There’s always something about me. I’m either extremely moody, stressed out, exorbitantly overexcited or just plain weird, which is probably my normal state. When my significant other told me that perhaps I needed a little more physical activity to get my focus on track – maybe a little get-away for the weekend to create the necessary zen-state-of-mind – I already saw myself relaxing in a 5-Star Spa & Wellness Hotel. Wrapped in a cozy bathrobe, nibbling on a medium rare Filet Mignon, possibly sipping on Coconut Water.
Unfortunately, his proposal continued with “let’s go to Dresden and hike through the Saxon Switzerland National Park”. My joyful anticipation was gone in an instant, even though he was trying to make his idea more attractive by telling me that the bridge that was in “Grand Budapest Hotel” was there. But I can’t resist his cute puppy dog eyes, so I didn’t say no. We packed our stuff and left – it’s only a 1-2 hour short ride by either car or train from Berlin.
I didn’t know much about Dresden and the area around it. When I was in kindergarten there was a kid from Dresden that smelled weird, so I always thought that Dresden, as a whole, might smell weird. And then in high school I had a presentation about the Church of Our Lady. That’s basically the extent of my knowledge.
I agreed to this trip because, as everybody knows, I am not a friend of stereotypical thinking and I am constantly trying to be a better person and to become more enlightened (Editor’s note: ha ha ha).
The plan was simple: spending the first day in Saxon Switzerland and the second in the city center of Dresden. We grabbed a hiking guide and looked for the shortest trail that would include the Bastei von Dresden, a famous rock formation. The guide said that this trail would take 2 hours and include the Schwedenlöcher, valleys or holes between the mountains, on the way back to the Amselsee, where we were planning to start our tour.
When we arrived there, only equipped with cameras, protein bars and coconut water (at least I got something out of my initial wishful thinking), my first realization was that the air was definitely different than what we were used to in Berlin. I felt a bit dizzy. It’s been a while since I’ve inhaled so much clean oxygen, as opposed to the usual mixture of exhaust gas, grilled chicken and weed fumes.
If you’re already convinced enough to plan this trip for yourself, I have to tell you something: this area is unfortunately not an insider tip. Apparently, many other people had the same idea. So we hiked together with a bunch of strangers, on this long anticipated walk of liberation. A feeling of liberation was not in sight, though. The first part to the Bastei was supposed to „only“ take 30 minutes. Ten minutes after we’d taken off, I was already out of breath and terribly hungry. When I grabbed my first protein bar, my SO reminded me to enjoy the amazing view, which undoubtedly, I would’ve forgotten through all the pain and suffering. The world down there looked like a real life Sims Game.
After what felt like a gazillion of exhausting steps, we finally arrived at the bastion. Personally, I hadn’t noticed that we’d actually arrived until some of our new friends started taking pictures. My second realization was that next time, I have to take another trail to actually see the bastion.
We soon kept on hiking through the narrow gorge of the Schwedenlöcher, where we had to cross adventurous passages over ladders and big stones. This was my favorite part. Finally, my dreams of becoming a parkour runner were coming true.
And then there was a remarkable moment when we were finally alone and stopped for a moment, breathing and being aware of this incredibly beautiful environment. (We also made out quite intensively). The last time I felt like this was when I drove with a scooter through Hampi in India. There is nothing more to add about our trip to the Sächsische Schweiz: if you didn’t know, now you know.
Oh yeah, except for Dresden.
In retrospect I can really say that I enjoyed Dresden. It did not smell weird and I eventually also ate a really, really nice steak, but I think the pictures will speak for themselves.