Sächsische Schweiz – Saxon Switzerland National Park

This lovely gem is located around the Elbe Valley, just about 45 minutes outside of Dresden and it’s a true gift of nature and history. I had first planned to go on my birthday with a few friends but I found it quite hard to pull off because it’s too far away from the homes of the people I invited and because of unpredictable Aprilwetter. So now, two months later, we finally made it!

My goal was to see the famous Bastei Bridge, but that just wasn’t the highlight of our hike. And here’s why:

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There’s no entrance fee to Saxon Switzerland National Park and it’s open throughout the year, 24 hours a day. We started our tour at Kurort Rathen, which may also be reached through a 30-minute train ride from Dresden. We came by car, and a parking lot for visitors was close by (4 € day rate). First thing I did was go to the Tourist Information Centre right outside the train station and ask for tips on where to begin. I told the guy behind the counter that I wanted to see the Bastei Bridge, most importantly. He was very helpful and picked out a trail that he thought was most suitable. He took out a small map and elaborated more on the best attractions along the way.

It began with a ferry ride to the other side of the Elbe river. From there, we walked on and took a left turn, as told by our map, and walked up a flight of stairs.

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It was an easy hike, but we made sure that we had enough to drink and took breaks from time to time. It’s suitable even for families with small children and for dogs as well. We were at the summit at probably 45-minutes’ time and it was the most wonderful experience.

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Felsenburg Neurathen

Then there was this open air museum that we entered for an entrance fee of 1,50 € each, and from there we had an even better view of Bastei Bridge and of the rock formations of Elbsandsteingebirge.

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Bastei Bridge

After that, we headed for the bridge, which was of course full of tourists.

Right by the other end of the bridge, there were restaurants and cafés where you may grab a bite. We shared a small snack and walked on.


Schwedenlöcher

The next attraction on our route was Schwedenlöcher. We walked through a forest an then walked down a few flights of stairs, going deeper and deeper into the woods and passing through narrow paths between rocks. It was a perfect cool down from the hot weather that greeted us when we just started.

 

Amselfall

An optional attraction that was 10 minutes going the other way was the Amselfall (Amsel Waterfall). For 0,30 €, you may activate the torrent, which I wasn’t able to take a photo of because I was just so mesmerised by the sight.

 

Amselsee

And to end the tour, we walked along Amselsee (Amsel Lake) and watched people on their pedalos and canoes. We found our way out by walking down the road and it lead back to the ferry. There are plenty of souvenir shops there, too.

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We’re moving to Berlin!

It’s been a pretty intense week for both me and my wife so we’ve been going on walks to get some fresh air and clear our minds. It began with me getting placed for a new job and her trying to quit smoking. So last Saturday afternoon we’ve hit the gym for a session longer than our usual ca. two hours and realised later on how much we’ve badly needed to burn those calories – it was to make space for the yummy ice cream treat as shown on the photo above.

And because of what we’re going through right now, we’ve come up with a huge decision that wasn’t due for another year: We’re leaving town. No, really, we’re finally moving. Soon. We’ve decided it only made sense to move to Berlin as early as this summer instead of next year’s. On the one hand, I’m pretty excited to finally live in the city and to not have to commute for hours everyday to get to work and home but, on the other hand I dread the stressful days of packing and loading and moving and unloading. We have no prospects yet on a new home because it’s still to early (for fast-paced Berlin means, at least) but we’ve been trying to get familiarised with the districts so we’d know our way around once we get there.

On leaving

I guess this was the reason why I started looking at our town differently. I began appreciating some of the things I had only walked past before. It’s pretty incredible how I seemed to have a new set of eyes to see this place, this unfamiliar place, the one we’ve almost blindly moved away to some years ago. This is the town we’ve got married in.

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“Der Cottbusser Postkutscher putzt den Cottbusser Postkutschkasten.”

 

 

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And some sunshine.

On trying to quit

I really hope she quits permanently. It’s her first time trying after about twelve years of smoking. I’m really proud of her for doing this because it has clearly been taking a toll on her health these past couple of years. So here’s to hoping she can keep this up.

This is her face at about 36 hours of not touching a cigarette.

I think I might be writing more about this adventure we’re getting ourselves into. It just feels nice to be able to talk about it and read about it later when it’s all over!

Until then.

Kathae