Weidling Boats on the Rhine

If you visit the Rhine river, specifically near the town Schaffhausen, you will find the edge of the river lined up with wooden boats called Weidling. These are flat bottomed boats that are around 30 to 33 ft long. They can usually hold max 4-9 people, depending on size, but you probably want to keep the number of passengers on the boat low. This is due to the fact that the only way these boats can be steered is by poles. The Rhine has a strong current, so most people push the boat up by the poles, along the edge where the water is not too deep, and then float back down. This is a serious workout! Today these boats are found mostly in Switzerland, where they are used for leisure and to enjoy the view of the river (especially when going downstream) at a lazy pace. In the middle ages, however, these boats were used for river transportation and fishing. If you are hoping to move to Switzerland and get yourself one of these, you may have to wait a while. While getting a boat isn't a problem (newer ones can be made), finding a spot to tie it up is in demand. People can wait years (!) for a spot to open up and then of course the cost of renting these spots are expensive. So how did I get so lucky to find myself on one this summer? A family member offered to help a friend take care of it (essentially ride it down the river on a weekly basis), who doesn't have the time to take care of it right now. That is how I found myself sunbathing on a wooden boat in the Rhine on a beautiful summer day.

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