Saturday, May 26, 2018

Elegant Elbe: The Bastei (5/26/2018)

Saturday, May 26, 2018 (continued)
At 9:15 we boarded the motor coaches to head to the Bastei for today's included excursion.
The Elbe is an important waterway that provided an inland trade route to Prague. It is surrounded by lush forests, mountains, vineyards, and its route is relatively untouched by man. There are pristine wetlands and woodlands protected as a biosphere reserve (habitat for storks, cranes, and red- and black kites). Straddling the border between the Czech Republic and Germany are soaring chalk sandstone cliffs and rock formations with names like Catapault, Locomotive, and Wolf's Ravine. This area was named Saxon Switzerland by two Swiss painters who were reminded of home when visiting in the 1760s. Now the region is a national park in each country; Saxon Switzerland/Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz in Germany and Bohemian Switzerland/České Švýcarsko Národní Park in the Czech Republic.
The lynx is the mascot of the
Saxon Switzerland National Park
Optional transport to the Bastei
Important notice in the national park:
No drones allowed! (KSS)
The Bastei/Bastion is a rock formation of eroded Elbe sandstone creating a cluster of tall jagged pinnacles. These formed a natural defense barrier used by a 13C Saxon fort, Felsenburg Neurathen, which sat balanced atop these rocks.
We were first taken to a particular promontory, which may be The Bastei, as it aligns better with our definition of a bastion.
Soon we could see bunches of these pinnacle formations
View north along the Elbe from the Bastei
View west with Königstein Fortress/Festung Königstein on the horizon (KSS)
View down of the current-driven ferry that connects
both sides of the town of Rathen
From painters to tourists, the Bastei attracted so many people that in 1824 a wooden bridge was built to allow access to the rock formations. In 1851 the bridge was replaced by the current bridge of sandstone, which we crossed.
Looking west between two pinnacles
Then looking down at a rock climber;
the rock formations are very popular
with rock climbers
Many of the pinnacles have a small steel
box attached to the top where
successful climbers can record their ascent
Looking back at the promontory up on the right
Rock carving proclaiming the bridge was built
under commission of Friedrich Augustus (KSS)
More pinnacles with teeny people
atop the highest one
From a point where we can look back at the sandstone bridge
Entering the area of Felsenberg Neurathen
Meandering through the fortress ruins, with catapult balls
Panoramic view east from the fortress ruins (KSS)
View in the other direction of the covered cistern
View towards Bohemian Switzerland
Hey, some guy is sitting over there! (KSS)
We were told that the tall thin pole on the rock in the above picture is actually part of the rock. Really?
Replica catapult (KSS)
Chris was here in 1706
View up from the cistern area
We stopped for drinks while waiting to return to the motor coaches.
Drinks for dogs, too (KSS)
A wedding was being celebrated at the restaurant, and
apparently one ritual is sawing a log (KSS)
On the way back to Viking Astrild, an info center billboard and ?
Next: Cruising to Dresden.

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