Cycling in Germany #6 – Bastei Rocks, Honigstein and over the border to Czech Republic

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Weather report: sunny in the morning but storms in the afternoon. We decide not to cycle but to visit Battei Rocks in the morning and Honigstein in the afternoon, despite the fact that it’s Saturday and both places will no doubt be full of vistiors. It’s 11 am by the time we reach the closest parking lot to Battei Rocks but it’s not full, we’re relieved to see. We walk the couple of kilometers to the start of the various lookouts.

The viewing bridge at Bastei Rocks built in 1851
The viewing bridge at Bastei Rocks built in 1851

All the paths are very safe and easy but I can’t help it, my old fear of heights resurges. The rocks look like a mini version of the Grand Canyon where I think my fear first started over 35 years ago. I go slowly, applying the method an Australian psychologist friend taught me and manage to approach near enough to the fences to take photos.

Bastei Rocks
Bastei Rocks

They are nothing like the magnificent autumn photos that Anda published in Travel Notes and Beyond last year but it is very hard to do justice to such stunning natural scenery. Fortunately, the sun is out but the result is somewhat hazy.

The Elbe seen through the rocks on Bastei Bridge
The Elbe seen through the rocks on Bastei Bridge

The visit takes about an hour and we head back down to the Elb for lunch at Stadt Wehlen, the little village with the unusual sundial. We find a restaurant called Hotel Café Richtel on the water and order our usual glass of weiss wein. Jean Michel chooses matjes, which seems to be the house speciality and turns out to be salted herring. I choose baked lamb and dumplings. It’s good to have a meal that’s not deep fried.

Our view at lunch in Stadt Welhem
Our view at lunch in Stadt Welhen. The steam boat startled us when it blew its horn!

Afterwards, we head off for Honigstein, a 13th century fortress which is one of the largest in Europe and contains 50 different buildings. We leave the car in the Parkhaus and take the little train, thus saving 40 minutes on foot in each direction.

The Konigstein fortress from below
The Konigstein fortress from below

Set on a rocky landscape, Honigstein overlooks the Elbe and offers stunning 360° views of the surrounding countryside, including one of the loops in the river that we cycled along the day before.

Left view of the loop in the Elbe from Honigstein
Left view of the loop in the Elbe from Honigstein

Once again, our photos are hazy but Anda’s photos of Honigstein taken in autumn are perfect. They will also give you an idea of some of the buildings.

Right view from the loop in the Elbe
Right view from the loop in the Elbe

As it’s still early and sunny (we’ve had a couple of very short spitting spells but no storms), we go back to Bad Schandau to collect our cycling maps for a quick ride to the Czech border 8 km away before dinner. Bad luck – Jean Michel has a puncture, probably the first either of us has had since we began our cycling trips several years ago. The pump won’t work so I ride off to a cycle shop Jean Michel remembers seeing in the town to buy another one. I can’t find the  shop and the entire town is shut down except for eating places!

View from the side of Honigstein
View from the side of Honigstein

He changes the inner tube and gets the pump to work which makes us think there may be a problem with the valve on the old tube. By then it’s starting to spit very lightly but we decide to take a chance.

The ferry over to the bike path that goes to Prague
The ferry over to the bike path that goes to Prague

The ride towards Czech Republic takes us past an amazing number of holiday rooms and flats with vacancies. We still don’t understand our difficulty finding a place to stay. After we leave the town, the river views are not as impressive as they are towards Pirna. As we approach Schmillke, we see there’s a ferry and we understand why when we reach the Czech border where the bike path abruptly ends. Crossing the ferry takes you to the path on the other side that goes right to Prague.

The bike path ends at the Czech border
The bike path ends at the Czech border

By now the spits have turned into light rain so we don our capes and ride back to Bad Schangan where our weiss wein is waiting in the fridge in our lime-green pension. Was is das?  The wine is sweet! I check out the dictionary which provides an answer for once: Riesling Spätlese lieblich, it says – sweet late harvest riesling. Sigh …

Tomorrow, we’re off to Dresden.


Cycling in Germany – Tips & Tricks
Cycling in Germany #1 – Kobern-Gondorf on the Moselle
Cycling in Germany #2 – Rhine from Saint Goar to Lorch
Cycling in Germany #3 – Cochem to Zell on the Moselle
Cycling in Germany #4 – Koblenz where the Moselle meets the Rhine
Cycling in Germany #5 – Bad Schaugen to Pirna along the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #6 – Bastei Rocks, Honigen and over the border to Czech Republic 
Cycling in Germany #7 – Dresden: accommodation & car trouble and Baroque Treasure  
Cycling in Germany #8 – Dresden Neustadt: Kunsthof Passage, Pfund’s Molkerei, a broom shop & trompe l’oeil
Cycling in Germany #9 – Country roads around Niderlommatzsch on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #10 – Meissen on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #11 – Martin Luther Country: Torgau on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #12 – Martin Luther Country: Wittenberg on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #13 – Wörlitz Gardens and the beginning of neo-classicism in Germany
Cycling in Germany #14 – Shades of Gaudi on the Elbe: Hundertwasser
Cycling in Germany – Turgermünde, the prettiest village on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #16 – Celle & Bremen
Cycling in Germany #17 – Windmills & Dykes
Cycling in Germany #18 – Painted façades from Hann. Münden to Höxter
Cycling in Germany #19 – Bernkastel on the Moselle: a hidden treasure
Cycling in Germany #20 – Trier & the Binoculars Scare
Cycling along the Danube – A Renaissance festival in Neuburg, Bavaria
Cycling along the Danube – Watch out for trains!
Cycling along the Danube – Regensburg & Altmuhle
Cycling along the Danube –  The Weltenburg Narrows
Cycling along the Danube – from its source to Ehingen
Cycling along the Danube – Ehingen to Ulm
Cycling along the Danube – Singmarigen to Beuron
Cycling along the Danube – Binzwangen to Mengen including  Zwiefalten
Eurovelo 6 – Cycling around Lake Constance
Eurovelo 6 – Moos to Stein am Rhein and Steckborn on Lake Constance
Heading home to France after a month’s cycling holiday
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49 thoughts on “Cycling in Germany #6 – Bastei Rocks, Honigstein and over the border to Czech Republic”

  1. It’s lovely to be following your travels again, you do get to some wonderful places. Love the scenery and your commentary Rosemary. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’m so glad you made it there. Your pictures are very nice, I like them. They are a little hazy but that’s not your fault, it’s your bad luck. The weather helps a lot sometimes. It’s great you could visit both places in one day. I can hardly wait to hear more about your trip.

  3. Your photos are all quite wide angle, which gives the view a good idea of the landscape. Anda’s are all quite tightly cropped, so the two sets of photos complement one another well. The scenery is really dramatic!

    You haven’t left the little clear plastic protective sheet on the camera lens have you? The photos have the look of fading 1960s images (which you could claim is the look you were aiming for…)

    1. Thanks Susan. My new iphone has a backlight compensation feature (contre-jour) but I really think it was do to the time of day and the sky. Early morning and late afternoon are always better.

  4. I enjoyed some lovely Kaffee und Kuchen in Bad Schandau in May. I didn’t realize it was so close to the Czech border but alas it would have made no difference since I wasn’t permitted to drive my rental car into Eastern Europe. As we enjoyed our coffee and cake, I took lots of photos of bikers and hikers. Too bad it wasn’t you! 🙂

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