Through Sächsische Schweiz
The last time we were here, we'd loved visiting Sächsische Schweiz, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty high above the River Elbe and thinking that we'd like to revisit it, we were glad that our friends agreed that it'd be great to drive out from Dresden for the day. There was one other motivation, about which I'll share more later...
The Bastei is a collection of rock formations, popular with walkers and cyclists - though quite how the many cyclists there today were going to manage their bikes through such terrain remains a mystery to us all!
From the viewpoint at the end of a small walkway, there's a great view of the river and the lands beyond. The little steam powered ferry was just arriving, having left Dresden some time earlier.
I had already said that I had no intention of partaking in any mountain goat activities this morning, and gladly offered to photograph those of us who were keener than I to head over to that rock stack.
No, those are not our friends on the bridge...this is a photo of completely different folks, taken in error - it's not easy when almost everyone wears jeans and a black/grey/dark blue jacket!
We were all as equally impressed by the amazing scenery as we had been the first time here
With a few drops of rain starting to fall, we jumped back into the car and headed on our journey, passing the lovely skyline of Bautzen along the way. We were heading for Görlitz, another place we'd visited previously, although that was before The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The road was surprisingly straight and patchworked and as we drove, we speculated on the likelihood of being able to visit the Kaufhaus Görlitz, one of the central locations of the movie.
We had googled. We had asked the Concierge the same question. Is it open? Can we visit? But somehow, we never could achieve an authorative answer. We heard it had opened as a shop again. We heard it was empty and closed for good. We heard all sorts of things, but never felt 100% sure about any of the answers. The only way to find out was to try.
Now, three of the four of us are fans of the movie and Mary....well, Mary was happy to be there too, if only to see for herself. As we approached the entrance, a couple overheard us talking and said "yes, you can go in. It's open".
So we did.
There were a few people inside already, but they soon left and we had the place to ourselves. It really is an amazing building - movie or no - and those staircases are spectacular.
We tried to envisage the scenes in there...my Hero and I watched the DVD only recently and ought to have been able to remember!
We were so glad to be here in this rather strange place!
The glass roof remains complete and undamaged: this is a remarkable structure and really, there's no wonder it's in demand, not only as a film set but for fashion shoots and other shows.
We pottered around the town some more, enjoying the spirit of this celebration and welcome party for families of the area, encouraging everyone to come out and take part.
The children put on a great show - so sweet! The importance of encouraging young families to settle in this town, right on the border between Germany and Poland was clearly stated and a conversation with one of the organisers confirmed the commitment of the local council to making everyone feel welcome here.
A short snack later, we wandered back through the old streets, enjoying the atmosphere here and stopping by the Tourist Information to check we hadn't missed anything.
It seems the Grand Budapest Hotel isn't the only film made here; there are others
Needless to say, none of us can be so close to the border without stepping over the line, so to speak, and so we made our way through the town to the river, where the bridge led to Poland.
Don't get me started. Most of you will know all too well how I feel about these things. We walked over the bridge right past this one and maybe stepped a few inches over the border. Enough!
Completing another happy day in Germany!