Over the Rocks this Summer

It's just two days now. My feet is no more sore. Nor are my palms swollen. Nor do my eyes see such greenness everywhere anymore. I miss the Rainforest and the metal ladders already. 

Every year my Summer, is different. My first year in Germany was filled with amazement towards my first snow (a surprise trip to Switzerland), the second with a refreshing dip in lake, the third a cycling trip, last year a mini hike to the peak of a small mountain range close to my place, and now, I'm more calorie-conscious and fitter I'd say. Hehe. Maybe it's the recent gym membership effect, or to maintain the compliment 'oh, you always look just like in college', or if it's really my thought to stay healthy: well, whatever - as long as it keep me in good vibes. 

A walk along the Malerweg:

S and I are completely free this summer holidays - as in no office, no guests, no pre-planned long trips, and lots of relaxation. One afternoon after work, S just like that asked "Hey, why don't we go on a hiking trip, just us, just 2 days". Peeked with interest, we started our pre-trainings every Saturday : beginning small and gearing up to 23 km per day. Like always, S did all the planning and he came up with Malerweg - Germany's most picturesque hiking trail. Seems painters, poets and musicians sought inspiration through the landscapes along these routes to make timeless works, that the trail was named the Malerweg. Go have a look on Google na? Breathtaking panoramas, never-eneding bizzare rocky landscape, dense foliage  - is just too beautiful and a total distance of a whooping 112kms. But  then, there are like eight different daily stages: each ranging 11 to 18 kilometers in length. Best part was that we can start and end the hike, from any of the stages, or also walk in either direction. Booking our accomodation for the next night and clipping our backpacks, we decided to start off the next morning : to do a half and one full stage per day : so totally three stages, which was doable <or so we thought!> So come, read on and walk with me - it will be worth it!

Day 1: Bad Schandau - Bastei- Amselfall- Hockstein - Hohnstein - Altendorf

It was a fresh morning. With upbeats and blue skies, we drove up to a place called Bad Schandau, close to Dresden, where we safely parked our Audi for the next two days. From there, we had to take the S-bahn, and then a Ferry (which had an entry fee of 1- it starts its engine, turns 180 degrees and there, you reach the other side of the river :D) to start our walk from Rathen! Yay! 

The first stopover was at Bastei some 193m high : one of the famous insights along the trail. I had already been here twice, but directly upto the top with the car, so I was all excited to climb up. Just like every other hike, I was super tired in the first uphill walk, panting and taking breaks, but soon caught up with the good pace. The pathway was surrounded by tall trees, dried foliage and stairs made of barks of wood, making it easier to have a grip on the ground. The views were breathtaking, here - a fantastic view of the Elbe river, Elbe valley and the distant sandstone mountains right into Bohemian Switzerland: all getting better, as you keep going over higher and higher viewpoints. 

Particularly there was a panoromic route that ran past ruins from an ancient castle and over deep ravines all along secure footbridges, where we had to pay a small entry free. Know what? They had huge walls set up, so you just cant see them from the outside (how thoughtful :D), keeping its charm discreet and intact.  

And then comes the downhill right? Happily hopping our way, we reached the bottom only to walk parallel to an opaque greenish Amselsee. And oh, forgot to tell you, I am always fascinated to see fauna- of any sort, especially on trips. I wasn't sure if there would be anything new, especially because this was a walking path (and it's safer to not run into bears or foxes in the jungle), just then there was a bright blue (no, not a butterfly) dragonfly that caught our eyes : so bright, so luminescent and so different. Being different, isn't always bad is it? :) After my fruitless efforts to capture it in my camera, we continued walking along - watching people enjoying the boatride on the lake. 

Further down the road was the Amselfall, a small waterfalls, that looked absolutely a stunner - just like a typical Rainforest wallpaper. There was a gush of water every 5 to 10 minutes, creating a show on its own - with broken logs, lush green leaves, bright sun and a flaunting rainbow everytime the water flows - all with a dine-in experience. We just couldn't leave this place! Reluctantly, we continue walking in the direction of Hockstein. Our spirits soon lifted up, as the scenery was now completely different : large maize fields, beautiful lavender meadows and flowered porches of lovely villages. No green at all.

Stamping past dried oaks and pine cones, we climbed over the steps of the Wolfschlucht gorge, to see the wonderful view down into the 115m deep valley. By now we were draining of energy - desperately motivated by the sheer fact to reach the top of Hockstein. Luckily we found a resting spot, just on top - we recharged ourselves with a chicken sandwich, some milchbrötchen and some orange juices. The view was spectacular, with its fresh breeze and overlooking valley. Recharged, we began to descend the 800 steps (yeah, 800!!) into the Tiefen Grund gorge. The backdrop of the steps reminded me of the Guna caves, although I was fascinated by the amazingly sturdy steel stairs and wondering how they could even construct one at such a location in the first place! It was so narrow that S and I had to go one after the other, with the sunlight cutting its way as a thin streak through those massive rocks. Somehow we knew that the farther you go down, the same height you may have to climb up again :D 

It was't therefore very surprising when we reached a beautiful village, a calm river and half-woody houses at the end of the cave path, only for the navi to ask us to hike up a hill beside! We somehow took breaks and climbed up, totally exhausted by the time we reached Brand. Because of the unforgettable view of the Polenztal valley below and the table mountains, the Brand was already a popular destination for artists over 200 years ago. We stumped on the guesthouse, which is still in business since 1830 itseems, lured us just like every other walkers back in the days. "Let's book a place here and stay here for tonight" we thought. Just before we could book our stay there, we asked the receptionist "How far is Altendorf from here?" (our booked accomodation was in Altendorf) "One...one and half hours by walk" came the reply. We checked our clocks, it was close to 5pm. "I think we can make it" we decided together, and started walking. Little did we know how far we had to go!

Giving a look over the shoulders of the panoramic view, we took two steps at a time climbing down the hill. Light was beginning to face - predominantly because of the dense vegetation in the mountain, waters flowing making it also a bit cold, fallen trees and the sheer silence -uhmm, I.. was actually starting to feel a little scared. <A tensed me glanced at the watch, "6:45 pm">. Halfway down the altitude deviated another short uphill, filled with thick plants, insects flying around and patchy grounds. "We can do this, we are almost there" S tried to cheer me up. Pushing ourselves literally we came downhill to be overjoyed to see the board pointing Altendorf. Yay! Just one more ascend and we would be home! Cheerfully we stooped our hiking sticks into the soils, jerking us upward and into the flatlands at last!! We were dead as a zombie, walking 29.2 km for 9 hours draining us completely. Delighted to have made it on time, we hurried and checked in first thing (as Altendorf had only one restaurant which closes at 10pm). The house lady was kind enough to provide us with all that we needed for the night plus a delicious breakfast for the subsequent morning. Unleashing our backpacks for the day, we strolled around the town, relaxing ourselves at the restaurant, which had a marvelous terrace view, giving our feet a rest atlast, cos we deserved it :) 

Day 2:

It was a new day. Trickles of raindrops woke us up. Surprisingly, .....

To be continued ...

Comments

  1. Wow .... 115 m deep valley. Looking down must have been scary.
    Waiting for the continuation of day 2.

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    1. Thank you :) Day 2 is up - check it out!

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