Friday, 2 September 2016

T4rdis2 Tour 2 - Day 59 - 64 Germany

Day 59
Sunday 28th August 2016 Slightly cooler but still very warm and humid

The Mighty Danube
Not much to report for today because we spent most of it travelling from Passau in Bavaria to Lake Talsperre Pol in Saxony, a journey of about 210 miles and nearly all on the Autobahn. However, we did have the pleasure of criss crossing the mighty Danube several times, and it also allowed us to experience how some people drive at well over 100mph - which is allowed on German Motorways!  (It made us rock!)

We broke our journey a couple of times with stops for coffee and lunch, and T4rdis2 finally landed on a stellplatze right at the side of the Lake at about 4.30. Then it was cuppa time, and when that was drunk we decided it was to late to do much more than just stroll at the waters edge watching the numerous bathers. However, tomorrow we are planning a longer walk in the opposite direction, before we move on into the Saxony Silver Region later in the afternoon.

And finally, just after nightfall, we were treated to a lively light show from on high - the thunder roared and the lightening flashed across the sky making the interior of T4rdis2 light up like a beacon.  The rain also clattered loudly on the roof in a torrential downpour, but as this happened our interior temperature dropped and a lovely 18 degrees was reached - bliss!

Day 60
Monday 29th August 2016 - Much cooler under partially cloudy skies.

So off we set for our walk along the lake shore - and even though the weather was cooler, there were plenty of people taking a quick dip in the muddy looking water!  

As we strolled we came across this little character - you can imagine what I thought it was at first glance.

Next came Germany's answer to go ape - but there were no people swinging in the trees today!

And then eventually we crossed the massive dam, but when we continued on our way, we seemed to loose the plot and the waters edge and found ourselves walking along quiet roads that were really nothing special.  Also, by this time dark clouds were rolling in overhead so it looked as if we were in for a drenching, therefore we made the unanimous decision to about face and cut our walk a bit short - but too late - the rain caught us out anyway.  

However, the damp conditions didn’t prevent us from stopping off to watch fish from the dam railings - great big massive ones! So when I spotted a large black dorsal fin I nudged John and said Jaws had arrived, but he told me not to be silly and that they were probably only carp.   Either way  they  entertained us by jumping out to catch insects on the surface, and then nipping off to hide in the depths of the murky waters.

We arrived back at T4rdis2 a little earlier than expected, but this turned out to be a good thing, because after a quick lunch we set off for our next destination which was to be the town of Schneeberg which marks the start of the Saxon silver route.  T4rdis2 was soon settled on the towns Stellplatze, and as we had arrived earlier than planned, we had more time to explore the little mining town which is famous for it’s St Wolfgangkirche.   

However, the magnificent Cathedral that we saw there today wasn’t the original one from 1471. That one was funded by money from silver mining (a mineral that has been mined there since the 12th century), but it was totally destroyed on 19th April 1945 when it caught fire during a bombing raid by American planes.  Despite the devastation, the church stood for 3 more days before finally totally collapsing, but during that time the people of Schneeburg managed to rescue a large part of the alter and also the font, and these were reused when the Cathedral was rebuilt between 1948 and 1959 - thus the building that we viewed was nearly new!

We also took some time to do a little window shopping around the many art and crafts shops that line the main square of the town.  The wood carved figures and ornaments were beautiful and amazingly intricate, but we didn’t buy anything because we thought it might not survive the topsy turvy way of life we live in T4rdis2!

Day 61
Tuesday 30th August 2016 - Sunny but cooler at about 22 degrees

This morning we left Schneeberg and headed deeper into the Silver Route region to the town of Oberwiesenthal - a winter sports resort that is very close to the Czech border.  It sits at the bottom of Fichtelberg (mountain) whose slopes are littered with ski lifts, cable cars,  a toboggan run, and also 3 huge ski jumps (just like Ski Sunday on the telly)!  

Obviously, there’s no snow at the mo, but there are numerous hiking and biking trails, and the lifts are still in use ferrying people to the top of the hill.  So, now we have to make a decision as to what we’re going to do tomorrow - should we ride or should we walk - but as I had to leave my hired E-bike behind in the Czech Republic, and as the hills are quite BIG  I think the latter will win out - but that will be tomorrows story!

Day 62
Wednesday 31st August 2016 - A warm sunny day - ideal for a hike!

There were lots of hidey huts along
the way
We’ve not been hiking for quite a while, so we were a bit unsure as to how far we were going and how much we were going to climb, however as usual, John managed to pick out a route that was just right for us; it sloped gently upwards to start with, and at about 10 miles it was an ideal length to make us tired by the end, but not exhausted.  

So, we put on die wanderschuhe (German for hiking boots) and to start with we followed a track that led up through thick pine forests and headed towards The Black Lake where we thought we would be able to stop at a little picnic spot for coffee, but that was occupied by other hikers, and it wasn’t overly picturesque anyway.  

Therefore, we continued a little further until we came across a strange elevated bench - you had to climb up a small ladder and then you could sit overlooking a forested area - presumebly to spot wildlife.  Sadly, while we were there, nothing was stirring - not even a mouse - but it was quite novel being perched on high.

After our little rest we continued on our way and eventually we attained the summit of  Fichtelberg from where we saw a lot more of the Czech Republic - from one side we had uninterrupted views for many miles of that country, and from the other Germany was spread out below us.

The summit also provided a lovely lunch spot so we took a while to relax and soak it all in, and while we were there we got to admire some more of the wood carving that is so popular in this area.

Once lunch was finished we continued along more forested tracks, and we were just commenting on the lack of wild life when a black squirrel

(a close relative of the red I think) ran across our path, and we hadn’t gone much further when we spotted another one as well.

Then, following another break, we started to head for home, and as we were a bit foot sore by this time, we were both quite glad the terrain was mostly downhill - maybe 10 miles is the ideal distance for us.

Day 63
Thursday 1st September 2016 - Sunny but with occasional partial cloud.

First, Happy anniversary to me - it’s a year ago today since I retired!

This morning we left our lofty perch at Oberwiesenthal and headed, via a very round about route to another mining town called Freiberg, and sadly, it was here that T4rdis2 had a little altercation!  We easily found the Stellplatze with the aid of ‘Tommy-sat-nav’, but the entrance width was reduced because a lorry had parked adjacent to it.  

However, not a problem we thought, and we were very nearly through when ‘Crunch’ a small post jumped out into our path resulting in our rear near side light unit becoming partially detached from the rest of the van.  Now, our light unit starts at the bottom and rises right up to the top corner, so the damage looked quite bad and resulted in a slight blue-ing of the air.  But on closer inspection, and with the aid of a good shove and a couple of self tapping screws, T4rdis2 was soon looking nearly as good  as new, but we did need one or two more bits to complete the repair, which we were hoping we could find in the town.  

As you would imagine, the above had subdued our day a bit, so later in the afternoon, when we set of to see Freiberg’s sights, and do our bit of shopping, we probably didn’t take our usual  enthusiasm  for exploration with us.  Our guide book had advised that most of the old town had been renovated and had many historic buildings, the gem amongst them being the Dom St Marien - a Gothic Cathedral from the 15th Century.

However, we only admired it from the outside, and we spent the rest of our time strolling around the winding cobbled streets were we found a shop that supplied us with super glue, silicone filler and a gun!  Then our footsteps turned homeward to complete the necessary repairs.

Super Hero Grandad fixed it again!

Once back at T4rdis2 cosmetic surgery was quickly completed and it looked much better than using gaffa tape!  On close inspection you can see a small crack and we’ve lost our rear side running light, but apart from that, everything else seems to be  working fine, and the cost of the do-it-yourself repair was minimal!

Next, we discussed what we should do with our evening to prevent the day from being a dead loss, and we decided to kill 2 birds with one stone. I had quite wanted to see the inside of the Cathedral, because amongst other things it contains 2 Baroque organs made by Gottfried Silbermann, and an ancient 'tulip' font!

So, knowing that there would be an organ recital this evening we had an early tea (7pm - very early for us), and arrived at our venue just in time to buy tickets and get settled.

The inside of the Cathedral was quite magnificent, and as the music of Bach and Mozart rattled around it's arches, it was really quite magical. However, the people were quite strange, and it all seemed to be taken very seriously - no clapping in between pieces, and in the deathly silence you could almost have heard a pin drop. At the end of the performance the artist popped his head over the balcony to take a bow, and after the audience had shown their appreciation, he indicated he would do an encore so I asked John 'is this was the bit where everyone waves flags and joins in with the singing'! We both found that quite funny resulting in a little mirth and giggling as the next piece of sombre music resounded around us! It also earned us a few grim looks and some shaking of heads, and these became even grimmer cos we didn't 'pay' to get out! There were 2 ladies waving collection bags under our noses - but as we had already paid to get in we just made a very quick exit!

Day 64
Friday 2nd September 2016 - Another hot sunny day.

Today's destination was to be Struppen, a small village in an area known as The Saxon Switzerland, a title related to a gorge cut into the Lusatian mountains by the River Elbe. Our guide book informed us that the area is 'wonderfully wild' with stunningly bizarre rock formations, gardens, castles and lots of cycling opportunities, so we're planning to stay for several days.

On the way we stopped off at Grobseditz - a vast Baroque estate with sculptured grounds, lots of statues and a magnificent house, and despite the fact that major renovation work was in progress, the gardens and flower beds were a lovely site to behold.

Then it was on to our next Stellplatze which turned out to be a proper little gem. The owner doesn't speak much English, but he took the time to tell us specifically what we should go and see, he provided a map, told us how to get there and even how long it was likely to take - it's amazing how much information can be exchanged with just a few words and lots of gesticulations.

So we dutifully did as he suggested, and headed for Kliner Barenstein - Kliner means little, but with over 200 steps and lots of upward slopes, I can assure you it was anything but! However, it really was well worth the effort. First we climbed through ancient woodland, and then we came to numerous pock marked sandstone rock formations and rock falls, and from there our path continued up to the summit from were we were treated to stupendous vistas over the surrounding landscape.
John thought he could see
a dinosaur face here but I couldn't
quite make it out!

After we had caught our breath and drank in all we could of the views we started on our return journey, which was much easier, so it didn't take us too long before we found ourselves sitting outside T4rdis2 in the warm evening sunshine sipping nice ice cold beers!

Over the next few days we will explore this area further, and as usual, I'll let you know how we get on! So for now, goodbye and take care.

PS. Get well soon Val and make sure you take it easy! xxx