Three Bavarians discovering the Czech Sandstone
Text and photos: www.christian-pfanzelt.de
If you come from southern Germany, like we do, you usually go climbing to the Dolomites, Tyrol, stay in the Bavarian climbing regions or, at worst, you go to Frankenjura. But heading for Dresden, where everything is so flat? There are no mountains there, people say. Of course everybody has heard about the legendary region of the Elbsandstein Mountains, but from the geographic point of view, for us it is a completely different direction.
It is high time to widen our climbing horizon, which is quite limited in this respect. However, we didn’t pick “Elbi” as the destination of our trip. We decided to cross the border and take a good look at the sandstone of our neighbors from the Czech Republic. It’s not that we don’t appreciate our German region, we were just guided by the opinion of an experienced person, who said a lot of good stuff about climbing on the other side of the border.
Three Bavarians on a rally to Saxony
And so the three Bavarians left for the north. Andi Bindhammer, his girlfriend Katarina Schmidt, who was actually born in the Czech Republic, and me. The journey was already an adventure. As the weekend was coming, the highway A72 in the direction of Chemnitz was getting more and more crowded. The main rule on the road was „whoever breaks, looses“. Something absolutely new for us were cars overtaking on our right, using the emergency lane. Almost like in the USA. Extremely happy that we survived the highway part, we turned toward the „Tal der Ahnungslosen“, or the Valley of the Clueless - the name, that according the locals comes from the GDR times. Here, unlike in other regions of former Eastern Germany, people couldn’t find any signal of western TV channels. This is how that ironic pet name originated.
Our hotel is situated on the left bank of the Elbe, in Bad Gohrisch, in the heart of Saxon Switzerland. It’s extremely silent and calm there. For us it’s a perfect base camp from where we can make trips to the Czech climbing region „Labak“, located 15km from here. The hotel rooms remind us of the GDR times. Five channels on TV and old-fashioned art on the walls. In the huge bathroom even the sinks are from the old times, and the bathtub looks more like a children’s swimming pool. The dining room leaves us convinced that this place used to be very succesful.