Saxon Switzerland: Europes Hidden Gem.

Day 15: Pirna, Germany to Pirna Germany.

Not quite a zero day with Doris but we have ended up parking up the van in the same location two nights running. A first for us, but necessary for the day ahead.

We woke up early this morning with the sun absolutely glaring through Doris’ windscreen. I thought we’d slept in and it must have been 8/9AM but nope, it was the sunrise and it was 620AM. Beautiful way to wake up though and what a morning it was.

About an hour earlier Nat had jumped down from the bed to resolve a clicking nose. It was coming from the fridge. For some reason, yet known, the fridge was clicking as if it was trying to reignite. She switched it off and climbed back into bed. When we finally woke and climbed down we realised that the gas had run out and the fridge was no longer lit. Luckily it was bottle 1 out of 2, so we’re still good for another 2 weeks or so on gas. Really impressed with the Gaslow refillable bottles so far.

Yesterday evening we hiked in the Bohemian Switzerland national park which was just across the German border and into Czech. Today we were going explore its brother, Saxon Switzerland on the German side of the border.

We’d 3 ‘main’ things we wanted to see, hence waking up so early. With the sun shining, our bellies filled with coffee and us no longer smelling like we lived in a van, we were on the road. The sun shining, the air fresh, the birds singing and all before 830AM. What a Monday!

Saxon Switzerland, Sachsische Schweiz, is a national park in the South East corner of Germany. About an hour south of Dresden and a few hours south of Berlin, this little gem often goes unnoticed when travelling through Germany. Covering around 93sq KM towards the Czech border, this place has so many trails, tracks and hidden gems to be discovered.

First up: Schrammsteine

The Schrammsteine is weird and jagged selection of rocks that sits high above the river Elbe. Absolutely beautiful and with a great hike up to the look out points makes this one of the more popular hikes around here.

The road up the river and towards the car park was beautiful. But the road was shared with a small tram service, which was a little awkward when two cars and an unstoppable tram were incoming! Thankfully we made it safely to the car park and began the hike.

Hiking through these thick, dense woodlands is always impressive. The sounds of woodpeckers, wood pigeons and mice echo loud and clear. We actually manage to spot and follow a woodpecker for a little while, he was so cool!

After a nice track up things started to get interesting. A series of stairs and ladders began to show themselves. Traversing over these weird and jagged rock formations makes it difficult. That’s why stairs and ladders are used to navigate and I must say it was rather cool.

 

Once at the top the views from above were amazing. The breeze got the better of my whilst trying to get a cliche instagram picture and I was worried for about 1/643 of a second that I was going to end up in the trees below.

Second up: Swedish Holes

Probably my favourite hike in a long while. The sheer beauty of this place is mind-blowing and I got excited edging around every corner. Unlike the name suggest, this isn’t in Sweden and these aren’t actual holes. However it’s a hike through the rocks, up towards the famous Bastei bridge.

It honestly feels like whoever decided to make this trail, tourism board in the late 1800’s, said. I know chaps, lets make this the hardest trail possible. Not in physical difficulty, but for us to make the trail. Lets go directly through rocks, under rocks, over rocks and everything else whilst we’re here.

A truly fascinating trail.

Third up: Bastei Bridge

Remember that bridge we walked across last week? (Click here if you don’t). Well kinda similar to that, this bridge also serves/served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. It was built purely for tourism and boy does it get it. Equipped with a hotel and a restuarant at the top this impressive structure, as the Swedish holes, goes right through these gigantic rock formations. It is impressive I won’t lie.

The hike back through the quintessential medieval town of Rathen was beautiful in the afternoon sun. We were tempted by the ice creams, but we decided to leave it as we still have pastries from GloBus to devour!

A really good day for both hiking and the weather. It seems Germany doesn’t hate us and treated us to a beautiful day today. 23k steps in the back, lots and lots of stairs, many ladders and about 80km in Doris. Total daily spend? About ¬£11. Quality.

Tonights camping location: Pirna, Germany. (CamperContact:3892)

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