Monday, 15th April 1985
We still had the Lada, but before setting off for a day chasing trains we had a look around the town. Meiẞen did not have the rundown and neglected air of most of the small towns in the DDR that we visited, being somewhat of a tourist centre in itself, situated on the River Elbe and the home of a well-known Porcelain and China manufactory. We didn't have a huge interest in porcelain, but the commercial barge traffic on the Elbe took my interest at least.
|Meiẞen Cathedral overlooks the River Elbe and its barge traffic. This one appears to be from Czechoslovakia (as was)|
|A Queue, but we never did find out what for.|
The freight wagons were standard-gauge and worked through from the main line, being mounted onto narrow-gauge transporters for their journey to Jöhstadt and dwarfing the locos as they did so. We were only just in time to see this line working as it closed the following year.
The area we were now in was very close to the border with what was then Czechoslovakia. In contrast to the DDR's border with the west, that to Czechoslovakia was, at least in this area, somewhat nominal as we found out at our next destination.
The line from Cranzhal to Kurort Oberwiesenthal was very much a passenger railway, with the Kurort (or Spa) being a popular destination for visitors. Yet again we were linesiding rather than travelling, which did at least give us the opportunity for photographs. Despite the obvious attraction of lines such as these, railway enthusiasts were not very common and local people just took the railway for granted. But near Cranzhal we did come across some people showing an interest in the railway. From the car they were travelling in they appeared to be West Germans and although they were photographing the trains they were trying hard not to make it look obvious that they were doing so. We thought they seemed rather surprised at how openly we were taking our own photos, but then we realised that as we were travelling in a local hire car they probably assumed we were locals too.
The weather deteriorated as we drove south, although there were plenty of people out and about at Niederschlag.
|Nearing Kurort Oberwiesenthal with Czechoslovakia just over the stream.|
From Crottendorf we drove back to Leipzig to return the hire car to the Hotel Merkur. We arrived at 19.00hrs that evening, so having booked a 24-hour hire we were charged for an extra 4 hours. It seems we did 487km driving in those 28 hours, including the time we spent in Meiẞen, so perhaps it was just as well that we had a Lada rather than a Trabant!
Then, it was time to board to overnight express to Poland....