During lockdown, the only other form of "entertainment" beyond what is on a the screen of a computer/TV/mobile device has been what nature is providing.
Just about a month ago, snow attracted throngs of people to the Black Forest. Now the flood waters are attracting "tourists" to the Rhine River shores. On Thursday, there was a break in the weather and the sun came out so I spent several hours on my bicycle capturing these images and thought you might enjoy them.
The melting snow from the mountains in southern Germany combined with heavy rainfall has caused the Rhine River to flood. The flood waters are pushing their way downstream to the north.
At this point, the flooding is considered to be within the "normal" range which happens every couple of years.
For years now, the media has been covering how climate change is causing extreme weather. I agree with this somewhat, however, the facts in photo #2 clearly document that there has been extreme weather in this region for over a century.
On the day of these photos, the Rhine River officially had a level of 7.89 meters; it's average level is around 2.4 meters.
I admit that I do not understand the flooding scale in photo #2. I looked it up and what I understand is that it measures the water level in relation to the "bottom" of the river in altitude meters. Sorry, I cannot explain it any better than that and I have no idea how this number relates to the official measurement.
I wore knee-high waterproof rubber boots and waded into the waters (see photo #3) to take photo #2.
On the left side of the photo above, you might be able to make out the flooding scale post and the yellow trees in the "middle" of the river. The next two photos give a close-up as well as a feeling for how much water is in the river.
You get a feeling for how high the water is when you see the young trees which line the broad path along the shore of the Rhine in the following photo which wa taken several years ago when the trees were first planted. The entire shoreline and 50 meters of forest to the left in the next photo are all under water right now.
A few kilometers upriver in photo #6: the boat is "on the Rhine River" in the usual channel for boat traffic. The photo was taken from on top of the dike next to the flood gates which protect the small village behind it. In the foreground the parking lot is completely under water.
Close up of the flooding near the Rhine River shore.
It looks idylic. Some stork couples never left Germany for the winter. If you enlarge the photo you might be able to make them out in their nest in the next photo. In between the swan and the storks' nest is normally a large parking lot.
The dikes are very water-logged and no longer stable, so you can get fined for being on this upper path. The dike wall is approximately 100 meters from the normal shoreline of the Rhine River.
This level of flooding is considered within the "normal" range for now, however, the water levels are still rising and it is still forecasted to rain for the next days, so it remains "entertaining" to watch the water rise.
Perhaps they will find a way for us to play Aqua Jenga for some socially distanced outdoor entertainment :-)