Bastei - Anchors Aweigh!

Trip Start Mar 26, 2010
1
7
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Trip End Apr 04, 2010


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Flag of Germany  , Saxony,
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The ship had been anchored in Decin (De-chin) instead of Melnik because of high water levels, so today we pulled up anchor and set sail for Bad Schandau around 10:30am. Bad Schandau was set up as a spa town ('bad' meaning 'bath' in German) because of a high mineral deposit in the water. After about a half hour we crossed the border from Czech Republic to Germany. Not that borders matter in Europe. A bunch of European countries recently signed a treaty that basically dissolved the borders between the countries so that it's more like traveling in the States. From one country to the next, you don't have to get your passport out, papers checked, nothing. Smooth sailing.

Bad Schandau itself is small, but beautiful. The houses, the churches, everything was charming. The planned shore excursion, however, was for the Bastei rock formation. After my light lunch (without Ms Jones) I contemplated on what to do: rocks or town? I decided to forgo the rocks and go with the town. How interesting could rocks be? However I never saw Ms Jones long enough to say 'I'm doing the town' so I met up with her at the bus thinking that perhaps I was wrong about the rocks.

I wasn't. Turns out, no matter where you go, rocks are rocks. I mean, they're impressive and everything, but...they're rocks. Our tour guide had a heavy German accent that was very exuberant and seemed thrilled to tell us everything we never wanted to know about this small town and rocks and other things. You know what I found out about myself is that if you put me on a bus long enough, I will fall asleep. I've had uncomfortable naps on buses these last few days, but they make the ride seem shorter, and sometimes the rides are uncomfortable anyway and it's hard to take decent pictures out of a bus window. Solution? SLEEP.

Bastei is really just a national park. We drove through the woods for awhile (I don't remember which woods they were) and parked in a clearing. We walked past a few buildings and came to a platform where we had a magnificent view of the rock formation. And I will admit, they were impressive. There were some rock climbers that reached the top of the formation as we were looking at the rocks, but after five minutes I was ready to move on. Our guide took us to  another part of the platform and showed us another view of the surrounding countryside, which I found more beautiful. The winding river (not the Elbe), the tiny towns, the houses here and there, and the sun shining made for a very pretty picture.

Those who wanted to could follow our guide further on to the rocks, but I couldn't have cared less. So I wandered around the giftshops, where I found more souvenirs that said 'Dresden' than Bastei. As Dresden was the next day's stop, I didn't bother buying anything. More walking around, down these steps, up these steps, until I finally decided that I'd make my way back to the bus. I wound up walking back with a guy from our group and we talked for awhile until we got to the bus. We still had 40 minutes left, and after thinking quickly I decided to go off the beaten path into a different part of the woods. My new Mary Jane style shoes probably hate me, but I was wearing them through my trek in the woods and they held up pretty well. It was muddy in some areas and there wasn't always a path, but it was fun. I stretched that out for as long as possible and then went back on the bus, where Ms Jones was waiting and wondering where I had been.

Almost immediately after arriving back at the ship we were told the ship was departing for Dresden. Leaving me no time to explore the adorable town of Bad Schandau. Lesson learned? When there's a choice between rocks and a town, go with the town. Always go with the town...
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