Völklingen

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Spending another night in Saarlouis we thought we might as well join the crowd and watch the game Germany verses Poland. We waited out another heavy downpour and just made it to the big screen at “Großer Markt” by halftime. Amazingly, in spite of the bad weather, around a 1000 people had turned up. Security was tight, but after having been touched up at the entrance, we found that everybody was very well behaved. Being touched up by security was probably the most exciting thing of the night, as neither Germany nor Poland managed to score!

On our way back to the boat, Austin was amused to see the young, not so sober German fans stopping obediently at the red traffic lights with no cars in sight.


The next morning the lock keeper gave us the verbal 'thumbs up', and so we were off! Together with our Dutch neighbours we entered the first lock, but things didn’t look good. Mechanics still working on the lock gate told us "floodwaters ahead”!

We arrived at Völklingen where we were told by some German skippers that they had been here for three days and that the Saarbrücken lock as well as the first lock of the Saar Canal were closed due to the high water levels. It didn’t really worry us as we intended to stay at least 1 day to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Völklingen Ironworks.

Mooring on the pontoon on the right bank in Völklingen is free. Electricity is 1 euro, which lasted us 24 hours, and water is 0.50 euro cents. Needless to say that by nightfall we were joined by another few boats.

Update the next morning was:  18 degrees maximum, water level rising further, locks still closed.

But for once it wasn’t raining!!! So on Jan and Bill’s (La Bonne Vie) recommendation “not to be missed”, we went to the “Völklinger Hütte”. After furnaces were shut down due to the world wide steel crisis, these Ironworks were granted world heritage listing as the first industrial monument in 1994. 

But they are more than a monument. You feel yourself entering another world: a world of very hard labour in extreme heat, dust and machine noise, the smell of tar and coal still lingering around the rusting furnaces. Voices of former workers and videos of men and ovens at work intensify the experience. We dared to climb up to the top from where the expanse of the plant can be fully appreciated. 

The different shades of rust, the chimneys, pipes and wheels seem an abstract art work in itself. In areas nature has asserted itself and trees are growing on rooftops and metal gangways.

The buildings present an inspiring backdrop for all kinds of wall-art and canvasses, as well as a venue for the odd rock concert.



Once again the rain started and turning around a corner to seek shelter we found a newly wedded couple posing in front of the eery scenery. I felt sorry for the bride in her short sleeves with puddles all around her, but she didn’t seem to notice.







Austin didn’t complain either when I sent him out at 10.30 at night to take this picture - it must be l o v e!


© Austin Robinson 2019