The second part of our long weekend to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary was spent in Dresden.

I had previously spent one night in Dresden in 2009 with my friend Morissa before I moved to Germany.  We had been to Oktoberfest in Munich and then spent a few days in Prague.  We stayed in Dresden before continuing on to Berlin, where we parted ways because she was meeting up with her son and some friends and I was meeting up with Sean to celebrate his 50th birthday.  (He didn’t make the first part of my trip because he was still in the Coast Guard at the time and was out at sea.)  Because it was basically a stopover, I didn’t get to see much at the time and wanted to go back, plus Sean hadn’t been there and wanted to see it.

Dresden was pretty much destroyed in February of 1945 during World War II.  When I was there in 2009 I was shocked to see how much rebuilding they still had to do.  In the almost 4 years since my last visit it’s been built up a bit more, but this photo is an example of what you see around the city.  The black and white photo shows what this section looked like before Dresden was destroyed.  It’s a blocked off construction area now but there are these little cutouts like what you see at the left so you can see what’s going on. 

If you read my previous blog on Görlitz, you saw that I mentioned several times how hot it was.  Well that was a walk in the park compared to Dresden.  It was really unbearable.  We had arrived there in the early afternoon and luckily our hotel there was air conditioned.  I refused to go back out until dinner time because it was so hot.  Sean was anxious to see the city so he went out to get the lay of the land while I stayed cool.  When I finally went out so we could have some dinner, I ended up having some bruschetta, some gazpacho and a caipirinha.  Couldn’t deal with hot food. 

The next day was supposed to be even hotter, so I told Sean I was getting up at 5:00 a.m. so I could be out sightseeing at sunrise to avoid the heat of the day.  I think he hoped I was joking but I most assuredly was not.

So, off we went at 5:30 a.m. the next day and it even though it was already 73 degrees at that time, it was pretty awesome.  It was a Sunday, which tend to be quieter days in Germany anyway, but there was hardly a soul on the street so I was able to get photos of things without people in them.  My cousin Deirdre has a friend who goes out sightseeing and photographing at sunrise as a matter of course for that very reason, and I now see the wisdom in that.  I think this is the way to go from now on.

We had dinner right near this building the previous evening and I thought it was interesting.  The frieze in the photo has 32 naked, dancing children on it.   The original frieze was constructed in 1535.  In trying to research information on this, all I can find it bad translations of German articles so I’m not really sure what happened to the original freeze.  The building was destroyed in WW II, but parts of the original frieze were recovered after the war. I’m just not clear on whether those parts were used to reconstruct the frieze seen in this photo or whether they were used on another building.  In any case, I liked the frieze.

This next photo shows the sight most people come to Dresden to see.  It’s the Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady. 

The church was destroyed in WW II and was rebuilt after the reunification of Germany thanks to donations from around the world.  The church was reconsecrated in 2005, so you see how long it took to rebuild – over 60 years.  When it was bombed, the church had burned for 2 days before collapsing and temperatures had reached about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit while it was burning.  The rubble was just left there while Dresden was part of Communist East Germany.  The East Germany government had wanted to put a parking lot in its place at one time but public outcry prevented it. 

This statue in front of the church is Martin Luther, and the statue survived the bombing.

Here you see the Parade of Nobles on the left.  It’s a mural that is made of 24,000 tiles of porcelain and commemorates Saxon history.  This is one of the few things I remember seeing on my first trip to Dresden as my hotel was right across the street from it.

Some evil-looking dudes guarding part of the palace complex.

Here you see the sun is just rising over the Elbe River.  You can see some steamboats in this photo.  You can take tours on them as well but the word “steam” in the weather we had just completely turned me off from that idea.

The new clock on the Royal Palace.  6:00 a.m. now as you can see by the time on the clock and getting hotter by the minute!

The Saxon State Opera House.

A statue of the composer Weber.  One of his operas was the last one to be performed here before the original opera house was destroyed in WW II.  It was also the first opera to be performed in the new opera house after it reopened.

This is the Zwinger, the palace complex.  The buildings are now museums.  If you read the Görlitz blog, you may remember Augustus the Strong and his “orange sickness” as well as his “porcelain sickness”.  Well, ol’ Augustus used the buildings here in the Zwinger for a bit and there were orange trees planted here – in porcelain pots, of course.

This guy at the Zwinger reminded me of the guard from the Wizard of Oz. 

Sean and I always laugh at the poses we see women making when having their photo taken.  Here he is doing his best imitation of the typical hand-on-the-hip-one-knee-bent pose at the Zwinger.

The Rampart Pavilion at the Zwinger.  This is where Augustus’ orange trees used to be. 

Another part of the Zwinger – the Glockenspielpavillion.  The bells you see here on either side of the clock are made of porcelain.  We were lucky enough to hear them ring the previous evening when we were walking around.  This building contains the porcelain collection of Augustus the Strong. 

The Cholera Fountain from 1845.  It survived the WW II bombing and was originally built in thanks that Dresden had escaped the worst of the cholera epidemic. 

This was formerly the Taschenberg Palace, which was the palace of the crown prince.  Destroyed in WW II, it was rebuilt and is now a luxury hotel.

The walkway bridge you see here connects the Taschenberg Palace with the Royal Palace.

This building was built during the communist regime and the mural is left over from that time.  Notice the red star.

Nice little section of the palace complex with the Frauenkirche in the background.

These people were obviously taking advantage of the early hour with little vehicle and pedestrian traffic as well.  Not sure what the story was here but this guy was photographing and videotaping this woman in all different poses/places.

This is a close-up of a section of the Parade of Nobles that you saw earlier.  That’s Augustus the Strong himself on the horse.

Testing out the panorama function on the camera.  A bit crooked but oh well.  There’s the Frauenkirche and surrounding building.s

According to Rick Steves, the locals call this dome the lemon juicer.  I liked the way the light was peeking through the clouds at the angel on top of the dome.

This is the other side of the Frauenkirche.  The big hunk of stone you see in the left foreground is a piece of “rubble” from the original dome when the church collapsed in 1945.  I guess I’ve always thought of rubble as being tiny pieces but obviously it’s not.

Another peek at the Elbe River with the sun a bit higher in the sky now.  You may be able to see Sean in this photo as well.

The bells of the Hofkirche are in the building on the left and we heard them ring when we got to this spot in our early-morning tour.

Here we are on the Brühlsche Terrasse, which overlooks the Elbe River.  Still not a soul in sight.

The bridge you see is the Augustus Bridge that links the old and new towns of Dresden. 

That was the end of our early-bird tour.  On the way back to the hotel, we passed this restaurant.  Sean said he was sorry, but he would never eat at a restaurant called Mangoo.  Just ponder that for a second.

When we got back to the hotel it was around 7:45 a.m.  We had breakfast, showered and napped for a bit.  There was no way I was going back out in the insane heat before dinner time so Sean went out to visit a transportation museum.  That was fine with me as I have little interest in looking at old trains and planes and stuff like that.  I sat in the air conditioning and read. 

When we finally did venture out for dinner, we went to a place near our hotel that had a restaurant in a cellar so it was fairly cool.  Despite that I still couldn’t fathom eating any hot food but Sean had no problem with it.  Here you see that I started off with a cucumber salad and a caipirinha while Sean had some hot potato soup and a beer.

For the main course, I had cold cucumber/yogurt soup (delicious!) and Sean had sauerbraten. 

And for dessert, I had something called blueberry mousse.  It really was frozen blueberries with vanilla whipp347

ed cream and fruit.  Again, delicious.  Sean had dark and white chocolate mousse with some fruit.

The men’s room in the restaurant.  Interesting. It appears to be an ad for a play or something.  As best as I can translate this, it means “Country Eggs or Farmers Looking For Women”.  I’m sure I’m missing something in the translation.

And this was the cigarette machine in the restaurant.  Tobaccoland?  Really?  With a little gnome and everything?  “Hey kids, come to Tobaccoland and ride the Cancer Carousel!”

The Frauenkirche was luckily open for a couple of hours on Sunday night so we visited after dinner when it was a bit cooler and less crowded.  I’ve seriously been in hundreds of churches across Europe and have never seen crowds like this visiting a church. 

This cross is from the original church and was recovered in 1993.

The nails that make up this cross are from a bombed church in Coventry, England which was also destroyed in WW II. 

The whole church has a very light, airy, feel with pastel colors.  You may be able to tell this from the altar.

Here I am at the end of the day sitting outside, having a mojito and trying to stay cool.  That’s the Frauenkirche again in the photo.

The next morning after breakfast we headed back home.  Of course that was also the day the heat broke and it was going to be over 20 degrees cooler in Dresden but what can ya do.  We enjoyed our anniversary trip and are looking forward to future travels.

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