Friday, August 14, 2015

Bad Schandau: Dresden Excursion

 If you head south out of Dresden, it's a forty-minute drive to the Czech border.  Right before you get to the border.....along the Elbe River and along highway 172, it's a fairly scenic valley.  When you get to the last German town before leaving are entering Bad Schandau.

Around the late 1800s, Germans got into this hobby of wandering.  You'd take a train to a certain point, get off....and trek miles and miles for one day.....find a cabin operation where the couple would feed you with a hearty dinner and offer a couple of beers to quench your thirst.  Then you'd retire for the night and sleep in a bunk....arising the next morning to a hearty breakfast and hike some more before you reached another railway station and head back home.

By 1905, this was hiking method was becoming heavily commercialized.  The folks at Bad Schandau figured out the gimmick of putting up an elevator-like operation.....charging some money to get you five-hundred-odd feet up the mountain and give you a head start on the hiking experience.  It was a great tower to stand and observe the valley, which I think was half the reason you took the tower excursion.

The tower and elevator are still in operation today.  I'd take a guess that around a hundred people a day take the one-minute ride to the top.

The guest facilities at the top? was built around 1905 and probably saw hundreds of thousands of guests come and go over the next couple of decades.  After the war, DDR came into being and you get the impression that guests were fewer in nature.....with money rarely ever being poured into the gasthaus.

Today, it simply sits there with a 'for-sale' sign on the front.  I doubt if it's been used in at least a decade.  Around the corner.....some took another of the local houses and tried to make it work a decade ago, and it doesn't appear to have been a success.  It's up for sale too.

It's another example of the fixer-upper environment there in former DDR (East Germany).  It's German quality engineered and built.....but it needs extensive work to bring it up to standards.  The possibility of hikers using the facility again?  The old habit of a two-day hike is still around but people don't spend the type of money that you'd need to keep such an operation in use today.

You'd have to pour in a hundred-thousand Euro minimum for the place to be usable again.  And I have doubts that they'd be willing to sell it for low price.....thinking some idiot would still pay top Euro for it.

Anyway, if you desire a day-trip out of Dresden.....this is a four-star opportunity.  I should note, this region of Saxson is a major farming region, and there are dozens of fruit and vegetable stands along the way to Bad Schandau.  The best place to park near the elevator?  The village swimming pool has an excellent parking lot (you have to pay though), and there is a decent pub/cafe there for a long sip of water after a walk on the mountain top.

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