Friday 5th September
A lovely sunny day and we spend the morning relaxing. However Karen was again challenged. This time Karen had to make the big decision – which bakery to go to! Within a few minutes walk we have about three bakeries and also a bake house at the nearby Rewe Supermarket. After buying the rolls she heads off to the supermarket and purchases tomatoes, cheese and ham. After a yummy lunch and early afternoon nap we are refreshed enough to make the 30 minute walk into the old town of Dresden via the new town. Lots of people are out walking and bike riding, especially in the area near the river Elbe. First we walk along a long tiled mural, Fürstenzug, which depicts a procession of royalty through the ages. We back track a little and go through the old town gate and past the Residenzschloss and a number of cafés with views to the Frauenkirche spoilt a little by ongoing building works and what appears to be archeological diggings. After a brief visit to a new shopping mall where we each purchase a new top to help us handle the cooler than expected weather we have been experiencing we head to a cafe for our afternoon shot of hot schockolade and a taste of the local delicacy quarkballchen. These are like little fluffy donuts with a slight cheese taste. Our next stop was the tourist information centre. Outside near the Frauenkirche a group of buskers are playing the Hallelujah chorus. Just marvellous!
We make our way along a street full of what appears to be very touristy restaurants. One is named Ayers Rock and is serving kangaroo steaks with local beer! Back along the river we go taking a few more photos of the impressive skyline. Adding to it are two hot air balloons cruising past. By now we are becoming leg weary and walk back along Königsbrücker to our apartment for a shower. We then take an easy option and eat in the Bit’n Burger restaurant below the apartment. The outside tables are long and seat eight. We end up sharing with a young local couple who are keen travellers and happy to share travel stories. They have just returned from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. According to them tomorrow’s afternoon tea needs to include eierschecke, a slice in three layers – cake topped by sultana custard topped by a glazed egg custard. Traffic noise again does not stop us from quickly drifting off to sleep.
Saturday 6th September
After a fascinating day in Meißen (see separate post) we returned by train late in the afternoon to the main station, Dresden Hbf, we got off so we could see more of the old part of Dresden. It was busy as we exited the station. In fact it was more than that it was hectic. And why? Well the chanting soon alerted us to why. We were in the middle of a Dresden Dynamo crowd heading off to the soccer all decked out in yellow and black and many carrying crates and bottles of beer to imbibe at the game if it hadn’t already been drunk on the way there. Once clear of the station we stopped to observe the crowd. Near us was an elderly man who had also drawn aside to avoid and observe the crowd. We started chatting. It turned out he was Dutch. Like in Australia you wouldn’t see beer being carried like this to a game in the Netherlands he told us. After awhile we continued to the old town through a large shopping area we hadn’t t seen before.
We returned to the same cafe we had been in yesterday. This time we tried the eierschecke slice. It really was as delicious as the young couple had told us last night! From there we wandered around to the Zwinger and looked around the gardens and fountains and sculptures. Really quite stunning. We crossed the road and continued past a gradually building crowd at Semperoper, the magnificent opera house, to the tram stop waiting for a tram 8. After about 5-6 minutes it came and we were soon back at the corner where our apartment on Königsbrücker is. We dropped off our gear and headed to the Rewe supermarket and purchased chicken fillet, salad, mushrooms and pasta which we turned into a very tasty dinner. A relaxing evening watching the US Open tennis and the World Cup Basketball Championships preceded another good sleep.
Sunday 7th September. (Father’s Day)
Brrrr! Karen’s alarm tells us to wake up ready for the first of our Skype calls for the day, Father’s Day. Chela and Scott are calling us as they have been hosting lunch for all the Allison’s. We spend about forty minutes chatting with all the different family members, catching up on their news and telling them ours. It is a fun and different way to start the day. Next we have muesli and toast and tea for breakfast. We lounge about for the morning using the iPad and watching TV. As the two bakeries Karen has been to so far in the area are closed we try a third one. We purchase rolls and apple slice and return to the apartment for lunch. We pack lightly and walk into the old town again along a route which we are well familiar now. A light drizzle starts so out ame the umbrella for the last few minutes of the journey.
First stop is the Frauenkirche. It is busy inside and there isn’t a mass happening at the time we arrive so we take a seat and view the inside in all directions but especially up. It is a huge domed cathedral. It is a shame that many of the visitors are disrespectful of the no camera use sign. Yes it would be good to snap away but not good form. As we leave we put the umbrella up again as the rain has intensified a little. We walk over to the Residenzschloss, the inner entry courtyard of which is covered. We decide we will look at the two main collections, the historic green vault and the new green vault with all the armoury as well. The historic green vault is first. Sadly photography is a big no no here too. There are ten chambers. Each with a particular focus, be it amber, ivory, silver, bronze, gilt silver, ruby glass, heraldic shields, mother of pearl etc. the craftsmanship and artistry is amazing. The way it is displayed is as close to the original 1700s way too. August the Strong really planned things well, although we suspect he was keen to flaunt his wealth as much as anything. After considerable time in the historic Green Vault we cross through a courtyard and up the red carpeted stairs to the new Green Vault.
Here we saw crystal, precious objects, jewellery collections of all the precious stones, sword collections, some jewelled and some not. Upstairs there are displays of armour and weaponry as well as life size models of jousting knights from the 1500s. After a number of hours we are ‘museumed’ out! It has been fascinating but our legs, brains and eyes have had enough. We come out of the old city via the main gate and walk across the August Bridge and into the Neustadt area. There is a pottery market happening here. Lots of practical pieces with interesting glazes and then some quite unique artistic designs. Purchasers will need full wallets as the prices are certainly not cheap however. We take a brief look but continue on back to our apartment. Another home cooked meal followed by a Skype chat with Todd and Lee finishes off Father’s Day.
Wednesday 10th September
After two days of walking in the Elbe River valley we have designated this a rest day in the morning. The laundromat gets another visit and we updated emails and blogs. After a lunch of yet more of the wonderful rolls from one of nearby local bakeries we walked through Neustadt and down to the Elbe River. There are good paths for cyclists and walkers here to share. This afternoon we were looking for the elusive skyline photo of Dresden’s historic old town. The clouds are keeping the sun at bay and we take quite a few photos hoping for the best.
After walking along in both directions from August Bridge we crossed over to the other side and walked along Brühlsche terrasse to the east. At the end we come to the Neue Meister (New Masters) gallery. Their current exhibition is Architekt/Busdriver/zwei brücken (architect/Busdriver/two bridges) and as it is free we decide to go and look. There is an audio visual show, photos, paintings and a large wooden sculpture. Some of it is very good and some is difficult to connect with visually and aesthetically but overall it was worth a look.
We continued our walk past the Albertinum gallery and the Frauenkirche to the Fürstenzug mural which we were keen to take in one more time. From there we crossed over the bridge, past the golden statue of August the Strong and along the Hauptstraße of Neustadt. As we are becoming tired a brief cafe stop was in order. Karen enjoyed a dark hot chocolate and I tried a white hot chocolate. Both were very good! A piece of cherry crumble slice completes our order. We returned to our apartment a little saddened with the knowledge that was our last walk around the fascinating and beautiful old part of Dresden.
Dinner was a huge departure from anything else we have eaten here as we ate at the nearby Asian restaurant Baguettes and More. Our meals were both Vietnamese, Karen’s being vegetarian with tofu, mine similar with chicken. The food was excellent and we enjoyed the wide variety of Vietnamese art on the walls. Tomorrow it will be farewell to Dresden for us.