Tag Archives: Elbe Radweg

Elbe Bike Route: Day 5

Melnik to Prague, 57km, our last day of Elberadweg

I made a short, quiet and beautiful morning walk in Melnik, a hill-top village looking over the rivers. I love roaming around in the villages early in the morning when it is slowly waking up and still quiet

After breakfast we start our 5th and last bike day.  The path signpost shows 53 km to Prague.

Our first stop is at the historical sluice. The village of Melnik is seen on the hill.

Almost alone, we bike on the quiet coutryside admiring the the yellow rapeseed field in bloom.

At the small village of Luzec, the bike path stops and we need to cross the river once more.  A relaxed boatman sees us and signals to wait for 10 minutes. No one else comes by and so we are only the passengers.  He brings us and our bikes to the other side with ease.

Here we are a bit perplexed, as the path indicator shows the “Route 7” instead of the “Route 2”.  We soon realise that we now follow the Moldau river, the Czech Republic’s longest river, which flows into the Elbe river.

We continue on the bike path on the other side of the Moldau river.

Biking through the blissful, expansive park of Veltrusy.

At the edge of the park, the Veltrusy Castle appears. We enjoyed a visit to the castle and garden, and also had a lunch break at a simple relaxed cafeteria. The friendly staff does not speak any English nor German, but we made ourselves understood and got a vegetarian meal with cheese and croquettes  : )

A varied and well-marked bike path continues along the river Moldau.  The perfectly developed bike path keeps on impressing me greatly.

We are getting close to Prague and we see more and more people walking and biking.

Got there! Prague!

Beautiful Prague in the evening light. Percy and I have a drink to celebrate the successful end of our 5-day bike tour and a tasty bowl of Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup!

After the meal, we walked to the famous Charles Bridge. The magnificent night view of the castle over the bridge blew me away!

Elbe Bike Route: Day 2

Bad Schanda (Germany)  to Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic), 50km

After a hearty breakfast, we start for our 2nd day of biking at 9am.  Fresh temperature and a cloudless, blue sky promise for another fantastic day!

Today we will cross the border and enter the Czech Republic. A “first time” for me. It is also the home country of Doris’ parents.  I very much look forward to it.

At the German-Czech border town of Schmilka we crossed the Elbe to the other side of the shore and continued to our bike path.

Soon we were at the border and entered the Czech Republic. The bike path border is marked only by three poles, without any border control, given that we move from one EU country to another. Interestingly enough, the Czech Republic is one of nine EU countries which use their own currency, the Czech Koruna.

It would be great if we can travel to all countries freely like this!

21km later we arrived at a cute town of Decin. It was still before noon. On the second day of biking we got used to this mode of travel and we were riding our bikes like champs.

For lunch we went up the hilltop castle Decin Castle and settled in  a simple courtyard cafe. The staff spoke only Czech und with Doris’ translation we managed to order tasty Bretagne-style galettes (pancakes) with spinach. The castle garden was breezy and quiet, with not so many people.

Charming Decin:

A ship pulling four barges shows that the Elbe river still plays an important role as waterways to transport coals and minerals.

Along the bike path we came across a colony of animals called the Elbe beaver (“nutria”).  They seem to live around in the muddy riverbank and are not at all afraid of our existence. This animal family with small babies delighted Doris, a passionate animal lover,  and she did not want to leave the place…

Our blissful bike path continues along the Elbe…

After 50km we arrived at today’s destination, Ústí nad Labem. The city looked rather impersonal, compared to the other quaint villages and towns which we stayed or passed by.  We navigated ourselves in the busy city quarter to our hotel.

Toasting with Percy

We happily toasted to our successful second day of biking in the local brewery restaurant which Doris recommended. I am no beer drinker, but  for this occasion I tried a glass of local dark beer! Hicks!

Elbe Bike Route: Bad Schandau

My day started with a morning walk in the lovely town of Bad Schandau before breakfast. The air was crisp and almost no one was out there that early in the morning. I love roaming around small streets and get lost in its corners.

Yesterday evening I already discovered a blissful green park along the small stream as well as a magnificent lookout point higher up. It leads to other hiking paths but I did not venture out after a full day of biking…

While walking in town I noticed some houses were marked with the historic high water levels. The hotel where we stayed was apparently damaged three times by the Elbe floods and they had to close and renovate the hotel recently in 2013. The town looks peaceful but it has been fighting for its survival.

Elbe Bike Day 1: Dresden to Bad Schandau

Dresden to Bad Schandau, Germany, 47km

Yipii… today is our first biking day!

Blue sky, mild temperature.

We aimed to start biking at around 9 am.
But then,  it took a bit longer than we thought to adjust the luggage on our bikes.  My backpack is around 8kg in total and its contents fit perfectly well in the two bike bags hanging on both sides of my bicycle rack. Somehow Doris’ backpack was a bit reluctant and did not want to stay tight on her bike but preferred to gently sway to one side.

We left Dresden smoothly. The designated bike path goes along the Elbe river and soon we left Dresden’s beautiful skyline behind us.

After roughly 11 km we came to the very green Pillnitz Palace and Park at the riverside.  It turned out to be a quite large palace with an expansive, delightful flower garden.  The garden was blooming with flowers and made our visit very enjoyable.

At the palace, we crossed the river by boat to continue on the bike lane on the other side.  There are many such places and small boats take passengers and bikes from one shore to the other.

We had lunch in an Italian joint in a charming village square of Pirna. By the time we finished our lunch, it was already 3 pm and we still had more than half of today’s distance….

For the last 24 km, we biked through the National Park of Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz in German). The area is full of impressive rugged sandstone rocks and peaks. We had to hold tight on our handle,  looking up at these magnificent views  : )
Apparently, the region is a treasure land of many great hikes and I would like to come back here another time!

Finally crossing the bridge to the other side of the Elbe we arrived at today’s destination Bad Schandau, a cute riverside resort town.

We made it!  We were happy to hit the hotel’s sauna room and put our feet up.

More on the National Park Saxon Switzerland

The picturesque town of Dresden

Doris, her boyfriend Percy and I have decided to bike 220km along the Elbe river from Dresden in Germany to Prague in the Czech Republic.

On a sunny day, and with a very promising weather forecast for the week to come, we left Zurich much too early for my taste and arrived in Dresden just an hour later.

I knew little about Dresden but read that the city was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War. So I was not expecting much. How wrong I was.  Dresden turned out to be a beautiful city, loaded with many historical buildings. We saw several old photos in which some churches were completely demolished by the bombs. It was impressing to see how the Germans endeavored to bring the city to the former splendor.

This city makes me think of human insanity (such as wars) as well as resilience.

Via Aplina, Engelberg to Engstlen Alp

Via Alpina route, Section 7
Engelberg (1000m) – Trübsee (1780m) – Jochpass (2207m) – Engstlensee – Engstlen Alp (1834m), 11km, with 1285m up and 455m down

Starting at the foggy Engelberg and heading for Trübsee.

After a steep uphill of 800m, the Trübsee was also in the mist.
But soon it opened up and gave me a complete view of Mt. Titlis (3238m).

While walking around the lake, the mist streamed in and out. It was so beautiful that I felt as if I were in a dream. I stood there, completely captivated by the beauty of the nature.

Heading up to Jochpass and looking back the Trübsee and the Engelberg valley.

Beyond the Jochpass, Engstlensee was shining in the afternoon sun.  A lone fishing boat was on the mirror-like lake and some were fly-fishing. It was so peaceful.

A quiet Engstlenalp and a traditional mountain hotel for the night.