Travelled : 40 kilometres from Dresden to Bastei in Saxony
Visited : Sachsische Schweiz National Park. Park-n-Ride bus €3 a double return. Elberadweg Cycle Path, Free.
Stayed : Carpark #2 Park and Ride, Bastei, €5 per 24h, bin and toilet. N50.98669 E14.05581 (Our Tour)
It was another quiet evening in Dresden and we rise early, that’s about 7.30am in campercar world, have breakfast and start to pack up and service the Hymer for departure. Slightly delayed by some madman filling his motorhome water tank with a garden water can, we are on our way east to the Sachsische Schwiez National Park. That’s a bit of a gob full, in all the local literature it’s called Swiss Saxony.
Turning off the 172 at Pirna, we start to climb into a low range of mountains. We have travelled from Northern France, through the Low Countries and Northern Germany for 3500 kilometres over 10 weeks without seeing a hill, so it makes for an interesting drive. We soon turn into a park-n-ride carpark with an automated boom seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We got the co-ordinates from fellow bloggers OurTour who recommended the walks in the park.
We alight the park-n-ride bus to be greeted by a series of maps, with various warnings and rules in several languages. Despite there being 20 people on the bus we are the only ones looking at the map.
The landscape is a sweep of narrow canyons lined by sandstone columns, chiseled by wind and rain.
Twenty minutes later we are at the top of the escarpment. It provides a wonderful view of the Elbe as it cuts its way through the National Park. You can just see Pirna in the distance.
The Elbe again this time looking to the east. The village of Rathen bellow with it’s ferry crossing. The Czech Republic in the distance.
Had to agree to do the washing up to get Pam to go out, stand on the seat and flap her arms about for this photo. Not keen on heights my wonderful wife.
A view back at the bridge from the old castle. According to all the signs an old castle existed between the sandstone columns. Lost in a fire at the turn of the century little exists. But for €2 you can walk around a series of steel walkways and look at what’s left.
We continue on past the castle and walk down to the village of Rathen on the Elbe. It’s an easy walk because it’s downhill, however the 300 metre climb back up may be a little more challenging.
The ferry at Rathen. There seems to be a fairly constant stream of people taking the ferry across and walking up to the Bastei. As we start walking back up the gorge ourselves we pass lots of people sitting having a rest. It’s another hot afternoon and many seem unprepared for such a hard uphill walk with hundreds of steps.
Safely back at carpark #2, we get the chairs out and relax just a little footsore. As the late afternoon turns to evening we are joined by 3 more motorhomes and we all feel a little more secure with company.
There is cycle path along the Elbe called the Elberadweg. But other than the Lonely Planet referring to it, we know little else. The NP Tourist Office is located in Bad Schandau about 15 kilometres away. An hour later we have visited the office, been given a map and a starting point.
Pam cycling the Elberadweg. We are only riding 35 kilometres from Bad Schandau in Germany across the border to Decin in Czechoslovakia. Just a small part of a 1,200 klm length of the Elberadweg.
Schmilka, just on the Czech side of the border. From what we can see Schmilka is one big duty free shop. Like Poland the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes is much lower than Germany.
Apparently even the Elderegweg had a border post once. Its a bit hard to explain but the border was 5 klm back on the other side of the river. It then follows the center of the river for that 5 klm, then the railway line and cycle path cross the border on this side of the river.
We pass 3-4 small ferries that provide access across the Elbe. Makes for an interesting photo, but most of all an opportunity to have a breather and some water. Its another warm afternoon.
Resting up in a little restaurant overlooking the Elbe in Decin, Czechoslovakia. Free very fast wifi, so we downloaded all the new OIS updates. Nice change from Germany where free wifi is very hard to find.
Just in case you were wondering about a Czechoslovakian Burger and Pommes. It tasted as good as it looks, but the service was dreadful. Thought I must have been married to this woman once !