Monday, May 1, 2017

Sächsische Schweiz

Once I had recovered from the very long bus trip the previous day me and my host family set off. We were headed for a region called 'Saxony Switzerland' (Sächsische Schweiz). This region is located in the east of Germany, it also has borders with the Czech Republic and Poland, it mainly consists of forest and farmland. However, this region is not typically flat like some other parts of Germany, it varys from flat land to mountain ranges along the eastern side of the state. 
On the Saturday we arrived and wasted no time so we drove straight to Sächsische Schweiz National park where we went to a very famous bridge called Bastei. The Bastei is a rock formation towering 194 metres above the Elbe River in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains of Germany. Reaching a height of 305 metres above sea level, the jagged rocks of the Bastei were formed by water erosion over one million years ago. They are situatad near Rathen, not far from Pirna southeast of the city of Dresden, and are the major landmark of the Saxon Switzerland National Park. They are also part of a climbing and hiking area that extends over the borders into the Bohemian Switzerland (Czech Republic).
On Sunday it was decided that we were going to go on a hike to the Schrammstein mountains region. We started this walk in the town where we were staying, Bad Schandau. Very early on in the walk it got steep very quickly and I soon realized that 15kms of this kind of terrain was not going to be easy, after a few breaks and lots of photos we entered the actual national park. (before then we were walking along alpine pastures and the occasional forest). First of all let me say that this was by far the most beautiful place I've been in Germany so far, if you can picture a mixture of very open pine forests mixed in with large round rock formations in amongst them. 
When we reached the actual base of the Schrammstein mountains, we had a quick break and then prepared for the literal climb up. I was completely shocked just to see how hard core this track was, I'm pretty sure I spent more time climbing ladders up rock faces that on the ground for this part. Once we finally made it to the top I very quickly realized that it was completely worth it, the view is absolutely amazing so much, so words can't really describe it. I will attach some photos so you all can have a look.  Overall I would HIGHLY RECOMMENDED doing this hike if you are ever in the area. 
On the Monday (it was a long weekend) we packed up early and got ready to leave. The plan for today was to drive through the Czech Republic and Poland then back to Germany, then home. We left Bad Schandau for the Czech Republic. It took us about 10 min to get to the border, then we just drove through forest in the Czech Republic, although it was still very beautiful, then we crossed back into Germany, then Poland. The first thing that I noticed was that there were a lot of very old buildings that had a lot of add ons and cement added to make them more stable. My host father later told me that most of them were left like that after the war and a lot were never completely rebuilt. But overall it was a very nice place. (by Connor)

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