We woke up early, but not the sun woke us up. It was Silvia, singing and making coffee in front of our tent. Leni went out to take a look, but Josi, Dràgàm and Alica didn’t really want to get up yet. It was 6:30am. Dràgàm was sleeping under the sleeping bag that was used as a blanket. Leni came back into the tent and walked happily towards Alica, as usual over the sleeping bags. When she arrived at Alica’s head, she didn’t realize she was now standing on Dràgàm. Dràgàm’s head appeared from underneath the sleeping bag to see who was interrupting his sleep. All of a sudden the noses of the two dogs touched. We will not forget Leni’s face in this moment.

 

Her eyes got big, she slowly switched into reverse. Dràgàm remained calm and went back to sleep.

Now it was time to get up –  we had a couple kilometers to go. That early in the morning there was a beautiful view at Elster river.

After hundreds of tries of transforming the tent back into a target, we took off. We found out the best way to go across Elster is near Clodra, so we had to turn around and go straight back.

Suprisingly, the same path seems to be totally different when walked on in the opposite direction.

To cross the river, we had to walk over a bridge made of grated metal. Dràgàm knows things like that and walked across. Well, he didn’t have a choice, as Alica wass not in the mood to carry 25kg. Rocco and Leni were carried across.

We were looking forward to a little lake, that we had discovered on a map. When we arrived, it first seemed to be a drinking water lake (Talsperre Albersdorf), but we didn’t want to give up on our hope for swimming so quickly. At the other end of the lake, we heard some children playing, so we believed there must be a pool. Not at all. There was a former youth hostel which was now closed, but the space was open to the public. We walked past all the kids towards the water. Immediatly Silvia threw off her clothes and went for a swim.

Alica only went in with her feet. Of course, wearing her bare feet hiking shoes, as it was extremely muddy and also it seemed like a good opportunity to test the shoes in water. The test was rewarded with a huge blister at the end of the hike.

Josi neither went swimming, but Leni played happily at the shore.

We went on towards Berga, and again we met super friendly Vogtland people. As we had been walking in the sun for a long while, we were resting in the shade of a garage for a moment. We sat on our bags and Silvia saw her sandals were broke. But she didn’t say any more than “Oh, my shoe broke.”, Silvia would do such a hike on her bare feet.

Suddely a car came along, signalling it wanted to turn into the garage. We were instantly prepared for angry questions, about what we had to do here in front of their garage. Nothing like that happened. The people almost said sorry for having to chase us away, they asked whether we got some rest and wished us all the best.

Our way went on through beautiful fields.

The cellphone batteries were dying – the right time to test the solar panel. Josi attached it to her backpack with carabiners.

We soon noticed this was a very sensitive constructions. As soon as there was a little bit of shade on the solar panel, you had to re-plug in the cellphone to continue charging. Maybe it’s also because of our cellphones – iPhones are a bit fussy, when it comes to charging. Silvia, who is not interested in neither cellphones nor solar panels, was just hiking and whe we took a break she just wanted to rest. Doing that, she was extremely talented in taking a rest at a place where her shadow would be on the solar panel. Still an ear worm: “Silvia…you are standing in front of the solar panel..”…… Another nice moment was when Silvia complained: “Now I have to lay in the stinging nettles just so the cellphones can charge”. Our conversations more and more circled around the current percentage of our batteries. Again and again we heard an ironic “how many percent??” from Silvia in the distance.

The dogs had other worries. Every minute we rested for some navigation, they used for a break in the shade.

We knew there was a steep hill passage coming up, so we were searching for some ice cream to prepare for that last part of the hike! And we found some! Close to Neumühle/Elster we found a nice little cafè with unbelievably delicious ice cream.

The dogs were allowed to lick the ice cream left in the cups.

The last passage was exhausting, it went steadily uphill. But it was worth it. On the Hirschstein, the highest look out spot, there was a great view at Greiz.

Now went down again and very soon we found ourselves back at our car. We hiked a total of 60km and an altitude of about 2000m.

This hike shows – the Elsterperlenweg is great to hike with dogs. It is not crowded and dogs can walk off leash for huge parts (unless they tend to go hunt, but then just use a long leash). The people you meet in the villages and little cities are super friendly and the landscape is great. In summer, you get to eat a lot of fruit of the trees and bushes along the roads. It’s worth the hike, but don’t underestimate it, especially carrying heavy packs.

 

 

 

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