September 29 –
This tour ended with an enormous “bang” as we had great weather and a beautiful, excellent ride to finish this Czech/German cycling adventure. We rode out of the “hill country” leaving Schmilka headed to Dresden. The group actually broke into two parts, four riders and one guide (Milan) for the group that would ride the entire way to Dresden; and the larger group that would cycle about 15-20 miles then catch a paddleboat the rest of the way along the Elbe, north to Dresden.
We began by heading through Bad Schandau, and enjoyed some lovely paths, sights, ferries, and pauses along the way.
We pulled into the lovely little town of Pirna, definitely a spot to which we must return. Its lovely square sits high-ish above the river. Really pretty. A nice local lady, whose bike was on the rack next ot ours, was asking Jack about his rear-view mirror, attached to his glasses temple. That conversation evolved into Milan doing some translating for her, and then answering her question about our destination for the day—which led to the discovery that our intended path was blocked (under construction), and she recommended a detour to keep us out of the urban traffic. So we unexpectedly ended up re-crossing the river and heading north on the left bank for a while. The detour might have added some miles, but hat addition it was of no consequence.
We stopped for a late lunch about 3 miles outside of Dresden, and enjoyed brats and beer at a lovely old beer garden, soaking up the sun, and savoring our final cycling day.
Quite frankly, arrival in Dresden was anticlimactic. Jack and I were astounded at the progress in rebuilding the city that has been accomplished since our last visit, some 10 years ago.
Milan, Jack, Craig, Mary and I waited for the others outside of our hotel (the QF Hotel), located directly on the main Old Town square of Dresden, and had a celebratory beer. I forgot to mention that we finally reached a full complement of riders on this day. Allen had emerged from the van on Day Three, John on Day Four, and Michael—who, behind our group, elected to ride with Vlasta from the boat all the way to Dresden—on day Five. At least he got one day of riding in — and what a glorious day it was, too.
Our closing celebratory dinner was held at one of the oldest taverns in Dresden, Kurfurstenschanke, founded in 1708. During our meal we met our guide for our exploration of Dresden by night, an actor playing the part on the city’s King Augustus II.
After dinner, we gathered for our tour, and our guide was engaging and funny, articulate and knowledgeable. It was quite a fun tour, although most of us were very tired by this time. It was, however, a good launching point for our free day in Dresden tomorrow.
- Ride time: 2:45 hours
- Stopped time: 3 hours
- Distance: 34 miles
- Average speed: 12MPH
- Fastest speed: 26.5MPH
- Ascent: 172 ft.
- Descent: 359 ft.