Elbe paddle (day 2): Decin to Stadt Wehlen

Today: 38km |Total: 62km

Yet again i am completely exhausted while writing this. Only difference, it’s a few hours earlier. It goes without saying that both Alex and myself slept pretty well last night (despite the random fireworks of a campsite neighbor). By 6am day 2 was underway (for daddy at least).

Relaxed breakfast and packing up. Takes all a little time with an 8y old and also for me with the extra gear (i go obviously much lighter on hiking trips). On top, the gate closest to the river was locked until we got out 8.30am. 15 minutes later we were paddling again (the plural form arguably incorrect). From Decin it was about 16km to the last Czech village – Hrensko. Funny enough we saw the rivercruiser ‘river allegro’ … My dad used to be the capitain. Here is him performing Jonny cash’s ‘I walk the line’ to his passengers. 

 

I remember the place too well for cheap petrol and cigarette shopping when i was younger. No such interest today. By lunchtime we were paddling in German waters and were greeted by the mighty sandstone hills of Saxon Switzerland… HEIMAT.

Bodycheck: That i am a novice paddler goes without saying. Hence i can feel muscles i didn’t quite know exist. Despite gloves the hands feel the strain and so does my bottom… Somehow i wonder how it will feel on this tiny saddle during my Sultan’s trail bike trip in September. 😲 The other bit is the constant sun exposure. There just no trees on the river 🤣

 

Before we even stopped for lunch we met granddad again. Bodo had some business in the small village of Krippen and came to greet the canoe team. We agreed where Alex will go off-board today.

Finally lunch (pasta carbonara out of the bag) and a little stretch in the city of Bad Schandau. There is a spot with sandbanks near the Toscana Therme. Really relaxing.

 

From there it was only a little more than an hour to my hometown of Koenigstein with its iconic fortress towering on the hills. Mum and dad came to pick up Alex and I was off for my solo section. Only 9km to go for today.

Waterlevels (Pegel) vs. Speed of waterflow – the higher, the faster (but current pegel is only 60cm and falling)

  • Pegel 100 cm = 3,6 km/h
  • Pegel 240 cm = 4,4 km/h
  • Pegel 300 cm = 4,6 km/h
  • Pegel 410 cm = 5,4 km/h
  • Pegel 550 cm = 6,1 km/h
  • Pegel 750 cm = 6,7 km/h
  • Pegel 800 cm = 7,2 km/h

P.S. All for Pegel level in Dresden

The last stretch takes you through arguably the prettiest part of the national park – Rathen and the Bastei. Thankfully the waterflow was decent enough for a little passive paddling to take in the scenery. Simply stunning.

 

And then i had reached todays target – the campsite of the german canoeing association near Stadt Wehlen. By air, the village i grew up in (Naundorf) is only a stonethrow away. For many years my football team SV Struppen joint forced with the youngsters of Wehlen and on numerous occasions i walked here on mens day (=drunk 🙃). A trip down memory lane.

Good night. Tomorrow off past Pirna and Dresden towards Coswig. So for me the last time in known waters.

Gute Nacht! 🏕 🍻 🍲

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Elbe paddle (day 1): Usti n. L. to Decin

Today: 24km |Total: 24km

Today my canoe journey from Usti nad Labem (CZ) to Cuxhafen (DE) kicked off. After food shopping with mum yesterday, we left Koenigstein about 11am on Sunday and drove over to the start in Usti. First job was to assemble my Ally 15 folding canoe. Took some sweat and just above one hour thanks to many helping hands. Thank you!

From there the journey got underway. Todays target was Decin (a place where they had more goods in my childhood than at home … Long live united Germany) , the last larger city in Czech Republic before the German border. Due to the hot weather the water levels were low at about 80cm (2-3m are normal) and hence not one big ship to be seen (in fact, no other boat at all).

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Although the water still flows at 3km/h on average, it was tough going with permanent head winds. Without paddling you basically stand still. When the wind disappeared 6km/h plus were feasible. Sunshine was relentless and so Alex and I reapplied sunblock many times.

The scenery was a mix of the Bohemian Switzerland hills, fishermen, old factories and shipyards and little villages. Plenty of birds also around though the elbe otter we spotted just as he went for a swim was the highlight.

After 4,5h and 24km (5.3km/h average) u reached Kemp Decin. Carrying all the gear up from the riverbank was the last test. Thanks to the kind fella from reception for his help with the canoe. Quick dinner, shower and off to bed.

I feel pretty exhausted. But happy. Tomorrow the first full day and one of the biggest highlights of the trip – my hometown and the beautiful Saxon Switzerland. Nite, nite…

Hip Hop Kemp 2017: hanging out with sister ft. Morlockk Dilemma & DJ Access

Hip Hop Kemp 2017: hanging out with sister ft. Morlockk Dilemma & DJ Access

Already before I departed for Nepal my sister proposed to have a brother / sister weekend in the Czech Republic. Running in its 16th edition, the hip hop kemp in hradec kralove brings together a mix of hip hop music from the visegrad countries, germany, UK and US. They offer more on smaller stages such as b-boy dance offs, freestyle rap battles, a reggae beach corner and the infamous backspin stage.

Friday night: opening act sets the tone

We drove about 2,5h from Königstein to Hradec Kralove in a rather hot day (32 degrees and blasting sun). After a quick check in and a short taxi ride to the festival, we arrived 3.30pm – right on time for the opening act on the main stage: Morlockk Dilemma (Leipzig) & DJ Access (Dresden) who are friends of my sister and had put us on the guest list (thanks man!).

Here a few of their tunes on spotify.

Morlockk knew exactly what he was doing and got the crowd behind him easily and by spitting plenty of solid lyrics at us (in fact, research done in germany suggests he uses by far the most words in his peer group and beyond). I have to say that i haven’t been much involved in german hip since my days at university. In fact, the last hip hop festival i attended with my sister is 17y ago. Anyway, i got pretty quickly back into it.

I struggled a little with some of the acts afterwards – either way too loud volume or rap in a language i don’t speak (polish, czech etc), which i guess kills the point of rap. Given the locals went wild though i guess it was good stuff. We enjoyed ourselves chatting away and getting food.

We spent a fair amount of time with Morlockk and Access before they had to retire to be ready for their early morning ride to their next gig in Dortmund the day after. We stayed and didn’t get home before midnight (fighting the sleepiness) – just in time for a last beer at a local pub where two drunk fiddlers let their tunes fly. Good skills!

Sightseeing in Hradec Kralove

Saturday morning started with an average hotel breakfast before we went on a 1,5h walking tour. H.K. is a small city with some 90k inhabitants an hours drive from Prag eastwards. We could have taken the boat from Königstein given both towns are on the river Elbe (well, not really an option). The outskirts we saw when driving to the hotel looked pretty rough still and in communist fashion. The historic city center, however, is really pretty and well restored.

Highlight on the trip is the 72m tall white tower. Great views once you have mastered all the stairs. There is also a theatre, many churches and squares to be seen. Given it was lunchtime by the time we finished walking, we headed for a traditional czech restaurant. For me beer & goulash, for sister wine & duck. Needless to say, we left the place in good spirits!

Saturday: less sun, more fun

By 5pm we were back at the festival. Again a german group kicked of the action on the main stage: Mädness & Döll (Darmstadt). They too knew how to rock the crowd and we enjoyed listening & bouncing about. We didn’t return to the main state before 7pm for Rah Digga (USA). Powerful lyrics from New Jersey i believe. By now we had met two german guys (one originally from Russia, the other Kazakhstan). Funny characters to be honest.

Time for dinner! Frances wanted the stir fry we had the day before. Tasty. We chatted with a slovakian guy, admired the sun and met a group of polish girls. Olla liked to talk with my sister and (unsuccessfully) tried to talk her into sharing her spliff.

Highlight of the evening was MC Rene – by now a classic (time flies). He played on the backspin stage and really rocked and gave the whole event a really nice finish. Time was up for us as we had to leave early next day to catch my flight back to Russia.

Next stop Issad. Time to do milk some cows. 🐮👨‍🌾🇷🇺