And the wining Biergarten is the Biergarten on the south side of the Elbe River at Schillerplatz, the Schillergarten. It was the Dixieland Ompah band that made the decision easy. The band, "Dixie Liberties" from the Czech Republic was a mix of banjo, trombone, guitar, trumpet and clarinet; belting out, among other tunes "All of Me". They created a happy up-beat atmosphere for the festive open air party on the Elbe River.
A gaggle of geese, a raft of ducks, and a gargle of swans all gathered at the water's edge as 3 young children tossed the bread crumbs to the noisy group under their Mother's watchful eye. A few beers, a pork knuckle, stuffed sweet peppers, and a yummy chocolate, nutty candy thingy purchased from a street cart was a fantastic feast. This was a fine conclusion to great day that was filled with intense beauty, peaceful strolls, pastoral views, fragrant prolific wildflowers, charming shops, unique trinkets and continual surprises, including two hot air balloons ascending in the distance above the Elbe River at the beginning of the evening.
The morning started with a visit to three exhibitions at the Zwinger Palace. The Old Master Painters, Mathematics, and Fine Porcelain. The highlight of the main gallery was the Sistine Madonna by Raphael. The two cherubs who glance up from the bottom of the massive piece are often associated with Florence, but the original hangs here in Dresden.
I entered the Mathematics exhibit with mixed feelings, not really a numbers girl, but was soon in awe; the majority of the pieces were clocks and globes. Terrestrial globes, celestial globes, folding globes, ancient globes, very GLOBAL!
The Meissen porcelain collection featured a menagerie of over 50 LARGE animals, all from the 1730 - 1735 period. My favorite in the gallery was a complete dinner service depicting the sea; fish, shells, mermaids, and seahorses. Noontime change up - jump on the bus to Castle Pillnitz - along the way - ivy covered, gable-roofed, gingerbread homes with shutters, lace curtains, idyllic yards, and more lilacs. Hedges of lilacs, did I mention to you about the lilacs? And breezes, pollen laden breezes. Thank God for Zyrtec.
Ode to Spring
Oh, prolific pollen,
And castles, Oh castles, yes many castles! And mansions, old mansions, massive fields of mustard, all abloom. Did I say this place was beautiful?
The castle gardens - ah - formal gardens, conifer forests, massive wildflower fields with knee high grass and benches for enjoying the day. Not many people so it was very peaceful, tranquil, soothing and regenerating.
A 250 year old camellia bush, just beginning to blossom, I only spotted 2, red ones. The trunk, does a camellia have a trunk?, well this one did and it was enormous. The wind swooshing in the trees, the conifers with the pretty new spring growth such a vibrant and intense yellow green. Is that verdant? And they have an Orangerie. This is for orange trees, it's too cold to grow orange trees outside here so the Saxon kings liked to move them inside during the cold winters, gotta have more inside space for those orange trees darling, thus the Orangerie. Real estate opportunity.
Mid-afternoon, ready to roll . . Hop on one of the fleet of nine steam powered paddle boats owned by the Saxon company. The steamboats must tilt their stacks at each bridge, it's amazing and the fleet is meticulously kept and they serve awesome food and drinks on board. Cruise the Elbe River for an hour, eye candy consists of scattered horses, more castles, old historic churches, sail boats, kayaks, bikers on riverside paths, people out enjoying the day.
Jump off the boat and walk across the Blouen Wunder Bridge to the sky - tram, up, up and away to a vista point high above the city of Dresden. Built in 1895 and operative today and in excellent condition. Excellent views and fascinating tramway. On to the Biergarten, then, back to the hotel.
. . . Oh forgot to mention, moved to De Grand Hotel Taschenberg Palais, for one night. Saxon King August the Strong built the baroque splendor with timeless elegance as a Pledge of Love for his mistress....complete with a raised over-the-street passageway from the castle. Meticulously restored three hundred years later, following the complete destruction during 1945. My sweet dreams are coming. Goodnight. Until tomorrow, Dresden, Go Ahead and Take All of Me. Oh no, a blister?
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