How a two day escape trip turned into a challenge (Diary – Day 7&8)

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What to do when you have two free days…

My 'not-a-dream-team' duo: Bicycle and backpack
The not quite the ideal team – my old bike and old backpack. Yet despite their looks they allowed me to make my two day escape trip become a reality! Photograph by Kristin Noack.

The weather was supposed to be quite mild (it’s January and supposed to be winter!), and sunny for the last two days. I managed to get rid of my work shift for the first day (that is the good thing about this sort of flexible part time work that I do, you often can find someone to take up your shift, if you suddenly can’t make it). And the second day was a day off for me. So with two free days at my hands, of course, I planned an escape town trip! Oh happy days!

A cycling trip, of course!

First of all, because cycling is environmentally friendly. No emmisions, only using my own muscle energy. (Though providing that energy arguably causes a C02 footprint depending on the food we eat to gain it, but arguing like that makes no sense, because following that train of thought will lead eventually to the fact, that for as long as we live we will cause C02 emmisions).

It also has a feel of independence – go wherever you want to go (a rule that a lot of cyclists take literally to break some rules here an there.) And allows you to enjoy the journey along the way to your destination. Even Confuzius said “The way is the goal”, right?

Besides that I was longing to “just roll”. No stop and go, but a continous flow of motion. Yet I knew, that at least half of the journey would be trying to get out of town.

In order to stay overnight I had to bring more gear.
My bike and backpack that allowed me to bring all I need on the trip. In order to stay overnight I had to bring more gear. (Photograph by Kristin Noack.)

The start

I must admit, I was a bit lazy on the day before the trip. Meaning I failed to organise or pack up my stuff sufficiently. So it turned into a pretty late start. I only left at 1pm, but I didn’t mind it much as I stepped into my pedals, cruising down the roads towards the popular ‘Elbefahrradweg’. This popular biycycle route is one of the many blessings my hometown Dresden has to offer. (Unfortunately there are not that many great lanes and paths for cyclists in town, as we – my colleagues and I – get to experience every day while working as bicycle couriers.)

Yet, to be sure – I have high respect to all those riders out there who deliver food throughout the Canadian winter or long stretched and hot Sydney/Australia or the windy and very hilly capital of New Zealand (Wellington)! When I think of that, I must admit: What are all those, annoying cobblestones, compared to a real winter, long delivery distances, or huge towns that have not been designed for cyclists (or pedestrians) or harbour strong gusts of winds to fight against all the time. No, no, I’d rather be working here in Dresden!

Destination: Nature

My destination was our close by UNESCO world heritage park, which is also one of the 16 national parks of Germany: Saxon Switzerland National Park (or as we call it: Die Sächsische Schweiz).

I definetly love that place, though it’s not as conveniently close as I wish it would be, to escape there more often. If you don’t live in Europe, but happen to know where it is and how far away Dresden is from it, you probably are raising your eyebows just now.

I know, I know, I’m just spoiled! Compared to other cities and their ‘close by getaways’, like the Blue Mountains for Sydney or Whistler for Vancouver, those few kilometers here are nothing. We Europeans (or maybe just us Germans?) simply are not used to long travel distances. We live in a crowded country where it is considered long to have to commute to work for an hour. Here the next city or village is always only a few kilometers away. We certainly are spoiled in that regard 🙂

The plan was to reach a place called Bad Schandau in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. It’s close to the Czech border and about 40-50km away for my home town, depending on the route and the side of the river Elbe you choose to ride on.

 

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