Dresden- Day 2
So, as I was lying in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I think to myself: “My, this corner of the Neustadt is quite noisy.” And I was lulled to sleep by the sweet sounds of heavy metal from the bar below and the laughter and chatter of those drinking at said bar. Then, as with yesterday when the Neustadt/hostel kept outdoing itself, I was awoken between, I’d say, 2-3 AM by CCR’s greatest hits blasting from somewhere outside our window and a drunk girl yelling along with the lyrics. And this lasted for about 20 minutes. Hahaha. Since I like classic rock, this didn’t bother me too much, but I find it quite hilarious. And that was only a Thursday night- I dread to think what tonight is going to be like! Also, I’m not 100% sure it was CCR, but it was classic rock and I knew all of the songs, so it’s possible. I was trying to figure out who it was as I was listening, but I couldn’t get it, and CCR came to me in my sleep, so I’m thinking it was, in fact, them.
Anyway, I awake this morning and, boy, was it a slow-rise. Number one, my bed was super comfortable. Number two, I was (and am…) quite tired from all of the traveling. I peeled myself out of bed and got ready for the adventure of today. I took the tram back to the Altstadt area (I bought a day-ticket) and immediately went for the Frauenkirche. This is the famous church of Dresden that was burnt down in World War II, kept as ruins in the GDR as a reminder of the horrors of war (plus they had no $$$ to rebuild) and then rebuilt quite quickly once Germany reunited. Now, I must say, I find this church hideously tacky. It outdoes any other church I’ve ever seen- the inside looks like a wedding cake exploded everywhere. Baby blue and pink are, seemingly, the only two colors they used, and everything is adorned in gold. Blech. Pictures weren’t allowed in the place, and I would have tried to snap one, but there were guards everywhere. Anyway, I had to get out of there STAT. So I went to have to some breakfast at a nice little restaurant near the Kreuzkirche, apparently (as my map told me) a good antidote to the Frauenkirche. Low and behold, they were right!
The Kreuzkirche is gorgeous. It’s going to have to take spot #3 for most beautiful church in Europe. It’s simple and the inside looks like it’s all simply plain stone. The altar is simple and smaller, but very nice. I got a picture of this place (even though I wasn’t supposed to) since there weren’t any guards around. I went to the top of the tower here (for a ¼ of the price of the Frauenkirche) and enjoyed a nice view of Dresden.
From there, I walked around the Altmarkt a little bit and did some window-shopping, which was nice and relaxing, but it was really hot… Then I made my way to the Fuerstenzug, which is the world’s largest picture made out of porcelain. It’s on the side of the Residenzschloss (which is being renovated) and it’s pretty neat! All of the old baroque sites are kind of piled on top of each other, so it was hard for me to find my way around and figure out what was what. But I eventually found the Zwinger, which is pretty much a fairground complex that has now been turned into museums. There is a glockenspiel with porcelain bells (the famous Meissner porcelain comes from here) and it’s very pretty.
I then decided I should take in some art at the “Alte Meisters” gallery in the Zwinger. I should not have decided this. I sort of talked myself into it because it’s something that you’re “not supposed to miss” but it’s really not my kind of art. Although, I did get to see a special exhibition of Carl Gustav Carus, whom I had never heard of but was pals with my man Caspar David Friedrich, and it’s quite obvious. As I was looking at one of Carus’ paintings, I thought “Geez, this looks like Friedrich did it” and low-and-behold, once I turn the corner, there was a little info piece about how Friedrich heavily influenced Carus. Anyway, Carus is pretty good. I really like Romantic art- most pieces are of landscapes or cityscapes and people just happen to be in the picture but are hardly ever looking at the viewer. It creates an interesting effect. Also, I got to see Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, which is the gallery’s most famous piece. It’s the one that has those cute, little super-famous cherubs at the bottom, ya know? Anyway, after I saw that, I booked it outta there because I couldn’t take the art anymore. Sadly, the “Neue Meister” gallery, the one I would have enjoyed much more, is undergoing renovations after the 2002 Dresden the flood, which destroyed a lot of the building and works (not to mention a lot of other places and houses in Dresden).
So with the entry ticket to the art gallery, I got “free” into the Ruestkammer, which is August the Strong armory. This was super neat! I got to see tons of old swords, guns and armor. And even though I had no idea what any of it meant, it was fun to walk around and pretend that I lived in medieval times haha.
From there, I explored the Zwinger a little more and found the “Nymphenbad,” where in the old days, people had to sneak of to in order to kiss and stuff. It was actually quite pretty. Then, I walked to the “Bruehlsche Terrasse,” also known as the “Balcony of Europe,” which is situated between the Elbe and all of the Baroque sites. Quite nice.
Then I took the tram back to the hostel as I was getting hungry and had to use the bathroom. I decided that I would eat at the famous currywurst place in Neustadt. I found it easily and was very satisfied! They have this homemade, signature “peanut sauce” that they put on their wurst- yum yum! The place reminded me of BTB in Ann Arbor, as it was a small, little dive place but very cozy J. And to make things even better they were playing Asher Roth’s “I love College” and it reminded me of all the wondrous nights in 1225 (shout-out, heyy!). Of course, I then had to end my day with an ice cream from Café Komisch- this time I got strawberry twisted with vanilla! Good choice! I enjoyed it once more in the Alaunpark, which was as always, full of people. Again, I wish I had come here with friends so that were could grill and hit around a shuttlecock, as so many groups of locals do.
Tomorrow, I’m going to eat breakfast at the hostel, which they have for 3 Euro and make my way to my to the train. Another long day of trains ahead of me!
All in all, Dresden has been a satisfying trip. I’m glad I stayed in the Neustadt, because it’s much less full of tourists and has locals everywhere. Thank goodness for the “local” map that I got at the hostel- otherwise, I wouldn’t have done any of the things I did in the Neustadt! I’m glad I got to see the historic and beautiful sites of Dresden. There were some paintings in the “Alte Meister” gallery of Dresden in it’s heyday, while August the Strong ruled (he built up the city to what it was post WWII and without him it’d still be a little village), and I think Dresden would have been extremely fascinating in his time, but alas it is 2009 and therefore, I am enjoying my modern experiences in the trendy Neustadt J. I really would love to come back here again with friends and do some of the “local” things that I didn’t get to do.
I was going to reflect on my trip in general now, but I think I’ll save that for when I get back to Freiburg. I really miss that place… even though I know it’s going to be so weird going back there and none of my friends will be there. Hopefully SOMEONE will be around the guesthouse, otherwise I don’t know what I’ll do with myself…
Anyway, until next time…which will be from Freiburg!