I’m not down that many pints, incase you’re wondering. Perhaps I’m high on the mystical landscape that surrounds me. I could never have guessed that eastern Germany’s best-kept travel secret would be Saxon Switzerland, in the state of Saxony.
The landscape changes dramatically in the half hour train ride from Dresden. The city’s colorful suburbs change into forestry green monotones, often teasing me with vantage points of a beautiful valley below. But nothing prepares me for the grandeur of the sandstone mountains that arise out of the greens. I stare at them a little longer to ensure they’re not just figments of my imagination.
It is said that the Swiss artists who discovered these bizarre structures thought the landscape resembled their hometown in Switzerland. Hence the name Saxon Switzerland. Though known by the locals as the Elbe mountains, it’s hardly a mountain range in the traditional sense. Sandstone structures jut out of everywhere among the dense forest, sometimes resembling the fingers of a giant, sometimes a tall row of statues, and sometimes a crowd of hood-wearing dwarfs. I’m convinced I could see any shape in them if I stared hard enough.
I look below at the mighty river Elbe, flowing in circles around the sandstone structures; a kind of watery halo. I look beyond at the village of Stadt Wehlen that lies across it, basking in its seclusion. A part of me is nervous; if I’m ferried across the river, will I dampen the intriguing beauty of this land?
The baffling landscape reminds me of Halong on Land in Vietnam. I’m immediately consumed with a desire to touch the Elbe and be engulfed by their isolation. I set out on a steep 2-hour hike up to the Bastei bridge, through thinly cut steps amid autumn leaves strewn under giant trees. At a height of 305 meters from right inside the highest of the Elbe, I’m able to see the tiny villages of Stadt Wehlen, Kurort Rathen & Konigstein and the curves of the Elbe river. A strong breeze tricks me into thinking that I could fly out of the Elbe, over the river, and into the sunset.
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.
I have never been to this area – or even heard of it. hanks for the tip and the gorgeous photos.
Thanks for dropping by 🙂 You should definitely visit, it’s gorgeous!
Wow, it looks beautiful, and almost surprising – to see sandstone structures suddenly in between all the greenery!
Also, loved the pic with the bridge crossing in between the sandstone ‘mountains’!
p.s. Although unrelated to this post, but since you mentioned it, I absolutely loved Dresden when our group stopped there for a couple of hours! It’s beautiful!
Thanks Abhijit. The pictures hardly do justice!
Absolutely, I barely spent much time in Dresden but I loved what little I saw of it. I’d love to go back there too 🙂
Shivya…you are living a dream right now 🙂
I am, Dev 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Love the pictures particularly the one with the house overlooking the water with the mountains behind the background. That can be my dream home. Thanks for sharing.
It really can. The image is lodged in my head, so serene and inviting. Hope the dream comes true 🙂
Wow! Picture are indeed beautifully taken. Dad told me Germany is one heck of a place. I’ll love to stalk it sometime. 😛
Thanks Prateek 🙂 And your dad’s right. It’s an amazing place and sure to surprise you. Stalk it sooner than later!
Great article. Loved the title 🙂
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Having lived in the area at one time I’m surprised I didnt know about it. Thank you for this!
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Amazing place love the pictures
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