horneburg is over 600 years old and has some colorful history including being a court for witch trials during medieval times. But don’t let that stop you from coming here. The castle is still in use today and is now a school.