Two Modern Gypsies

The National Park of Saxon Switzerland Eastern Germany

The National Park of Saxon Switzerland is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. It stretches between Pirna in the Eastern Germany and the Czeck border. We found a really cool hiking-trail, the Sandstone Mountains Malerweg which is supposed to be one of the most picture friendly hiking-trails in Germany. Of course we had to check it out. And look at the bridge and the mountains in our pictures. Isn’t it just fantastic?

After Berlin we were eager to get out of the city to hike and climb. As mentioned we had found a really cool place in the Eastern Germany, and planned to spend a little more time here. We found a nice campsite, Camping-Stellplatz Struppen, on a top of a hill in a small village outside Pirna (30 minutes from Dresden). This place really fulfilled our expectations. And we would strongly recommend it.

Malerweg – Bastei Bridge

The Malerweg trail stretches 112 km through the Saxon Switzerland Nationalpark. You can walk the whole trail or just parts of it as we did. We chose the stage to Bastei, a sandstone rock formation reaching a height of 305 km above sea level. Not only is this rock formation truly fascinating to watch, there is also the sandstone bridge, Bastei Bridge to photograph and catch your eye on. Obviously this is also a background image on Window computers. Understandable! 

From our campsite it was approximate 3 km by bike to Rathen, a small place beside the Elbe river and in the beginning of the path to Bastei. We had to park our bikes and cross the river on a float over to Rathen (2 Euros per person, with a return), here we continued by foot. When we finally reached the «summit» we treated ourselves with beer, which tasted really great in the heat.

The rock formation Bastei & The Bastei Bridge

Bouldering in Bahratal, almost!

On the next day, Miriam had to do some work and we needed to have a relaxed start after a long hike the day before. We had read about a nice bouldering area, Bahratal, on the internet and found it on 27 crags.

We got really stoked when we saw the crag and there were chalk on the rocks, which indicated that people had been climbing here. Suddenly a man with a rifle came towards us. He seemed very friendly, but he spoke to us in German which we don’t understand. He tried to explain by his hands and some international words. We understood some of it, something about fire and police. Christoffer pointed at the rock and asked if we could climb there and his answer was, no, no, no – schnell, schnell (means: hurry / quick / fast), polizia and a sign with his hands indicating handcuffs.

All we understood was to get away, but it was really frustrating not to understand what this was about. On the way back we actually saw a police car coming, and we also saw a boulderer who parked close to us, disappear quickly. We did some research and found an old blogpost about some issues between the forest guards and the police and climbers. We emailed some people we found who had written about this crag and asked if it’s forbidden to climb here. They just answered that the police had nothing to do with it and we should go and boulder and have fun. We guess that this case have to be unsolved, too bad we didn’t understand the forest guard. Our conclusion was that it is very dry in the forest, and fire can spread really fast, which is why they don’t want people around.

Kleiner Bärenstein

We were really disappointed when we were shown away. That was a heavy teasing, staying at the crag and not be able to climb. We ended up taking our bikes to Kleiner Bärenstein close to our campsite. Here we found a path in the forest leading to a really cool formation of rocks. Similar to the rocks from the day before. There were also a great view over the valley. It turned out to be a very nice afternoon after all, with a beautiful scenery in the sunset.

Bad Schandau & Kuhstall

Bad Schandau is a small town on the edge of the Saxon Switzerland National Park. The town is very cozy and we spent some time just walking around here. From this town there is a little tram, the Kirnitzschtal tramway, which takes you to the Lichtenhain Waterfall, and Kuhstall, a large natural arch in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains (30 minutes to walk from the waterfall). The Waterfall was dried out, so it was nothing to see for us, but we took the tram and then the hike to Kuhstall, which was really great. For information, this is also a part of the Malerweg trail. 

Camping-Stellplatz Struppen

Great location for hiking. You can reach the most famous part of the Malerweg trail by bike and hike (bikes are recommended). We were really satisfied with this place.

  • We thought about staying closer to Pirna, but we’re really happy about this campsite.
  • The facilities were really great. Nice and clean all the time. 
  • The campsite was cheap, even in the high season. You have to pay for shower (1 Euro coins), electricity and water (10 cents coins). Still, for us it ended up being very cheap. 
  • Friendly staff, they don’t speak English at all, but managed to give us information about the trails we wanted to go. 

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