Monday, June 25, 2012

Dresden - the old city

After a good breakfast at the hotel, we set off to see the sights of the old city of Dresden. We crossed the Augustus Bridge over the Elbe River. The bridge is not as old as it looks since it was built between 1907 and 1910.

The river flooded in 2002 to a height of 9.4 meters.

Much of what you see in the following photos was destroyed or damaged in the bombing of February 1945.

The Catholic Hofkirche.

The Royal Castle.

The Semper Opera with tram. Although we did not need to use it, Dresden has a very good tram system.

The Zwinger, which houses an art museum.

From the platz between the Opera and the Hofkirche.

Inside the Zwinger grounds.

The grounds had unusual patterns carved into the grass. I decided to get on Google Maps to take a look and yes, you can see the pattern. Look about an inch or so north west of the A and zoom in.

View Larger Map

The moat at the back of the Zwinger marks the end of the restored area. All the other buildings further away from the river are modern.

The V was perfect.

I presume that the black marks on the above two statues came from the fires.

Modern Dresden just  a few yards away from the restored palaces.

A stretch Trabant. Now that is the way to get around in style.

Inside the Hofkirche.

An interesting modern alter in one corner of the church.

Damage from bullets. Dresden was captured by Ukrainian forces on May 8, 1945.

Mysterious arches and passageways.

You wonder what can they be looking at.

And then you see.

Our Lady of Justice statue showing what it originally looked like. 

Passageway to the New Green Vault in the Castle.

Along the side of the passageway are paintings of the Electors of Saxony. Unfortunately you can't take photos inside the Vault. Although I am not a big fan of jeweled gold and silver objets d'art, I must admit I was impressed by the craftsmanship on display. We only went to the New Green Vault. The main Green Vault is difficult to get into and is supposedly even more impressive.

We did visit the Turkish Chamber and found it fascinating, especially the large tents.

Roof over the courtyard at the Castle.

Outside again and a fleet of these things trundled by.

The Fürstenzug (Procession of Princes). The mural is 334 feet long.

Because the mural is made out of tiles, it was virtually undamaged by the heat of the fires caused by the bombing.

We came out of the Museum and thoughts turned towards lunch.

Even though it was a very grey day, there were bunches of tourists, mostly German.

It was a lovely bicycle and eventually the lady had dressed up as a statue.

This cafe looked sufficiently elegant enough for us so we went in for a bite to eat.

It was quite pleasant sitting at the table and there was a blanket provided if Marianne felt chilly.

We both had cappuccinos and I had a piece of  Dresdner Eierschecke.

Marianne suffered through the Apfelkuchen mit struesel.

We felt the prices were quite reasonable.

After lunch we headed into the Dresden Frauenkirche along with what seemed to be every tourist in Dresden. It opened at 1pm.

It is an amazing reconstruction.

There are several other museum buildings. Since I wanted to visit the Semper Opera House, we gave them a miss.

We did take the time to walk in the Brühlsche Terrasse gardens.

My friend Geoff in Australia sent me a message about the Elbhangfest that was due to start the day we left. It looked like this was going to be the site of the Festival. No doubt a lot of beer and bratwurst would be consumed.

Tour boat on the Elbe.

The gardens are quite pleasant but not as extensive as those in Fulda. However, the girth of this tree trunk was impressive.

This looked like it needed a statue. 

I took a quick look in one of the museums and there was this curious exhibit by a Japanese artist in the foyer.

We did not get down into this area but it is obviously the food area.

A group of what we think are Linden trees.

The branches all intermingled together.

This dog is really flat out.

Marianne waiting at the Semper Opera for the English speaking tour at 3pm. She had hurt her ankle before we left for Europe so walking on cobbles was difficult.

While we waited, I went for a walk back to a part of the Zwinger that we had missed.

There were still quite a few tourists.

By the time I got back Marianne had made herself more comfortable.

Everybody lined up at entrance #2 for the tour that started at 3pm. While we waited, quite a few tours in German started off. Considering that they must do this every day, the process was not particularly well organized and it would have been a shambles if it had started to rain. The cost was 8 euros so the Semper Opera was making a lot of money. There would have been hundreds per day going on the tour.

It's very ornate inside. The tour guide mentioned that these marble columns are not in fact marble but some emulsion painted on top of brick columns. It took many false starts to get the technique correct.

I didn't take photos of the auditorium but the shape reminded me of the Academy of Music in Philly. The acoustics are supposed to be the best in Europe.

When I was looking up tourist attractions in Dresden, this massage place kept appearing in the top twenty. It turned out that it was just down the street from our hotel. I did not inhale.

We went to a different restaurant in Neustadt for dinner and Marianne had a lamb stew that was a bit too salty. It tasted great to me.

I had a pork schnitzel that was ok but not wonderful. The Hofbrau beer was definitely not as good as the Czech beer from the night before.

After dinner we strolled along the main drag in Neustadt and there were a few buskers. This group sounded pretty good playing Summertime, but another group about 50 yards away had a violin that was not quite in tune.

We were not the only older couple strolling about. We followed this couple for a while.

We really enjoyed our time in Dresden and Neustadt. Unfortunately the skies were mostly grey but at least the temperature was only about 70 degrees and there were not too many tourists about.

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