Part Five : Campingplatz

July 14 - July 15

When Amy and I were deciding what we would see in Germany, we thought it would we cool to see a big city (Berlin) and a small city. This is because you get to see cool things about culture in small places that you don't get out of the big cities. So for our small place we picked Meissen, a city 27 km north-west of Dresden. This place was wonderful, complete with unexpected adventure. Adventure began when we arrived at the train station. We had used up our German phone card in Berlin, and we did not want to buy another one, figuring that although most German phones took only phone-cards, there would be at least one at the train station that took coins. We were right -- there was a phone at the train station that took coins, but because we arrived at 10 pm, this phone was in the part of the train station that was locked-up for the night. Unable to find a place to buy a phone card that we could use to help us find accommodation, we headed to the city center which fortunately had a map which listed the locations of some hostels and a campground. We set out for the hostel. The trek involved walking uphill for about 1.5 hours. When we arrived at the hostel, we found that it was closed for the night, so we banged on the doors for a while just to be annoying. We then decided (not at all tired and wishing for bed), "Fine, we'll just take our business somewhere else!"  Assuming that other hostels might close early too, we decided on the campground as our next target. We remembered roughly from the map in the city center that the campground, or "campingplatz", as it is known in Germany, was on a road parallel to the road the hostel we were then standing at was (the one we had decided we no longer wanted to give our business to). Since we did not want to descend back down the hill and then have to walk upwards on the parallel road, we figured we would look for a connecting street. It is logical for parallel roads to have connecting streets, right?  Wrong. After another hour of walking up dead-end streets we walked to where we started and up the road to the campingplatz. After another hour we saw a sign along the road that said, "Campingplatz, 3 km". Believe it or not, this was the good news. The bad news was that the road narrowed into a two-lane highway and it was pitch dark. We got our Amy's little flashlight and pressed on. The photo shows what the road was like.
Along our journey at night, we ran into several cute little slugs, such as the one shown. Amy found these so adorable she wanted a picture of one.
When we did arrive at the campingplatz, it was 3:30 am. Although it was quite dark and we couldn't see much, in the morning we discovered that the camping spot we had chosen was quite beautiful! Here's Amy standing at the tent. Behind her was a lovely little stream, and lots of trees all around.
This photo is quite similar to the first one. But because we did walk there and back, each time with our wonderful plecaki on our backs, I figured you can look at the photo twice. There was a nice view along our walk though. This is a good spot to throw in some travel philosophy. You see, there are the 'planners' and the 'non-planners'. The planners plan everything while the non-planners don't plan quite everything. It's much better to be in the non-planner category because no matter how much you plan weird and unexpected stuff will still happen. People will lie to you, change their minds, things will not be as everyone promised they would be. But this is good. Our time walking along a two lane highway in Meissen was one of the most fun experiences in Europe. In fact, a famous expression summarizing Plecak travel came about. Through-out Europe while weird things happened occasionally Amy would get worried and say "What are we gonna do now?!" (Actually I would get worried too, but for some reason I picked the always calm face). I would then respond, "Don't worry." On one occasion Amy said, "What do you mean don't worry!!!" She then proceeded to point out about 8 to 10 reasons regarding why we should be worried. I then explained the following, "Amy, perhaps we have a misunderstanding here. All these times that I've said 'Don't worry' I don't mean 'Don't worry, it'll be ok', what I do mean is, 'Don't worry, it'll be a surprise'." These are the greatest words of wisdom I have to offer you regarding travel: "Don't worry, it will be a surprise!".
Meissen. A lovely city. In the background you see the former ducal palace and Meissen Cathedral, pretty Gothic structures. Porcelain was invented in Meissen. This to Amy and myself will always be Campingplatz-ville or Campingplatz town or Campingplatz something-or-other.
Inside some of the rooms in the palace you are asked to wear soft-soled slippers on top of your shoes so that you don't damage the floors. These are fun, you can skate around like in ice-skates. The architecture and artwork in this palace was well worth seeing.

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