by Logan Foote
With my multiple layers, -16 degree sleeping bag and a water proof tent I managed to get a good night sleep. I packed up all my gear and was back on the track around 8.30. This seems late but the days are short here during winter and it’s not wise to be walking around in the dark.
I made my way to the Bastei bridge, the most iconic site in the region. Built between sheer rocky cliffs 194m above the river Elbe with amazing views across Bohemian Switzerland and the German/Czech border. The sandstone bridge links the cliffs together and allows access to the Neurathen Castle, once the largest rock castle in Saxon Switzerland.
While walking around this impressive site I imagined what life would have been like back in those medieval times. A rather large catapult with huge rocks as its ammunition stood at the top, which suggests life would have been tough. Tough enough to build your castle/fort on top of the cliffs for protection.
I finally came across a fresh water stream so I could fill my water bottles. I was so thirsty and relieved. I trekked back up out of the forest, through a small town and along some open fields before heading back down again through some ancient looking cliffs with a stairway built through them. This allowed for a quicker descent but to only realize that the track leads back up along another steep trail.
At this stage my legs are burning and the heavy bag I believe is the culprit. ‘Harden up’ I tell myself and onwards I march.
The trail leads me to a little village perched up on top of a rocky plateau called Hohnstein. Very impressive from a distance and even more so close up, however I haven’t seen the “M” sign for a while.
The Malerweg is a very well signed trail but at times I have to guess which way to go. So far I have guessed correctly but this is not one of them. After making my way up into this town and about 1 hr walking back and forth searching for the sign I realize I have to walk back down to the last sign and try another route.
The map I have is laid out well, even waterproof but it doesn’t go into great detail with exact track directions. After taking a chance on another track and an hour of walking I came across the beloved “M” sign. I was very relieved.
So I have set up camp again, this time in the forest between two cliffs hidden away from the track. Time to eat and rest.