Today Dan and I decided to walk to a grocery store just over the German border and see just how fantastically low the prices were. It was a cold morning and more snow had fallen overnight, but we bundled up in what little winter clothing we had and headed out.
We crossed to the north side of the Rhine and turned east, following the walking path along the shore. We were probably halfway there when we noticed something built up across the river – literally. We took the path down to a platform that informed us that this was a hydroelectric dam. Unlike most American dams I’ve come across, this one is privately owned by Kraftwerk Birsfelden. It was a very attractive structure – something else I wasn’t used to.
Dan and I wandered across the walkway, watched a large cargo ship come through one of the two locks, and then walked back across to continue our walk to the store.
The fish ladder! Or as Dan likes to call it, a “fish lock”.
Chains to adjust the height of the sluice gates (each link was about 12″ long)
A diagram of what I couldn’t see
Dan window shops
One of three (visible) turbines
An intriguing staircase
Large ship coming through the lock
The boat was too long to catch in one photo
Two locks – one always ready to go in either direction!
It was a good thing that we decided to retrace our steps back across the dam, as there wasn’t another visible crossing of the Rhine further upstream. As we continued along, I saw some dark shapes in the middle of the river and realized that the Basel Rowing Club was hard at practice on this cold winter day. I always appreciate the smooth, low lines of a rowing skull.
And then – Germany! The border was unmanned and we meandered our way across without any trouble. Our destination was an Aldi grocery store about two blocks in from the border. It was pretty much a dump, but the prices were up to a 3rd lower than what I’d seen in Switzerland, so we picked up a few items to take home with us. In the immortal words of Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back”