Saxon Switzerland in Germany: High and low in distinguished footsteps
The word tourist trap screams in the ears, but places very many people seek out often offer experiences beyond the ordinary. This is the case with Bastei and the sandstone mountains of Saxon Switzerland in the southeasternmost Germany. This quirky tab of creation has inspired artists for generations. The dramatic formations are attached to works of art signed by the greatest name of art history, and rock climbing is done here since 1708. Then King Sachens - August challenged the strong, mountain Lilienstein. We can still admire the result today, three centuries later.
People with well-developed fear of heights can be short-breathed when the Bastei bridge and stairs in Bastei are to be accelerated, but it can also happen that the mighty experience removes the fear of heights and falls. The panoramic view of the Elbe in the valley floor makes it tickle the carcass. It is quite wrong to just have been standing on the river bank looking for colorful daredevils in climbing ropes and package tourists in flocks.
Bastei and sandstone formations are located in a national park of 710 square kilometers in the borderland with the Czech Republic. The parks provide usable armrests, even with seven million day tourists a year, when we catch up with the national park on the Czech side a sandstone throw away. It is cramped for the parking lot so here it is important to position itself early. Pedestrians and cyclists can sweat along 2200 kilometers of roads and paths, and the climbers have 21.000 routes to choose from.
Camping tourists who put paints or sketch blocks in the cargo hold should consider testing out Malerweg. This is a route of past creative souls to their love. Now it is upgraded to modern German standard. The route spans 112 kilometers just up the Czech border and, in the opposite way to idyllic Pirna, where the main attraction is the painting the vast Italian Canaletto painted by the town square.
In the national park, hikers will walk in the footsteps of, among others, composer Richard Wagner, our own giant among the world names of national romanticism - JC Dahl and the German rock-friend, Caspar David Friedrich. Wagner received inspiration for the opera "Lohengrin" in these surroundings. So here we stroll through the source of something big.
In the valley floor, alongside the Elbe, legendary Elbradweg runs. Asphalt alternates with gravel and on both sides of the river, which at intervals of years blows up to a devastating flood. Citizens and small towns are waiting for cycling or walking at regular intervals, and from footpath or bike seat it is allowed to reminisce about 10 million years ago when all this was submerged. Easy to understand that both painting and writing gained speed on brush and pen, and the geniuses also tended to enhance imagination and impressions with something strong from the picnic sacrifice.
Dresden is just 18 kilometers away from this mighty and diverse landscape. And halfway to Dresden lies Pirna with its beautiful city center. High above the square, Sonnenstein, a castle carrying a horrific chapter from the last war, kneels. Here, 13.720 people with various mental disorders and 1031 prisoners were taken off days. Here, the Nazi regime tested the effect of various lethal gases. Now parts of the castle are used for summer exhibitions, but the atrocities are not fortified.
Camping and bath
Just outside the city center of Pirna is an excellent campsite with a swimming lake close by. Pirna is excellently suited as a base for excursions in the national park, for trips with the old paddle steamer or expeditions to Dresden. And if the train ride goes to Dresden a rainy day, take a round through the Zwinger collections. Today's challenge can be to find the motifs the old masters brought with them from Bastei and the national park.
The Swiss inventions
Sächsische Schweiz - a strictly a strange name. It became hot so after a visit by two Swiss. "This landscape is similar to our native Switzerland," exclaimed two enthusiastic artists - Adrian Zingg and Anton Graff, exploring the landscape in 1766, according to reliable sources.
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