June 13 – Radebeul to Nixenbad
Ta-ta trains. Be seein’ ya rails. So long stations. Today we could hit the pedals again and wheel on our way, under our own puff.
When we set off, there was just one, then two little drops of rain under a grey and cloudy sky. It was cooler and as we put foot to pedal, we wondered if the weather would play tricks on us, or if it was going to be in a kind mood. A little way along, Steve stopped and the Orange Wonder made an appearance. “It’s just a sun shower,” I said optimistically. The sun was indeed already making a brave show of pushing its way between the clouds, but there was a little shower just to remind us of the meteorological jinxes that we are.
The ride was great from the start. After pedalling through some of the leafy little streets of Radebeul, we were on a cycle path beside the Elbe River. We were following the signs along the Elbradweg, the Elbe River Cycle Way and for a river route, finally we were indeed beside the river. It was tops. The sun came out, the path was sealed and flat and we choofed along, with the water at our elbow, fields beside us and the roofs and spires of towns and villages ahead of us and across the river. Delightful.
The path was mostly asphalt and it did stay sealed most of the way, but it also threw in some little curve balls, just to mix things up. The first of these came in the form of cobbles. Bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump…we went and the glutes got a super-dooper pummelling style massage as we rode and bumped our way over those little cobbles.
We saw a bench and table beside the river, perfectly timed for elevenses and pulled in, with a view across the water to the towns on the other side. The sun came out, the morning warmed up and it was splendid.
The path weaved away from the river for a little while, but the scenery was still lovely. We could still see the nice little towns, we had greenery around us and then…just for a little challenge…we had steps. Yep, steps in the middle of a bike path. Who would have thought! Just when we thought we’d left the challenge of steps behind us at the train station, here they were presenting themselves to us again, on our own turf. No worries though, these had their own little bike rail beside them, so we could wheel the bikes down their own little rail ramp and those steps were conquered in a twinkling.
We passed under trees, the river reappeared and we could look down to the bend of the banks, with the sun shining on the water and the path continued to be flat and sealed. We cruised along as if our wheeled steeds had gone to bed and awoken as e-bikes with their own magical motors, such was the ease and pace of the pedalling.
Then, that kindly path decided to add another, small, minor little challenge. The cobbles returned. These, however were not the little bumpy ones, these were the size of flagstones. BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP- we went over those rock-like cobbles with a bump that was enough to rattle the teeth. Then…THUNK! A pannier hit the deck. Those cobbles were so bouncy and rough, they bounced one of Steve’s back panniers clean off the bike. We hit the brakes, I was coming behind, so I swept the pannier up off the path, it was swiftly reattached and we continued our bumping and rattling along those big cobbles, at a slightly gentler pace, to avoid any further detachments.
The town of Riesa appeared and we’d originally thought this might be our pit stop for the day. We took ourselves down to the river, to catch the little ferry across and waited. The ferry wasn’t coming across from the other side for another twenty minutes, so in the end, we decided we might as well keep riding. So we did. Off we pedalled, along a track, then on a road, then back on a cycle path and we continued tootling along beside the Elbe.
Then our nemesis appeared. That yellow sign that has turned an otherwise straight forward ride into a puzzling pedal of princely proportions. The detour. We saw the sign. We followed the sign. It took us down a street, around a corner, along another street, down a lane, along another street, across a road and then…back on the cycle path, right beside the river. Yee-hah! No being sent on a wild goose chase this time, it was not a trickster of a detour, it behaved itself beautifully and we were on our way.
We could see the town of Strehla up ahead, with the river beside us, a nice quiet, tree lined road to take us there, except, we had to cross the river. Time for another ferry. This time, the skipper of the little craft fired up the engine on the other bank as soon as we arrived and the chugging vessel made its way across the river. Another cyclist got off, wished us a “gut fahrt”, as he passed us, we wheeled the bikes onto the deck of the aquatic transport and we were on our way across the Elbe.
A short ride out of Strehla and we found our pitstop in the interestingly named Nixenbad. This also proved to be one of our more interesting camping spots. We are pitched in the grounds of the local swimming pool. Picture yourself at the local pool. There are teenagers lying around on towels with music playing, mums and dads have the little tackers in the paddling pool. Kids are whizzing down the water slide. Friends are throwing a ball around to each other and down there, just there, over the grassy bank, are two randoms and a tent. That’s us. It is an actual, designated camp spot, we haven’t just gate crashed the local aquatic centre and erected the Nylon Palace in amongst the towels and sun bakers. Still, it’s a rather interesting place to be!
Today was a top ride and a top day beside the river. As river rides go, I’d have to say, “that’s a bit more like it!” We actually rode beside the river, the path was sealed and flat, the sun shone and it was fabulous. It was almost like being on the Austrian side of the Danube again, with the river and scenery and towns to give us something to look at. So far, with only one day on the Elbe as comparison and judgement, it has been a whole lot more enjoyable than the Rhine and the German side of the Danube. The Elbe was excellent! We also have a view from our pitstop…across green fields, with butter coloured barns and rows of trees sitting below the horizon, white wind turbines and forests in the distance, and…the Mermaid Pool, the paddling fountain, the waterslide…oh the places we go! Never a dull moment folks and isn’t that just grand!
Distance ridden: 61.2 km
Time in the saddle: 3 hours 59 minutes
Weather: sunny, warm, no wind, 24C…perfect!