Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rathen day trip Nov 7th - Saxon Switzerland

We have been trying to make the most of our year in Germany so we took a day trip to Kurort Rathen Germany, known as the sächsische Schweiz or “Switzerland of Saxon”. David had planned out the trip with 3 stops; Rathen, Königstein, and Bad Schandau. The first and last are hiking areas and Königstein is a castle. The bad thing is that we liked the first stop so much that we didn’t have time others; the good thing it’s only a 45 minute train ride (20 Euros) so it’s really easy to get there and we will go again, perhaps next weekend even.


Dresden Haupfbahnhof (main train station), about a mile walk from our apartment:

Ferry to cross the river:
The hills we are going to hike up, to the Bastei:


Town at the foot hill:

Path through the valley, including a stand with coffee and Pommes for Noah.

Hiking....
David looking over an overlook:
View:
Valley away from the River:

Family:

Highest look out, looking toward Bad Schandau and the Czech Republic (about 6 miles from here):


David at an overlook, one of my better pictures of David:

The Bastei in the background (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastei):

Another shot of the Bastei (can you see liss? how about David and Noah?)
Chilling out:

Enjoying a Glühwein (translates to glow wine, its warm wine with spices, kinda like winter beer); David and my new favorite drink:
Waiting for the ferry, the mesa in the distance is part of the Czech Republic.

Schloss on the hilltop, taken from the Ferry:

Waiting for the train:
View of the Bastei from the Train:

3 comments:

  1. Keith we are headed to Dresden in July and wanted some of you tips on Saxon Switzerland...would you take train? ferry...which stop would you get off at or would you do multiple stops?

    Thanks,
    Brian@tenczadesigns.com

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  2. Sorry i am bit slow at replying i didn't have an alert set up when someone comments (now i do) and just noticed your comment.


    I would definitely take the train. The best way to do this is to take the S1 (S-Bahn = suburban railways) from the Dresden HBF or Neustadt Bahnhof to the Kurort Rathen stop (for the Bastei). The direction of the S-Bahn is Bad Schandau, so the train will say Bad Schandau. On the way back it will say Dresden HBF. A train leaves every 30 minutes from all the stops. I think it is best to get an all day family ticket or small group; this should be about ~25 euros (not sure but I remember that it is relatively cheap) at most and covers 5 people, no need to reserve ahead of time you can get the tickets at the station from a machine. With this ticket you can get on and off as much as you wish. One thing to know about is you will need to cross the river on a ferry to get to the Bastei and Bad Schandau, you can try to use your S-Bahn ticket for some of these crossings (depends if it is affiliated with dbbahn, I don’t remember, if not they sell tickets on the ferries for like a euro or two, you obviously want to get the roundtrip tickets.


    The Saxon Switzerland is big area that covers 3 popular destinations; Bastei (Kurort Rathen stop), Fortress of Königstein (Königstein(Sächs Schw) stop), or Bad Schandau (Bad Schandau stop). These areas are very popular that time of year so you may want to go on a week day if possible or early in the morning as I have heard the ferry gets a little backed up and there might be a lot of people on the trails.


    You can take a ferry but it would take a real long time, I am guessing that it would take like 4 hours to get there and 3 to get back and you have to pick your travel times for each leg. A better thing to do is if you want to ride the ferry to go to Schloss Pillnitz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillnitz) and back, makes a nice half day trip. I believe the ferry will take 2 hours to get there and 1.5 hours back (the river has a fast current) and although the castle is not as impressive as say Moritzburg, it does have some very nice gardens and a great beer garden.

    Hope this helps,

    Keith

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