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Descriptions of several circular walks are available under ‘Reinhardtsdorf-Schöna’ at www.outdooractive.com. The ‘Malerweg’ path, which is frequently described in magazines and books, leads through our woods as the ‘Aschersteig’; the ‘Elbhangweg’, that can also be used as a jogging route, will lead you to it. See under www.malerweg.de

Popularly known as the ‘BURG SCHÖNA’ the house offers a splendid view of the Schrammsteine rock-face rising above the Elbe. The ‘Malerweg’ hiking path along with the ‘Aschersteig’ and ‘Schmilka’, provide hikers with ideal conditions and are merely 500 metres away. The ‘Zirkelstein’ plateau-like hill is located near to Reinhardtsdorf. Trains from the S-Bahnhof Schmilka-Hirschmühle local train station, but 500 metres away, reach Dresden main station in 50 minutes.

The term ‘Saxon Switzerland’ purportedly refers to two Swiss artists who painted the local landscapes during the 18th century. Many fellow painters followed in their footsteps to find inspiration for paintings, drawings and watercolours of the surrounding rock-faces, streams and torrents. The most famous among them was Caspar David Friedrich, who created his impressive painting entitled ‘Die Felsenschlucht’ around this time, and as he felt inspired to write: “Ich muss mich vereinigen mit meinen Wolken und Felsen …” (“I feel an urge to coalesce with my clouds and crags …”). Carl Maria von Weber and his librettist, Friedrich Kind, felt sufficiently inspired by the Elbe Sandstone Mountains to create the ‘Wolf’s Glen scene’ for their opera ‘Der Freischütz’ (‘The Marksman’, or, ‘The Freeshooter’). As a result, outdoor scenes for the film opera version of ‘Hunter’s Bride – Der Freischütz’, directed by Jens Neubert, were shot in and around the ‘Saxon Switzerland’ region and Dresden.

THE PATTERNS OF THE TILE MURALS DISPLAYED IN OUR HOUSE WERE INSPIRED BY CROP CIRCLE IMAGES. GEOMETRIC SHAPES APPEAR EACH YEAR DURING THE SUMMER, PRIMARILY IN ENGLISH CORN FIELDS. MEASURING UP TO 100 METRES IN DIAMETER, THE ORIGINS OF THE PICTOGRAMS ARE UNKNOWN.

In 1957 Erich Kästner included a perceptive description of a trip to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in chapter 14 (‘A climbing tour in the Schrammsteine’) of his autobiography ‘When I Was a Little Boy’: “Have any of you ever climbed up a more-or-less vertical sandstone rock-face? Like a fly on wallpaper? Pressed firmly against the wall? The tips of your fingers and toes in narrow cracks and crevices? Fumbling above for the next narrow niches and ledges? To pull up your left foot once your left hand has found purchase, until your toes likewise find a new footing? Then, after shifting your weight to the left, to repeat the manoeuvre with your right hand and your right foot? A quarter of a metre after a quarter of a metre, forever higher and higher, ten or even fifteen metres upwards until, finally, a rocky ledge offers the space and time for a brief respite? Yet then, with the self-same calm and caution, up the next vertical rock-face? You’ve never tried anything like this? I’ll warn the curious among you …”

An exhibit in the Richard Wagner Museum in Graupa, a district of Pirna, provides a recollection of the summer during which 33 year old Richard, together with his wife, Minna, had rented two rooms on the first floor of the farmhouse housing the museum. They did this in order to find some refuge and relief from the endless quarrels Richard had been forced to endure as conductor of the Dresden Semperoper. He’d found himself unable to clear his thoughts of the last piece he’d conducted there, Rossini’s ‘Wilhelm Tell’ opera. As he wrote, “our frequent trips out to the ‘Porsberg’, to nearby ‘Liebethaler Grunde’ or more distant ‘Bastei’ soon helped to calm and restore my frayed nerves”. It was here, during these three summer months, that he outlined his ‘Lohengrin’ opera.