Location: Kiel Canal, Germany
Scenic drives usually leave me cold, but even I can appreciate the beauty around us today. The ship is going through the Kiel Canal, an artificial waterway in north central Germany that connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. Without it, we’d have to go up around northern Denmark, in an area known for rough seas. (And actually, most cruise lines do have to go around, as their ships are too big to fit through the canal — ha!)
The canal was built between 1887 and 1895 so the German navy could link its bases in the Baltic and North Sea without sailing around Denmark. It was internationalized in 1919, although Germany still administered it. Hitler closed it to other nations in 1936, but free navigation was reinstated after World War II, and today the canal is a major passage for shipping in the Baltic region.
I knew most of that before we got here. What I didn’t realize was how beautiful the trip would be. We’re surrounded by gorgeous countryside, quaint little towns, and plenty of wildlife in and around the water: swans, ducks, deer, cows…wow. I was up uber early this morning, so I hit the gym (which offers amazing views) and then went out on deck to get pictures. Nice.
Next up: Amsterdam…