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Published: November 11th 2007
Essentially an open garden surrounded by galleries, being winter the pretty water fountains were dry(ish) as there was a little rain water floating around
Being in Berlin it was easy to jump a rattler and visit another german city for a couple of days. Dresden is only 2 hours by very comfy train and is famous for being almost completely decimated in allied bombing raids on 13/14 February 1945. Since then it has risen from the ashes and has been painstakingly rebuilt as a cute but kind of creepy replica. Now don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful town with lovely buildings, but it's feels almost a little too perfect in the way it's been rebuilt to replicate how it was pre-WWII.
I arrived in Dresden late morning on what I'd say was has been, in my experience, a typical German day ... cold, wet, sunfree ... and in my excitement it was straight down to the Zwinger and it's indoor museums - anything to get out of the cold.
I took advantage of seeking to stay warm by brushing up on my art appreciation at the Old Masters Gallery which is located in one of the wings of the Zwinger. I now know the difference between a master of art and a good artist as in the Gallery you have the opportunity
These little scamps run all along the Zwinger walls ... and inside the 'old masters' gallery has Rafaelle cherubs - such theming
to compare an original Rubens with a very good copy of the same pic produced in his workshop (but not by him). The quality of the finish, the lustre, the composition is far superior in the original which just glows! Also got up close and personal with some other old guys including Rembrandt, El Greco, Botticelli and some cheeky little angels who stole the show in Raphael's 'Sistine Madonna'.
After that it was food then back to Zwinger to have a squiz at good old Augustus the Strong's porcelain collection (suss if you ask me) and while lovely - not really my thing. Better was the Saxony royal family jewellery collection in the 'Green Vault' in the Royal Palace, or Schloss. Saw a nice little bauble in the second exhibition, but unfortunately they wouldn't let me take it away.
For the night I was staying at Lolli's Homestay in the Neustadt (New Town), which is a thriving little area on the opposite side of the Elba from the old city. A great little hostel - clean, friendly staff, good brekkie, nice lounge and kitchen. If you're ever in Dresden check it out. They even have themed bedrooms, I
The Schloss from the Zwinger ... rebuilt in the Renaissance style
really wanted to sleep in the Trabi room (old east german car) but it was booked.
Day 2 Dresden was a wander through Neaustadt to Albert Platz and the nearby New Parish Church (Dreikönigskirche) where for €1.50 I got to climb numerous staircases, both traditional and spiral until I found a door out onto a little walkway with fantastic views of the Dresden skyline in all directions. As it was raining (yep again - I was soooo surprised) I had the area all to myself. I did eventually go down and look at the church which is quite plain, but does have one section of the original church behind the alter. The rest is rebuilt.
Some retail therapy at the Neustadt Markt then down past a statue of Augustus the Strong, over the Augustusbrück Bridge (named after guess who) and back into the new town to visit Frauenkirsche, the Semper Opera, etc. My attempts to stick my head inside Frauenkirche were thwarted at every turn - first a wedding then a concert kept the church 'closed to the public'. Oh well, I've seen enough churches for the moment anyway.
Being turned away sent me in search of
other enlightenment and that I found at the Dresden Hygiene Museum, a wonderful hands on museum focusing on all aspects of health and the body. They had a travelling exhibition from the Bern Art Gallery on the subject of death - it was a great mix of a traditional and contemporary exploration of how death is or is not dealt with in different cultures. So if you're in Dresden before 30 March 2008, I recommend to check it out!
That was kind of it for me for Dresden, so back to Berlin for another couple of days before back to London and if you're lucky I might give you some more details on Berlin!
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