Schliessen
Schliessen
© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH

‘Heidewitzka, Herr Kapitän’ [‘Ahoy, Captain’]

Tour aboard the MS Willi Ostermann
The ‘Müllemer Böötche’ [‘Little Boat from Mülheim’] of the ‘Colonia’ steamship line docks at Hohenzollern Bridge.
© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH

The white painted ship gently pulls away from the dock at Hohenzollern Bridge. MS Willi Ostermann sets out on its 1-hour panoramic tour with music. The elderly lady simply hums along with the first notes, but once unmoored, she happily strikes up the chorus to ‘Mem Müllemer Böötche fahre mer su jän’ [‘We love riding on the Müllemer Böötche’] together with the band. The four young people three tables away look a bit confused at first, but soon they are whisked away by her enthusiasm and wave encouragingly to her. Mathilde Rademacher is extremely confident of the lyrics of ‘Heidewitzka, Herr Kapitän’.

Past the panorama of Old Town

On the open deck of the excursion ship owned by ‘Colonia Dampfschiffahrt’, Mathilde and the Karl Berbuer recording sing vocals that encourage guests to sway to the music even in the dark. Berbuer, once a Karneval star in Cologne, wrote the song in 1936. It became an evergreen. And we know it is all thanks to 82-year-old Mathilde, who, before reaching the Chocolate Museum, tells her travelling companion Karin Schneider the most important things about Karl Berbuer and Willi Ostermann and their songs.


 

© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH
© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH
© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH
© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH
© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH

Setting course for Mülheim

Just behind the imposing ‘crane buildings’ in the Rheinauhafen harbour complex, MS Willi Ostermann completes a turn and travels back down the Rhine. This time, our ‘Müllemer Böötche’ slips beneath Hohenzollern Bridge and heads for Mülheim. From the water, we have a splendid view of the Cathedral and the Musical Dome; on the banks opposite, we watch the historic Rheinhallen with the Messeturm, the Tanzbrunnen and, a little further on, the Rheinpark all pass by. From above, a mouse and an elephant seem to greet the guests aboard the ship. These are the animal stars of the WDR television station, their portraits adorning a gondola on the Rheinseilbahn cable car that crosses high above the river. The gondola hovers above our heads for a moment.

Stopping at the zoo

Even before the Mülheimer Bridge, the excursion ship makes another turn, heading back upriver to dock. Well, not so fast. MS Willi Ostermann docks at the zoo, where some guests leave the ship. Next to the zoo, the botanical garden known as ‘Flora’ is an ideal excursion destination. Guests who wish can take the cable car over the Rhine. 60 minutes later, after an extremely exciting and relaxing round trip, the ‘Müllemer Böötche’ docks back at the Hohenzollern Bridge.

More about Willi and Karl and their songs

If the tour has given you an appetite for Cologne songs, especially by Karl Berbuer and Willi Ostermann, you should take a detour to the Old Town and the Südstadt quarter in the south of Cologne. There you will find fountains that commemorate these important singers. Old Town is home to the Ostermann Fountain. The monument to Karl Berbuer in the ‘Severinsviertel’ of the Südstadt, is in the shape of a ship. Multiple figures of which these songwriters have sung in their music are immortalised on both fountains.

DSC Panorama cruises with MS Willi Ostermann

  • Main season 06.05. - 03.10.2022:
    • Departure Dom
    • daily (except tuesdays): 10:00 AM, 11:20 AM, 12:40 AM, 02:00 PM, 03:20 PM, 04:40 PM, 06:00 PM* 
       
  • Post season  04.10. - 23.10.2022:
    • Departure Dom
    • thursdays - sundays 10:00 AM*, 11:20 AM, 12:40 AM, 02:00 PM, 03:20 PM, 04:40 PM, 06:00 PM*
       
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