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A few paddling pics – part I

Before the summer is all over, and the holiday pics get buried in the digital stack that is ever growing, here is how our paddling trip went.

We started out on the Elbe river close to the Czech border, in Schmilka, and got to enjoy the spectacular scenery there:

From Königstein to Pillnitz – Bastei near Rathen

We had very, very sunny weather, and it was really dry the weeks and months before, so just like last year on our Saale trip, water levels were very low. Which means that we had the river mostly to ourselves, no commercial vessels at all – as the water in the river was too low for them.

That made for very relaxed paddling wherever we wanted on the river, which was nice for us. The sunny weather also meant applying sunscreen generously, trying to get an early start for the longer days, and wearing sunglasses and hats as protection. So this is me, “hard” at work paddling:

Just taking out the paddle after steering…

We worked our way down the river, enjoying every bit of it. On some days, we really worked our way down – there was a headwind quite often. One time we stopped paddling for a short break and stayed completely in place… on a river that was technically flowing. (Not as fast as it would have been with higher levels, but still.) The wind was strong enough to sort of anchor us in place that day…

Wine grows here. As do beautiful buildings.

There was a lot of beautiful buildings as well – usually in scenic places on the higher places, right on the shoulder of the river valley. Wine grows in this area, and we often saw vinyards and wineries.

We made a lot of sightseeing stops along the way, of course – many interesting places with a lot of history are strung along the Elbe. One of them is Meissen (where we did not visit the porcelain manufacture, though, even though I come from a porcelain town – too far out from the river, and too many other things to see). While we had these very low water levels, we also saw marks from past high levels during floods. 2013 was a bad flood year, but in Meissen, we also found this mark from 1501, which was at about the same height:

High water mark at a building in Meißen – dating to 1501, when one of the bad floods of the Elbe occurred.

Another place where we stopped was Torgau, which was also well worth visiting, for the spectacular staircase in the castle alone – called “Großer Wendelstein”:

Wendelstein in Torgau

One of the fairy tale film productions that the former GDR was famous for was filmed here: Sleeping Beauty. The actress is in one scene shown walking down these stairs…

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