During my recent short stay in Dresden last month I took advantage of a transport card of the region to get out of the city and discover the Saxony region.
As I told you in my last article on Dresden, I fell under the spell of little the Florence on the Elbe… The end of the day by the river was not without reminding me a little bit of the feeling of our second adopted city, I named Vienna.
Just as in Vienna we liked to walk along the Danube, here too I decided to follow the Elbe a little bit to see what the surroundings of the city had to offer.
Getting to Bastei and Meissen
It was early in the morning when I set off. Well yes, I only had one day and it was impossible to decide whether to go down along the Elbe to reach Bastei or go up towards Meissen. In short, being lousy at making choices, I decided to try to do both in one day! 😉
And believe me, for someone who really hates waking up early, it wasn’t easy to make such a decision. But what do you want, Dresden was my first solo trip. Usually it’s Benoit who pulls me out of bed in the morning, but there I was all alone. Time to act like an adult, and listen to the little voice in my head that told me “The future belongs to those who get up early”.
So I’m not ready to make it a motto of life yet, but if I wanted to see Meissen and Bastei in 1 day I had better leave my bed early…
Meissen, Dresden Basin
Only 30 minutes by train from Dresden to Meissen. And it’s crazy because when you leave the Neustadt you quickly find yourself in the German countryside. The landscapes immediately give a completely different impression than the lively and dynamic city of Dresden.
Arriving at Meissen station, I confess I was a little confused. The station is ugly, and the surroundings are not much more glorious. But by taking only a few steps I found myself next to the Elbe facing the old town on the other side of the shore…
I was glued to this perfect postcard image for many minutes. It was just so “cliché”, this castle by the water, the magnificent houses with their orange roofs that reflect in the Elbe.
The slightly “postcard” aspect of that day only got worse when I decided to go up to the castle. As I was in the little street that was climbing the hill, there was a noise coming from across the street. A horse-drawn carriage was coming in the opposite direction. And a group of senior citizens obviously on an excursion listened to typical German music…
I admit I laughed, laughed to be suddenly in what could have been a scene from a movie. But I loved it!
The rest of my morning? I simply walked through the narrow streets that lead up to the castle. Of course I didn’t miss the traditional coffee break on the terrace! 😉
The Meissen Porcelain Museum
I’m going to make a confession. I am frankly not a good candidate for museums, my “artistic” fibre is almost non-existent and I must admit that my taste for the old is quite relative. In short, not really the best predispositions to go and see a porcelain museum, huh! But here we are, in Meissen there is THE porcelain museum, the unmissable of the region. So, driven by a surge of documentation for my dear readers, I put aside my a prioris and went for a walk. And I am glad I did!
The Meissen Porcelain Museum is extremely well made! The whole exhibition is based on the idea of a journey that leads the visitor through the different stages of production. The turner who creates the part and then the different “cooking” stages. Then comes the moment of the sculpture and the engravings. The last step is painting, finishing and varnishing.
An interesting museum on porcelain (I swear this is true)
Frankly, the technique totally bluffed me! It’s a shame, but I really didn’t imagine that everything was done by hand. And even less so that these super regular and perfectly contoured drawings were simply the result of an expert and very stable hand! No templates, no printing! Just incredibly talented people who handle the brush with crazy dexterity!
For me porcelain was a fragile dishware. Something that is not dishwasher safe and the designs are perfectly suited to my grandmother’s living room. But not for my home.
So one thing is for sure: I’m still not ready to invest the value of a round the world trpi to offer myself a tea set (Yes, I do, I swear that services like that exist! The proof in image below…)
But the next time I have coffee with my grandmother, I will probably take another look at her tea set. 🙂
- Train from Dresden Neustadt and the centre: Train S1 in the direction of Meissen..
- Train fare : day ticket for the whole network 13,5€.
Good deal : If you travel with several people, there are “group” day passes at 28€ for the whole network (valid for up to 5 people)
- Entrance to the porcelain museum : 9€
- Opening times : open every day from 9am to 6pm (9am to 5pm in winter)
The Bastei Bridge, the Saxon Switzerland
I didn’t know anything about Bastei before I went there. But I had seen the picture of this suspension bridge passing through the middle of mountains erected like peaks with the Elbe as a backdrop: I had to go and see it!
This region with its distinctive appearance was sculpted by erosion quite a few millennia ago.
The bridge is not very “historic”, to be honest. The area was already attracting quite a few tourists, and in 1826 a first wooden bridge was built to allow visitors to pass from one peak to another. This wooden bridge was replaced by the present one (this time in stone) in 1851.
In short, firmly determined to come and see this bridge, I went back to the Meissen train station and returned to Dresden, then continued to the small village of Kurort Rathen.
The area is really surprising, we arrive in a small village full of charm and then we go to a small ferry to cross the Elbe. (The crossing literally takes 20 seconds!)
Once on the other side I directly attacked the ascent to the Bastei. According to the signs, this little hike should have taken me 45 minutes. But I don’t know if it is because I was just highly motivated or maybe the fear of missing the last rays of sunshine, but by climbing the steps 2 by 2, I had reached the top in a little less than 20 minutes. Sweaty, but the sun was still there! 🙂
I spent the next hour just enjoying the scenery. Observing these rock formations which were not without reminding me of the landscapes in China around Guilin.
Well… more rocky. But the concept is there! And I have a lot of imagination and I am missing China, so what do you want!:)
I went down the stairs as I had climbed them, 2 by 2. All this to get to my ferry just in time as the sun was setting on the Elbe.
Sounds like the romantic and perfect moment. Then, I’ll pass the part of the story where I missed my train by a minute because I took too many pictures. And then I had to wait 1 hour on the station platform with just a little leather jacket. In March it was a little bold. Anyway, let’s stick to the postcard picture, and forget about the huge cold I caught! 😀
- To get to the Bastei bridge : Take the S1 train from Dresden Neustadt
- Ferry : 1€ for the crossing, 1,8€ for the return trip
- hiking time : Allow 30-40 minutes if you walk “normally”
- Admission fee : 2€, at the time of my visit there was no one there, just a small cash register at the entrance which counted on the good faith of the visitors. In other words, I was almost the only one who paid… 🙁
Here, with this little article and the one on Dresden you know a little more about the Saxon region. For my part, I will gladly come back to the area in summer to explore the surroundings a little more and do some short hikes.
By the way, if you have any advice on the area, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments!