Not the best start to the day. I sat on the toilet and the seat hinge snapped. This has left me in a bad mood for two reasons: (1) I am sad that my arse is so enormous that a toilet seat can’t bear its weight, and (2) the seat subsequently slipped, pinching aforementioned enormous arse, thus hurting more than just my pride.
Once the toilet seat debacle is over, we check out. We had planned some more sightseeing in Berlin but the weather is hideous so we set off instead on the 115 mile drive south to Dresden.
Before we leave, I attempt to buy some postcards. I enter the shop, spend a not inconsiderable amount of time selecting my postcards, then approach the cashier. She tells me she doesn’t open for another 15 minutes. I thank her for letting me know so promptly and depart empty handed.
My weather App claims it’s fine in Dresden. Right on cue, after 110 miles of driving through rain and fog avoiding hundreds of Polish lorries which appear to be involved in a huge game of Dodgems, the clouds turn a lighter shade of grey and the rain finally stops.
I have visited Dresden once before, in 1988 to attend a football match. It was the day I introduced my German boyfriend to English cider, thus the memories are somewhat hazy. This time, I shall attempt more sightseeing and (marginally) less drinking.
We arrive in Dresden at lunchtime, so head for the Yenidze, a tobacco factory built in 1907 in an oriental style with chimneys resembling minarets. It is topped with a golden cupola surrounded with stained glass. It allegedly contains a rooftop beer garden with spectacular views over the city which is allegedly open. However, when we reach the 6th floor beer garden, there is a handwritten sign directing us to a horribly overpriced restaurant upstairs instead. We descend and buy some pizza rolls in a nearby café.
After lunch we head for the south bank of the river to the old town, an area which was devastated by British bombing and a subsequent firestorm in 1945. Many of the buildings have been restored to their former glory. There’s the grand 19th Century Semperoper and its funky modern offspring Semperoper 2 with weird faces on its corners.
Next door is the Zwinger, an 18th Century
baroque palace built for Augustus the Strong after he returned from Versailles with palace envy. Onwards to another palace, the 15th Century Residenzscloss, former home of Saxon kings. It contains a large collection of treasures, which we don’t go to see because it’s expensive and we’re tight.
Instead, we continue to the 1960s Kulturpalast, all glass and socialist murals. Then cross the road to the spring market where we take a break and have a beer.
We round off today’s sightseeing at the Frauenkirche. This church was literally reconstructed after the war. The altar alone consists of 2000 separate pieces, all painstakingly stuck back together like an enormous 3-D jigsaw. Outside, the building is made more striking due to the combination of burned black original stone and pale yellow modern pieces which join together to form an almost replica. The contrasting pieces act as a reminder of the devastation which took place here.
We finish the day with dinner at the rather dubiously named Zum Schiesshaus. I have chicken in cheese and horseradish, which is delicious. While the old man opts for the ‘large’ pork escalope; basically a flattened pig.
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