Hiking from Kurort Rathen to Königstein

Path leading away from Hotel Amselgrundschlösschen

We got up in the morning at the Hotel Amselgrundschlösschen and wandered around trying to find breakfast. I went downstairs at least twice to an empty dining room before I figured out that it was in the restaurant on the other side of the hotel.

This German breakfast was better than the previous day’s breakfast because I had thrown the diet out the window. Bread and cheese x 3 for me. We decided we needed to eat heartily to hike all day. Obvious but when you spend almost all of your time around food conscious of calories and carbs it’s kind of hard to release your grip on those thoughts.

Trail up to the Bastei

We dragged our bag down to reception at 9:30 because that’s when they said the info packet that we’d missed at the first hotel would arrive. I was informed that I was late with our bag. It needs to be there by 9. It’s ok because they haven’t come yet but just so you know… you’re late. Noted. I hadn’t had the packet to know the rules.

In the packet I was happy to find a map. I wouldn’t realize for at least another day that they had drawn our entire route in marker on the map. So helpful, if only I was paying attention.

After I looked through the stuff we found the trail for the day right outside of the hotel door. It led steadily upward to the Bastei and Neurathen Castle, past some some great views of the Elba river and cool sandstone formations that I pretty much completely forgot once we saw the Bastei.

The Elba River
Neurathen Castle

We paid the fee to get in to Neurathen Castle and walked across metal bridges out onto the sandstone pinnacles. There were cannon balls carved of stone and semi-informative signs about the history of the place. The views from every direction were amazing. It was definitely not a place for people with a fear of heights. We walked all through it and the exit door was broken so we got to see all the great views from the other direction as we scooted back across the bridges to the entrance.

The Bastei

Then we moved on to the Bastei. It was a very popular tourist destination. Lots and lots and lots of people covered the bridge. It was easily accessible via a road on the other side of the bridge. I took about a thousand pictures from every vantage point I could find. Eventually we realized it was 11 a.m. already and we had another 15 km to go before we got to our accommodations for the night so we tore ourselves away from the amazing views and continued on to the rest of our hike distracted briefly by a snack shop where I bought at bratwurst and brotchen that just came on a little piece of cardboard. I did get mustard all over myself.

Bratwurst mit Brotchen

From there we followed the Malerweg (Painter’s way) to Stadt Wehlen through a mossy fern covered valley.

Mahlerweg between the Bastei and Stadt Wehlen

In Stadt Wehlen we had to figure out a ferry crossing. After a challenging conversation in German/Denglisch at a tourist info office I learned that I could just give money to the Ferry captain to cross the river. And we did it. And it was easy.

Stadt Wehlen

On the other side of the river we spotted a hilariously specific sign requesting that dogs and people not defecate in the children’s playground. The human “please don’t defecate here” sign ended with “Du Ferkel” which seemed to translate to “you piglet” which is apparently a lighthearted German insult. It became a staple of our banter from then on in the trip.

Please don’t defecate here you piglet.

After crossing the river we also had to cross the train tracks but the bar was down. We waited a very long time for 3 trains to pass. A VERY long time, maybe a whole 15 minutes.

Waiting to cross the tracks

We ascended again from Stadt Wehlen and then walked through fields, forests, and small villages.

Trail through a pasture from Stadt Wehlen to Königstein
Haying in Germany
View of the Elba and Königstein from the Mahlerweg
Common chaffinch

We walked past the fortress Königstein on our way to the town of Königstein. We had gotten a little off the guided path and had to run across a busy road but this view of the the fortress wasn’t too bad.

Trail past Festung Königstein

I was beat by the time we reached Schrager’s Gasthaus in Königstein. I can pretty much say that every day but I was done. We were a little worried as we were arriving around 6 p.m. again and weren’t sure if there would be a place to eat that late. We found our hotel. The host was standing out in the ally. He showed us to our room which was simple but nice, with a crazy view of Festung Königstein behind a crumbling building.

It turned out that the the Gasthaus had a restaurant for guests so I had another schnitzel and some yummy beer. And Brian boldly asked if we could have a could extra beers “mitnehmen” (to go) and it seemed to be a totally normal request. So we had some beers and watched a movie on my laptop. I struggled to stay awake but kept dozing off and missed half of it.