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On our way to Europa Park (see earlier post) in Germany, we went up the Rhine on the French side so that we could see Colmar (see earlier post). We used D424 near Marckolsheim to cross the Rhine which is the border between France and Germany.

On the map, we saw a little island where the road winds its way across the river.  But we did not expect a lock (for those interested in how a lock works, see wikipedia entry), let alone an elevated viewing platform.  So we parked and watched one half of a cycle of its operation which took about 15 minutes – starting with two container carriers traveling downstream from Basel towards Strasbourg.

The boat stopped just before the front gate and the back gate was closed. Notice the falling water level inside the lock.

Water was allowed to flow out through the front gate as the boats slowly sunk.

The water must be let out slowly, otherwise, I imagine waves and vortex can form inside. Just like a bathtub or kitchen sink.

The front gate next to the road bridge was then lifted. Imagine the pressure on this gate when the lock is filled.

 The other side of the front gate downstream.

The boats passed underneath the front gate and the road bridge.

In a movie chase scene, this is when the one being chased looks down, sees a passing boat and jumps onto it to make an escape.  In this particular scenario, the container barges were so slow and lengthy that the chaser can easy jump onto the same boat or one behind, and the sequence can erupt into a fight scene on the containers …

Another boat from the other direction was approaching the lock to go upstream.

On the French side, there was a hydroelectric power plant next to the lock. I would like to see the inside of it too but it did not appear to be opened for visitors.

I have seen the canals in Venice and the Camden Lock in London.  But none were working.  This is an unexpected detour but it was worth it.

Here is a map of the area:

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