Following the Donau River (part 1)

Sophie and I cycle out of Dresden and head for a village called Durrrohrsdorf-Dittersbach and the ‘alternative party/festival’.  We stop to look at the 2 bridges to the south of Dresden, the Blue wonder Bridge and the more frecent bridge which apparently lost Dresden it’s UNESCO status.  After a time of cycling we shelter from the rain and chat before continuing on.

DSC03320 (Copy)When we get there I am introduced to a group of her friends who have come from Leipzig and am given a tent, which is already up, to sleep in!  An great group of people and I feel so much at home, especially when we go off in the back of the trailer to get wood for the bonfire!

DSC03327 (Copy)  DSC03326 (Copy)DSC03329 (Copy)DSC03322 (Copy)  DSC03342 (Copy)And then the party begins ….!!

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DSC03344 (Copy)DSC03348 (Copy)   DSC03347 (Copy)DSC03353 (Copy)The party is fantastic, with great ‘one, foot hopping’, jumping around, moshing, jigging music which would be very at home in The Bell (a local Bath pub) and more dance music than I can shake my excitable booty to!  There is also cabaret in the form of fire poi, trapeze, corde liese and comedy – and the bonfire, bars and table football ….

All held in an old paper mill building which has been bought by a cooperative of people who are creating their own houses in the grounds and building wonderful wood dwellings there.

I finally sleep at 4am, as tired, sweaty and happy as I ever am, having danced myself into exhaustion.

DSC03387 (Copy)The following day there is communal breakfast and I get myself ready to head off in the direction of Prague.

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DSC03415 (Copy)Its the 1st of May, sunny and all feels great with the world, I am seeing the signs of late spring and early summer.  Sophie has suggested I go to visit Bastai so I head off to the area called Saxon Switzerland.

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Cycling through this area is amazing and the rock formations are incredible to see.  There is so much oil seed yellow everwhere and the grrens are so vibrant.  Looking out across the hills is a wonderfully spacious experience and looking down onto the Donau I can see tiny boats – I am aware that I will need to make my way down there and find a quiet road with multiple switch backs which is great fun to ride down and soon I am back along side the Donau.

DSC03474 (Copy)I spend the night in a designated ‘cyclists haven’ – just a patch of ground I can stop on.  On this occasion a quiet haven did not not make for a good nights sleep – see ‘Boiling Point’ for details.

The next day I am again heading for Praha and since I am travelling alongside a river it is quite expected to see a boat being launched – ‘Torpeado’ however was a very special looking steam boat – beautifully painted and evidently the pride and joy of more than one person.

DSC03477 (Copy)I then cross over from Germany to the Czech Republic with the old boarder crossing to indicate the difference and some very different names and road signs to contend with.

I have move off the main River and am following a tributary when I manage to stumble upon the European Championships for Canoeing and stop to watch this for a while.  I spot the GB team and go and ask them where they are placed … they were not competing but just watching at this time.  A little disappointed not to be cheering on the GB team I continue on my way.

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Getting back onto the main River Donau I pass power stations, chimmneys, fields and fields of oil seed and reach a small palace which is open to the public – completely open – you can just wander in and view the buildings which appear to be in some disrepair with potentially no chance of being renovated or cared for.

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DSC03554 (Copy)                        DSC03567 (Copy) DSC03563 (Copy) DSC03561 (Copy)As it gets towards the end of the day I have a complete meltdown and start sweating and shaking, from a lack of food, stress and anxiety following recent issues with my foot but I continue to cycle and eventually reach Praha, in the rain.  I am tired, sodden and not happy so find a cheap hostel and collapse into a bed, relieved to be inside and with people around me, even if I dont actually know them.


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