Friday, June 19, 2009

Ferry me across the Rhein - Basel

As I mentioned yesterday in my summary of Basel, we took a very cool means of transport across the Rhein - the ferry. And this is no ordinary ferry - oh no - this is quite something. It is a ferry that is powered completely by the current, tied to a cable. Basically, the driver just change the direction of the rudder, put the boat at a 45 degree angle into the current and the power of the current moves the ferry across the cable to the other side of the river. Genius.

Actually, Wikipedia says it better:
''A somewhat anachronistic yet still widely used system of ferry boats links the two shores. There are four ferries, each situated approximately midway between two bridges. Each is attached by a cable to a block that rides along another cable spanning the river at a height of 20 or 30 metres. To cross the river, the ferryman orients the boat around 45° from the current so that the current pushes the boat across the river. This form of transportation is therefore completely hydraulically driven, requiring no outside energy source.''
On the other side, all we could talk about was how we wanted to make one of these in Australia... but where to find a river fast enough... hm... The ride was just 80 rappen per person and took all of 3 minutes, perhaps less... the current is fast! And it was awesome. I would highly recommend it and thanks again to Don for the tip!

Actually, the only thing that stopped us talking about the ferry was the view from the other side... and... something so crazy I still cannot believe it-- look close at what was crossing the Mittlere Brücke as we took in the view:

Do you see it? Click to enlarge if you cannot.

YES! Elephants! Crazy town that Basel... elephants and middle age ferries. What more could you want!?
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Expat Traveler said...

MY heart sinks.. I miss that town.. I had the opposite view from the other side of the Rhine.. IT's a beautiful place to visit for sure!

Don M. said...

Awesome! Glad you had fun - aren't the ferries cool? Re. the elephants on the bridge (!!!) perhaps a tie-in to the gargoyles in your Muenster pics.

Thanks for the link back!


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