Germany. Empire of Sandstone (pt. 2)

If you enjoyed the first part of the trip, this small story will introduce you to a less touristic Saxonian Swiss. Even if the park is heavily visited by tourists, it is still possible to avoid the crowds and have a calm hike in and around this beautiful sandstone temple.

After a heavenly sleep and a soup for breakfast we found out that we don’t really have a set plan for the day. The map we had with us suggested, that there is a boofen for a night sleep on the other side of the river – Zschirnstein, here we come!

The fun part was, that there is no straight forward road from our sleeping place. We slowly wiggled down the hills searching for a better road. Combined map and Open Street Maps strength showed us a pretty straight road crossing the cliffs. The group suspected, that this might be not very passable but yet we still decided to try, as the ‘real road was not really leading to the direction we preferred. After several unsuccessful turns we found a suspiciously straight road leading in between two ridges. Map promised a pass though the rocks that this road will bump into. As it looked good enough, we followed.

The road started to climb slightly upwards and rocks came closer and closer. As we reached Erreichtturm, we decided to climb it for a snack. The day was still young but the place looked just too good to miss the opportunity. Once we started to get closer, more people joined us, apparently this part is popular among rock climbers. It took us a while to find a road to the top, but oh boy, the view and the sun there was so rewarding!

As we ate and rested, more and more climbers came for a day here. We even saw some nice boofen for sleeping there but the signs warned, that camping here is not wanted.

The hour of truth came – will we be able to cross the cliffs or not. OSM showed a faint road between two rocks but the rigged environment did not help us to find it easier. We zigzagged by some raising crags and found the narrow crossing between two massive walls. Obviously this road is not very often hiked. But oh boy, how exciting it was: a massive and old beech tree met us once we were on top. So its leaves were to blame for covering the road for us.

The further road was extremely long and not so exciting. We got into one of the main ways to reach Scmilka as there was the ferry crossing Elbe. It went up and down, the backpacks started to weight more, feet got more tired, water ran dry. The last hundred meters were crucifying, as the road went steep down and big stones put there for the easier climb up were slippy and more disturbing than helpful. Tired and thirsty, but still rather early in the day we reached the village. It was packed with people but we still found a place at the spring to fill our bottles and wash our tired feet.

The other side progressed another not too short of a hike and it met us with a very short but extremely steel climb. We were already to done that we stopped talking and just slowly dragged ourselves up. I counted every step but lost the number after 500 stairs. The heat was not helping as well. Of course, our party had no real hats and once we reached the top, we had to cross open fields in the midday heat with the sun boiling our brains. Who took a scarf, who took a T-shirt but once something was on our heads, life became much better.

Reaching Schöna was hot and not fun at all, crossing it as well. Only fields and no shadow. When the forest was once more in the horizon we rushed there with the rest of our energy. Damn this road, there still was a distance to go until we could legally camp. We chose the quickest and the straightest way, put the rest of the will and hiked straight until it made us nauseous.

Finally the road turned and we were there! How happy we were but only until we realized that we still need to climb a little bit. The road was covered once more, yey. Second wave of tiredness reached us. One of us left the backpack and went for a scouting tour to find the road. Several minutes later we were happy once more after seeing our luxurious sleeping place. So much space, wonderful view and no one to share it with.

Next morning I kicked the boys out of sleeping bag at 4.30 in the morning – time to climb up and meet the sun. Grumpy and not so enthusiastic group packed the stuff, found the way up and was amazed by the sunrise. No one was there for kilometers. And if, most likely they were still sleeping and dreaming their 9th dream. It was absolutely worth every early minute of climb. Zschirnstein is one of the highest in the region and it opened the wonderful view over the Saxonian Swiss. Recommend it to anyone interested in panoramic views – it saved our not super nutritious or tasty breakfast.

We realized that we hiked through most of the park, we were tired and not very interested in further adventures anymore. After quick clean up we were rushing once more, this time for a train. The start was early and the train station was reached just before the lunch time. Counted the kilometers made – more than 60. Happy about the result we boarded the train and slept the tired sleep of our life.

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