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Elbe Sandstone Mountains

13 May

Region: Europe >> Germany
Travel time: 2010, June 3rd to June 6th
Picture Gallery: Link

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, located in Saxon Switzerland, are a beautiful mountain range close to Dresden, Germany. I spent some days hiking on the Malerweg and even tried to bake bread using a camping cooker for the first time. Read more and check out my short video clip to see how it turned out :-)

Trekking came up during Easter 2010 as I wanted to experience nature and have a good contrast to the city trips. To start things off, I bought a decent pair of Hiking Boots and headed to the Feldberg (881m) close to Frankfurt. I was enjoying it and got ready for the next trip by adding a Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag and Camping Cooker to my equipment. After some research, I came up with the Malerweg Route in Saxon Switzerland. The pictures looked amazing and so I got a Map of the area and booked the train to Dresden.

I arrived there during the afternoon and got picked up by Couchsurfer Thomas, who was hosting me the first night as I wanted to see a little bit of Dresden before heading off. We walked around the city to check out the major sights such as the Semperoper and Frauenkirche before heading to a bar for some drinks.

The next morning received me with perfect weather and I drove to Liebethal, which is the starting point of the 112km long Malerweg. The vegetation around the path slowly increased and I could constantly hear the sound of a river nearby, only being able to see it from time to time. The path was occasionally covered with mud as it was raining a lot in the past few days – luckily my boots didn’t care much about it :-) After a while, I left the forest again and reached some open fields with a nice view just to enter yet another part of the forest shortly after. The area is called Uttewalder Grund and suddenly a lot of steep cliff rocks surrounded me – I even had to squeeze through a Stone Gate in order to reach the city Wehlen after 12km of walking.

Wehlen is a small village located in a beautiful spot along the the Elbe River. There is not much to see except for a great view point, which I used for the first break. Carrying a 22kg bag pack was something my body had to get used to. After a nice talk with an old lady, I continued my hike along the river towers the Bastei, which I could already see from down there. Looking at my map, I figured out the best way to get there and found a small hiking path for climbers. Saving time sounded good to me so I gave it a try :-)

As it turned out, the route wasn’t easy at all and I had quite a hard time to get up the steep hills with all the weight on my bag. Eventually, I decided to take another break somewhere in the middle of the forest in order to begin the big experiment: Baking the Scottish outdoor bread Bannock! :-) It was indeed not clear if I would succeed since I’m not good at baking at all, but I still wanted to give it a try at least. Prior to the trip, I did some research and carefully portioned all the ingredients into little zip bags – check out the result on your own in this small clip:

It didn’t work out perfectly, but I was still able to eat it! Baking bread in the wild for the first time was a fun experience and as of May 2012, I haven’t done it again – I should do so :-) I packed up my stuff and continued to walk along the Climbing paths. Those were in fact only supposed to be used by actual climbers, as I had a tough time walking through the terrain. After a while, I surrendered to a huge wall which was impossible to pass without proper climbing equipment. Ultimately, I went back on the same route and walked along the Elbe River to reach the city Rathen.

The city is used as a gateway to reach the famous Bastei and I didn’t take a break there since I was already behind schedule. There is a small lake called Amselsee located just outside the city and it offers a view to an unusual rock formation: The bee hive, locomotive and lamb. Not sure about the lamb, but the other two descriptions fit the rocks pretty well I guess. I was gaining altitude again, walking towards the Bastei 194 meters above the Elbe River.

Getting closer to the Bastei, I was constantly amazed by the landscape in this area. The sand stone rocks have a unique look and the overall nature is just beautiful. There were lot’s of spots offering great views along the way to my destination and after a while, I finally reached the Bastei. It’s rocks were formed by water erosion over one million years ago and are a tourist attraction since the construction of a bridge in 1824 to reach the stunning view point along the river.

I spent a rather long time in the area but eventually had to leave, trying to reach the campground Entenfarm in time to spend the night there. Up to that point, I walked 27km with my heavy Backbag and so I decided to hitchhike to the next bus stop in order to catch the latest bus driving to Hohnstein, a solid hour walking distance away. From there, I had to walk for another 45 Minutes to reach the campground. I was happy to finally rest after setting up my Tent, Dinner and getting a shower :-)

The last day

The warmth of the morning sun woke me up at 7am and I left the campground after my breakfast. I had to get back on the Malerweg in Hohnstein to continue my Hike through the forest. After a couple of hours, I reached a Restaurant with a nice view but I didn’t eat there since I was carrying everything I needed with me all the time :-) I went on and, unfortunately, suffered an injury in my foot which forced me to hitchhike yet again. Getting to the next road wasn’t easy nor pleasant at all but at least a young couple stopped and picked me up.

They dropped me off in Bad Schandau and I could continue my Hike from there along the River, as my foot recovered enough after the long break. After all, I couldn’t miss one of the highlights of the tour: the rock formation Schrammsteine. They are located 417m above Sea Level and I had to walk up again. I saw a lot of climbers hanging on various rocks while walking around in that area and it certainly looked like a great place to climb.

I finally reached my destination and was awarded by the best views of the trips. I sat down and enjoyed the moment together with a bunch of other tourists. Sadly, I couldn’t stay very long, as I already lost so much time and was behind schedule to catch my train back home for work on Monday. I also needed to eat something, so I sat down to prepare my last lunch with my camping cooker.

On my way back to the ferry in Schmilka, I stumbled upon yet another viewpoint called kleine Bastei and could already see the train station on the other side of the river from there. In hindsight, viewpoints have been the big characteristic of the trip so you should consider going there if you are a fan of them. I can generally highly recommend to visit the area, it has been great!

I finally reached the train station in Leipzig and was about to meet up with my Couchsurfing host Thomas again as it was already 9pm and I missed my last train to Frankfurt. Luckily, he was still available and offered me to stay one more night at his place. I gladly accepted and met him in front of the Semperoper, which was showing a free open air broadcast of a Opera inside the building – what a cool way to end this great trip!

Slide show:

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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Travel, Video

 

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