On our way to this park we stopped in Dresden and looked around downtown at a couple
of statues and a pottery shop, had lunch and left. Then we went to the town of Bad
Schandau on the Elbe River. About 4 km. up a side stream was a campground and we
set up our camp. It was late afternoon so we just bought a map of the park and planned
the next day's hikes.
The park is an area of sandstone buttes that jut up above the forest in spires and
columns. They are very spectacular.
But that night it started to rain! And it rained all day! We set up the chairs
inside the tent and watched the puddle grow on our doorstep. I had set the tent
up, as usual, on the higher ground, but it wasn't much higher.
This area has been a vacation/hiking/spa area for well over a hundred years. There
was an elderly tram that ran the eight kilometers from Bad Schandau to a resort hotel
up above us in the valley. We took the tram to town and walked around, got soaking
wet from the waist down, and had a beer. We bought some groceries and went back
to camp and hid out in the tent.
The following day, Saturday, dawned cloudy but dry. So we made our first hike. We
rode the tram to the end and walked up about three kilometers to the Kuhnstall, a
hole in the rock at the top of the hill. On the far side was a lookout terrace that
nothing! Just fog!
We climbed around on the various rocks using the staircases and steps that the park
had provided and went back down. We rode the tram the eight km. to town and it had
started to rain. We stopped for a beer, ate our lunch and went back to camp, again
soaked from the waist down. (We have raingear for the top half of our bodies.)
Sunday dawned blue skies and white fluffy clouds and we took the bike and headed
for the trailhead of our next viewpoint.
We hiked uphill for about five kilometers and then reached the steep part. There
were several ladders and stairs to climb. But the view was worth it. The panorama
picture at the top is at this point. Then we went down the other side of the mountain. In
many places the trail was a ladder or stairs down a crack between two huge sandstone
And then parts were just a ledge to walk on. An eroded sandstone ledge. This area
is definitely not handicap accessible but young and old were all hiking here.
We made it safely to the bottom and had lunch in a nearby beer garden and then went
to the last of our hikes.
This time it has a view of the Elbe River as well as the rocks. On the backside
this viewpoint was a medieval fortress long before it was turned into a tourist trap
Today is a sunny Sunday and everyone is out to look at the view. Where at this morning's
hilltop we had a few dozen people, here we have hundreds, thousands, there were eight
tour buses in the parking lot as well as all the cars. But this one is only one
kilometer on a paved road from the parking lot, not five kilometers of steep dirt
and gravel trail finishing with steel ladders that climb steeply out of sight. There
were ramps here as well as.....
this stone bridge built in 1797. The river is on the far side, way down below. The
trees beyond the bridge are on the other side of the river. Notice all the people!
This has been a great time, even with the rain, that got us off the bike and out
of the cities. We have walked more kilometers in the big cities but have not walked
this far in the country since the Cinque Terre in Italy last year where we walked
12 kilometers in one day over several steep hills (but no ladders).