09 September 2009

Sächsische Schweiz August 2009

Oh, people, I have to tell you about finally going to the Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland). It was simply lovely.

As a reward to myself for having turned in my thesis, I drove with the Austins to Schöna (the "schön" part means "pretty"), and we were a bit early. Then, because a semi fell off a bridge, we waited several hours for the key to the cabin (everyone was sleeping there, though I had planned to sleep outside). We ended up starting a fire and roasting Bratwurst, which worked out beautifully and kept us distracted. I was dealing with a lot of neck, shoulder, and back pain, so Sister Austin kindly gave me a massage for a bit. I slept outside on top of the picnic table. Aaron considered it, but decided against it, so I was alone under a star-filled sky. I tried to stay awake as long as possible to see a lot of shooting stars, but I was so tired. I think my final count was 4.

The next morning, we took a ferry across the Elbe river to Schmilka, from which we could see Czech Republic five minutes down the road. There were numerous trails winding through the forest, and we took a lot of them.

My back was in really bad shape, which made every step painful. I relied a lot on a stick I'd picked up along the way. Luckily, one of the girls with us is a nurse who has been dealing with back pain. She gave me some salve and pain killers at lunchtime as well as some advice on how to hold my back (and about my upcoming surgery), which made the best part possible--we climbed straight up rocky crags on metal re-bar that had been pounded into the rock and leapt over crevices. (Funny story: this kid behind me assumed I needed help at one point and put his hands right on my bum. I yelped and practically jumped up to the next bar. I said, "DON'T DO THAT!" He apologized and said he thought I needed help, and I said, "I'LL TELL YOU IF I NEED HELP!" He kept apologizing and everyone kept laughing at me. Later, he asked Antje if she needed help. She instantly said, "NO!!!" and then we all started laughing again.)

The views were amazing (yay for something not completely flat!), and I thought of Amy, Paul, and all their rock-climbing family and friends. They would love this place. There was even a small arch.

One guy had glasses and a long walking stick, so I named him "The Blind Wanderer" and took pictures of him standing next to cliffs. Ha ha. I got to know a really nice girl named Katharina who is starting to study to be a nurse. After hiking for a good seven hours or so, we went back to the cabin, and the Austins and I left. They showed me Bad Schandau, a nearby town with an enormous health treatment center (Germans have this thing called "Kur" where their insurance pays for them to go to a spa-like place for a few weeks and get healthy), buildings with markings of how high the last Elbe flood was, and a good Döner shop owned by a man the Austins had talked to many times over their mission.

Here are some pictures for your enjoyment. I hope you can see how beautiful it was.


  1. That looks beautiful! How fun! Side note: you should update on whether or not they accept you into one of those spas (I don't know if that's the best way to phrase my question).

  2. AHH! I'm trying to go on a study-abroad there!!!

  3. Nice that you loved your stay. More about beautiful Saxon Switzerland (in English)you will find on my blog http://saxonswitzerland.wordpress.com/