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Saturday, 7 November 2020

Book IV ~ Chapter 3 ~ The Shortest Journey


After our stay in Saxon Switzerland, we now head out for one of the main event locations: The city of Görlitz near the easternmost point of Germany. It should be a fairly short journey, but it nonetheless starts with some excitement as we have to walk along the Car-Car Happy Road one last time…

…and at the station we simply take the next S-Bahn to Dresden, which is already waiting for us here. This time around, the "S-Bahn" is even more unusual than the last time.

Our route today should actually be the shortest of all our travel-segments during our Germany tour, on accounts of both Saxon Switzerland and the easternmost point of Germany being located in Saxony. As such, we can also save a bit of money by buying a Sachsen Ticket. This pretty much works the same way as the Quer-Durchs-Land Ticket, only that it limits one's activities to a single state of Germany. Pretty much all the states have one of these (though I'm not quite sure about Hamburg and Bremen, what with them being city-states and all).

Anyway, despite Google trying to sell me a kinda funky four-and-a-half hour route via Cottbus, I was able to find a much more direct route that takes about two hours less going over Dresden and then straight to Görlitz with the Dreiländerexpress ("Three Country Express") or "Trilex", which as the name suggests is an international service line connecting Poland, Germany and Czechia.

So, not only should this be the shortest journey of our trip, but it should also have the fewest legs. During the first of those two legs, we would be…

Leaving Saxon Switzerland Behind

The ride back to Dresden is essentially the same as the one to Bad Schandau reversed, and yet it's different. Now that I've actually walked these mountains and suffered through a few more or less gruesome trials in them, I have formed a sort of connection that fills me with just a bit of sadness at having to leave them behind.

The S-Bahn itself is actually rather empty. Not empty empty, but still empty enough that we can pick our seats freely and not have to worry about the Green Shnolz.

And then, the train starts moving, and since I always shoot my movies out the right-hand window, this time around I get the view that I missed on the way here, featuring the great river Elbe, and views on a good number of impressive mountains, including the Bastei and its famous bridge, the Lilienstein and even the Königstein in the distance before exiting onto the plains surrounding Dresden and finally arriving in the city itself.

We arrive in Dresden at 9:58, approximately 45 minutes after departing from Bad Schandau. With a 30 minute layover to our next train, we're in absolutely no rush, and as such can take our time looking at this really cool multi-storey station once again.

However, before long we're done and ready to board the Trilex, which will take us all the way to Görlitz. You can tell right away that this one is not operated by the DB since it's a much more modern model of train.

Shortly thereafter we embark on the second leg of today's trip taking us…

East All the Way

This part of the ride should literally take us to the easternmost station in all of Germany. The tracks continue after that, but the next station after Görlitz is already in Poland. Meanwhile, along the way we pass places with names such as Radeberg ("Wheels Mountain"), Bischofswerda ("Bishop's Anyone There"), Bautzen ("Builtzing") and Reichenbach "Riches Stream".

This time around, the train is just a little bit fuller, but still nowhere near what I'd call crowded.

Also, I believe I already mentioned that the Trilex is significantly more modern than the old train-wrecks operated by the DB. Here's some features that a train of the 21st century employs, such as really good display screens and free WiFi that actually reliably works all the time. Also, since this is a regional train that does not stop at a station unless necessary, there's a Request Stop button the likes of which are usually only encountered in buses.

This ride should be somewhat different, for the tracks are lined with trees on either side almost constantly, making it hard to get a good shot out, and larger gaps in the trees are far and few in between. Nonetheless I am occasionally able to observe the mostly flat landscape full of green fields beyond – featuring occasional villages and hamlets, as well as hills in the distance – as we speed towards our goal of Görlitz with rather respectable velocity.

Despite covering a much larger distance, this ride should not even take twice as long as the previous S-Bahn ride, and come noon we're already in Görlitz.

From here, it's really just a short walk to our next Airbnb place. However, this time around it should be...

A Check-In with Obstacles

Our stay place is only about 5 STEPs away from the station, as well as 10 STEPs from the Polish border to the east. Getting there is a breeze…

…especially considering that this time around we can walk on proper sidewalks all the distance. Luxury!

And even on this short walk, we already pass by one of Görlitz' many beautiful historic buildings, the red St. Jakobus Cathedral from the late 19th century.

Before long, we reach the Airbnb place, and while it does not exactly look luxurious, at the very least it seems to be somewhat less run-down than the Rietzschgrund.

However, getting in turns out to be somewhat of a problem. There is no one to greet us, and we don't have the code of the key boxes at the door. Fortunately, this time around I am well-prepared and have the phone number of our host at hand. It turns out that for some strange reason, the check-in instructions did not get properly displayed on Airbnb, so he manually sends us the code via SMS, and we can get the keys out of the key box.

The next obstacle is the lock. A lock of old make that has seen much wear and tear, it takes a special technique to get it to open up, even with the correct of the four unlabelled keys. It takes me a few minutes to figure out the right combination of pushing, lifting and turning with the correct key to get the door open and allow us access into the stairwell.

But that's not all. Naturally, we did not get precise instructions about where our rooms are located. Fortunately, after climbing several floors with luggage and all, we come across a resident who points us into the right direction. It goes without saying that it's at the ground floor, hidden in a side corridor.

And then, we're finally in our actual stay place, which is a very pleasant surprise after the Rietzschgrund.

From here, we should explore Görlitz and its surroundings, and streak out towards the easternmost point of Germany. However, that is a tale for another time, and will be covered in the next chapter of the Travelling Fox Blog.

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