Frauenkirche, Brühlsche Terrasse and Zwinger, Dresden

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November 30th 2013
Published: December 2nd 2013
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This morning we visited The Frauenkirche or Church of our Lady which is a Lutheran church that has dominated the skyline of Dresden for over 200 years. An earlier church was torn down in 1727 to make way for the new baroque style building designed by Dresden architect, George Bahr. The church was destroyed by bombing in 1945 so it is actually a reconstruction. Rather surprisingly the rebuilding was completed quite recently in 2005 and yet it looks like it is 200 years old. Although destroyed by bombing perhaps they salvaged stone from the original church for the reconstruction to lend it that aged patina?

The church features a 96 meter high dome that we climbed so that we could take photos overlooking Dresden and the Elbe River. It was a much easier climb than the tower at St Peter's in Munich. A lift takes you up to the start of the dome and then there are some stairs, followed by a ramp that wraps around the dome. So much easier than stairs! Near the top there are some more, rather steep stairs and then you are out at the top of the dome; in our case in a rather bracing wind!! After taking a few photos we were glad to get back inside the dome to return to ground level. There are more steps on the way down because you have to walk all the way to the bottom; the lift is only to give you a head start on the way up!

Back at street level we ventured into the Christmas market between Frauenkirche and Brühlsche Terrasse that we had not yet explored. We bought a Christmas decoration from one of the stalls; I finally spotted something that looked pretty, but practical enough to carry through Scandinavia and back to Australia! There have been lots of beautiful Christmas decorations, but a lot of them are too bulky, not to mention too fragile, to contemplate purchasing.

There was lots of food on offer again this morning. We couldn't resist sampling some pastry cylinders that were being made by winding apple flavoured dough onto a wooden rod and cooking it over a bed of coals. There was also sugar and cinnamon involved. Yum, sort of like a doughnut, but crisper. We should have bought two rather than one between us!!

By this point we were at the end of the market and right under Bruhl's Terrace so we climbed the stairs to take a walk along the terrace. After a few photos from the higher vantage point we walked around past Semperoper to Zwinger which is made up of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, the Porzellansammlung and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon. We thought that we would go to the Gallery of Old Masters, but we would have had to queue for fifteen minutes to half an hour to get in. It's too cold to stand around queuing! Especially when there were other things to see. We opted for the Mathematics and Physics Museum which had another really interesting collection of clocks and scientific instruments.

From Zwinger we headed off the largest of the Christmas markets where we found some bread based, cheese and bacon topped culinary delights to savour. So much food and too few opportunities to sample it all! We wandered around the market for a little while, but then it started to rain so we took refuge in the shopping centre next door ... along with dozens of other people who had decided that it was getting a bit to wet to stay out of doors. We didn't stay long - or part with any cash - as it was time to collect our bags and organise a taxi to take us to the Dresden Hauptbahnhof (train station).

This afternoon we had allocated seats so we managed to board the correct carriage of the correct train for an uneventful trip to Berlin. On our arrival in Berlin though, it took us a while to figure out how to get out of the station!! Bernie wanted to buy Berlin Welcome Cards that would entitle us to entry to most of the key museums and unlimited public transport for three days. Eventually we found the tourist information office adjacent to the exit of the station so that killed two birds with one stone!

We arrived at Pension Gallerie to find a note from Angelika to say that she was at a restaurant nearby so we should call her and she would come to meet us. So, we tried the number on her note +49 (0) 30 25738 ... although it took us a while to work out how to get a + symbol on the iPhone (I used to know how to do that on the old Nokia!) but got a recorded message which we assume was along the lines that the number could not be connected, please check the number and try again. Next we tried 0049 etc, with the same result. Then we tried it without the (0) because that seemed sort of weird. Again we couldn't get through which had the usually unflappable Bernie using the F word!

So we looked at the number again with the aid of the torch app on the iPhone. Hmmn, maybe the number is +49 (0) 30 25138 ... Damn it's easy to confuse a handwritten 1 for a 7 in bad lighting. We managed to get through, FINALLY, using 0049, ditching the (0) and dialling 30 25138 etc. Angelika was with us in just a couple of minutes to let us into Pension Gallerie.

After standing around in the dark in front of a very unprepossessing building trying to reach Angelika our expectations at this point were quite low. What a lovely surprise the warm and tastefully decorated interior of Pension Gallerie was. After being shown to our room, Anglelika gave us a quick tour of the communal areas and explained the arrangements for breakfast. We headed back to our room to think about going to find some dinner leaving Angelika to rejoin her family who were celebrating her Mum's 75th birthday at the local Italian restaurant.

We didn't really want to go far for something to eat and we didn't really want to crash into the Italian restaurant in case Angelika thought we were stalking her so we thought that we might try the Thai/Vietnamese restaurant across the street. However, when we rocked up to the front door, there was not a soul in the restaurant. That's got to be a bad sign at 8.30pm on a Saturday night, right? So we ended up a the Italian restaurant just around the corner after all.

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