May 30, 2019 Meissen GE

Today we decided to end our stay in Bavaria after 2 weeks.  We were tempted to head into Nuremberg, but after some more thought we decided to make a jump north.  So today we are in a very quirky Stellplatz in Meißen in Saxony.  

The German countryside at 60mph from the autobahn.

The trip was our longest in Germany so far at a bit over 220km’s.  Feeling a little lazy we decided to pick the fastest route which turned out to be almost all Autobahn.  We were on a nice roll and covering distance at a rate we are not used to even though we were among the slowest vehicles on the autobahn.  It turns out today is a holiday in Germany so while there was virtually no trucks on the road there were a ton of cars.  When we were less than 2km’s from our exit the right lane came to a complete halt with an equal number of cars stopped in the right lane and the shoulder.  At first we thought there must be an accident, but it turns out there was some kind of event at out exit.  It was interesting to watch the disciplined Germans behave just like the rest of the world when faced with a traffic jam, most people stayed in the right lane and crept towards the exit, a higher percentage than we would see in the US decided to run up the shoulder to the exit and force their way in there, this ended after a few minutes when a couple of cars blocked the shoulder to prevent that happening.  Also a few real jerks  just like in the US used the left lane (which was still moving) and then forced their way in right at the exit.  It turns out people are the same everywhere, even the disciplined Germans.

Ton had picked out Meissen because it is supposed to be a relatively undiscovered gem. After the sophisticated tourist cities of Bavaria, Meissen was really refreshing.  Meissen is famous for its porcelain as well as its castle and cathedral on a bluff overlooking the Elbe River.  The climb to the castle was steep but worth it.

The Cathedral in Meissen.  I suspect the black on the towers is due to pollution and not design.
The red roofs of Meissen from the castle grounds.  Ton tells me these rooftop shots are “the thing” these days.
The Elbe River from the castle.
The only really touristy thing in town, and there was only one wagon.

As we walked around the town it was crowded as not only is it Ascension Day but also Fathers Day.  Interestingly in Germany, Fathers Day is celebrated by the men having a boys day out without the families.  We saw one group of guys being pulled thru town on a trailer behind a tractor with beer steins in hand.  Also, unlike in Bavaria we did not hear any English (or Thai) as we walked.

As we were waiting for our bus back to the aire we noticed this moving monument to the inmates of the small concentration camp located near Meissen.

This is our first experience in the old East Germany so the differences in the buildings and the infrastructure we saw was interesting.  We need a few more days to decide if the difference is Bavaria vs Saxony, or West German vs East Germany.

Also today Google Maps let us down for the first time.  We decided to take the bus back to save a couple of miles of uphill walking.  We really rely on Google Maps to help us navigate and to use the transit systems over here.  It gives you good routes and even tells you what busses/trains to take and what stops to get off.  I do not know how we did it before.  Everything was going well and we got off at the bus stop Google told us to.  It showed a route for us to walk, and when I began to follow it it lead us to a hedge row and I heard a creek behind it.  I looked at the map and realized that it was sending us directly cross country not following a road or trail.  So our easy walk home became about a mile and a half as we circled the woods and the creek between us and our destination, we trudged along in silence me cursing Google, and Ton I am sure thinking I was lost again.

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