April 2007, Dresden

It has taken me too long to write this up, so unfortunately, it ends up coming across a little unenthusiastic. This is not the case; I have just forgotten too many of the interesting little details. If I remember more, I will add them with time.

In the spring of 2007, Patricia and I decided to travel to Dresden, our first trip together outside of Berlin. (It was also my first trip with my new Leica M8.) We booked the train tickets, made arrangements for a FeWo, and off we went. Upon arriving, we dropped off our luggage in our nice little Ikea-style apartment, and set out to see Dresden.

We strolled across the river, and walked along a Japanese Palace, as it was named. It looked much more French than Japanese, but there were a number of cherry trees in the garden, just blooming as we arrived. There was also a nice view of the Residenzschloss and the Kathedrale, across the river.
The Dresdener Neustadt was very mixed. Some nice old parts, one gaudy gold statue, some horrible old Plattenbaut, and a beautiful church, the Dreikönigskirche, from where we had a nice (but not so photogenic) view across the river.
Walking back across another bridge, we took the time to examine the map again, and headed for the Residenzschloss.
Afterwards we walked to the Frauenkirche, a recently restored old church which was almost completely destroyed in a much-criticised bombing attack on Dresden, near the end of the Second World War, February 13-15, 1945. The Frauenkirche is ablaze with pastel colours, looking much like a fancy decorated pastry, but apparently this is how it looked before the bombing.
We finally returned to the Zwinger, the baroque palace almost across the street from where we were staying. Large, flat, and surrounding a beautiful garden, we returned here several times.
At one point we found ourselves in a little mall, wondering what we should eat. Asking about the favorite local dishes, we bought an Eierschecke, a horrible little cake, something like a square pudding in layers of pastry. Very sweet, very wobbly. Patricia demonstrates.
On a certain wall and as part of the Residenzschloss, there is a large mural, the Fürstenzug, where lots of tourists congregate. The mural depicts the kings of Saxony. Of course, there were also modern knights in attendance. One kid gathered up the courage to touch the sword...
Also in the Zwinger was the Rüstkammer, a collection of armor and weaponry, and a fantastic place to take photos.
On the other side of the entrance to the Rüstkammer lies the Gemäldegallerie, or Painting Gallery.
At night, the Zwinger, and along the river, the Residenzschloss and the Semperoper are well lit.
The Semperoper was probably our favorite building of the trip. Beautifully restored, we took our only tour here to learn more in-depth about this interesting and famous building. Some Wagner operas debuted here, and many other famous composers were fond of this building.
Next to both the Residenzschloss and the Semperoper lies the Kathedrale, a beautiful church. Some of the corners in this interesting church looked so painterly that even photos take on that look. Especially the second shot, of one sideroom of the church, looks much like a painting. The decorations are mostly painted on in this room.
We finally visited the Residenzschloss, and went up the Hausmannsturm, from where we had a great view of the river, the Kathedrale and the Semperoper.
There is a second legacy in Dresden, from the years of East Germany, with both socialist murals and some truly horrific Plattenbaut. The lack of money combined with the desire to show off leads human kind down some very odd paths.
Dresden is a wonderful city, easily capable of supporting a long weekend, and also rich enough to support a week-long trip. Combined with the surrounding areas, one could even stay here longer and not get bored. The Saxons are very friendly and open, and have a neat accent. Interestingly, historically, the accent was highly desirable, but in more recent times, fashion has swung around, and it is now considered amusing in most of Germany. It is hard to find inhabitants who speak it the way it used to be spoken now, given the proliferation of T.V. and other mass media, as well as the easy ability to travel, and the tendency to go elsewhere for post-secondary education.