I caught a picture of two tired but agreeable ("Smile for the camera!") California girls in the seat behind us.
We picked up our key cards in the lobby of the Maritim Hotel Dresden and went to our room.
This was the view from our hotel window.
We both dived into the beds after dinner and slept like dead people all night.
In the morning we were bused to the old city center of Dresden which is on the Elbe River and is the capital city of the free state of Saxony.
There has been a lot of upheaval in this city's history but the largest, most controversial, horror was the bombing of Dresden in February of 1945. In the final months of World War II, the allied forces bombed the city center and destroyed 15 square miles of it. To this day there is still discussion about the lack of moral discernment for this bombing by English and American forces and whether it was justified.
Is this ever "justified"?
here is a site that talks about the bombing and some of the history. When you read this link or this one, you will have some idea what the meaning is of the expression "War is Hell!" and why Winston Churchill distanced himself from the horror and the reality of this part of the war.
Some of the most historic building were not reconstructed until 2007.
The 18th century Frauenkirche, the Dresden Lutheran church, was destroyed in the bombing.
This is how it looks today with Martin Luther standing, again, in front of this beautiful church and its magnificent dome.
This is the Swinger palace.
It was wet and very cold, with a slushy snow falling, now and then, but we all smiled for the camera. It was a good group of people. The tour gave us each a copy of this picture. That's me, on the right, with the red hat on... looking cold, as usual. In my defense, the couple from New Zealand looked cold too. I was using the scarf that should have been around my neck to cover my camera. Priorities, priorities...
The guy that is squatting in the middle of the photo is Carl, with a "C", our intrepid tour director. He was always smiling... and never looked cold. But, he lives in Austria. He probably thought that this weather was balmy.
From the palace, we walked to the Semperoper ( the opera house) and then down the Stallhof (Stables Courtyard) of Dresden Castle.
The Fürstenzug is located on the outer wall of the Stallhof (Stables Courtyard) of Dresden Castle.
There was so much to see and we saw so little of it. The weather and the amount of time given to us before we had to be back on the bus made it very difficult to see this beautiful town and the amazing buildings and museums.
They did give us options. We could stay there and walk back to the hotel... in the icy rain... later on...down some long and empty streets along the river. Or get a taxi (did that in Berlin). I decided to go back on the bus. Sis stayed with the other ladies.
I ate "in" that night. I ordered a salad. They brought it up to me under a silver dome. Never did that before.
I ordered a Chicken Ceasar salad that was really good. I won't even tell you what it cost me to order food up to my room but it was worth every bite. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself to the finer things in life. Maybe I was starting to feel a bit under the weather, but I felt comforted by this one splurge. I sat and watched the BBC news. It was the only thing on TV that was in English. Then, I got into my jammies and read until Sis came home. She took a taxi back to the hotel. Smart girl. She said that some of the others decided to walk back.
She looked at my empty food tray, looked over at me and smiled. Then she went strait to bed.
There is a sadness that seems palpable in this town and it wasn't just the weather. It's there in each of the blackened stones that were used to rebuild the city center. It is a city of perseverance and suffering. One that payed a high price for a war that was lost.
The next day we took a optional excursion to Meissen.
Meissen is famous for the manufacture of porcelain , because of local deposits of kaolin and something called potter's clay (potter's earth). Meissen porcelain was the first high quality porcelain to be produced outside of the Orient.
The drive was not too far and the scenery was beautiful.
We went on a tour of the Meissen porcelain factory. We saw how the porcelain is made and decorated... and, of course, there was a store that you could buy anything you wanted. A small trinket, like an ornament, was hundreds of dollars. It is very expensive china that is ornate and hand painted, but not something that I would want to buy. My sister felt the same, so we chose to go to the cafe and drink tea out of beautiful porcelain cups and have a quick bowl of soup. Sis went for the hot bean soup with toast and I went strait for the ice cream. Let me tell you about this dessert that we shared.
We didn't share our dessert with them. Not very nice of us but, oh well, sometimes you just can't share, no matter what you've been told as a child. It was that good.
This was a beautiful town, small and old, with some charming houses.
Oh this is so beautiful. Look at the third level. I would bet that's a sleeping porch for warm summer nights. Oh, yes. A charming sleeping porch... This is one of those "bucket" list things.
One more stop before we drive back to Dresden.
This market was small and charming.
We bought a few gifts, walked around until we got cold and then returned to the bus.There were others already on the bus. It had been a long day for many of us.
We headed back to Dresden and another good nights sleep. The next day we left for Nuremberg.