Thursday, July 15, 2010

GERMANY TRIP BLOG - DAY 14 – 6-5-10 - OLD TOWN DRESDEN – Parade of Nobles – Franken Church

Got up before the others, around 7:30, starving, so went down to breakfast before everyone else.
The eating area crowded again. Sat at a table with a couple. The lady had a neck brace on. I think she hurt herself boxing. Her husband trains her (he boxed but lost his first match and gave up since he wasn't winning enough). They left shortly before Matt and my folks arrived.
Back in the hotel we packed up, and Matt loaded the car.
We walked to the grocery store and bought additional food to eat during today’s long drive. We drove away around 10:00.
I read and highlighted info. about stuff we saw on June 3rd, then Dachau, and finally things we'll see in Dresden. After lunch, read a funny sci-fi story (I’d read the night before) out loud. Mom laughed. Knew she would.
We ate lunch at a picnic table at a rest stop. The toilets were pretty gross. I changed my mantra, "If I can do Italian toilets, I can do anything." Took a pain pill with lunch (meat, bread, light potato chips that were super tasty, cherries, and the last few cookies Marlies sent with Mom for our trip). A while later, took an anti-nausea pill, which helped. Ate more candy (reading to myself from the sci-fi anthology) and finally felt the discomfort and nausea recede.
We filled the tank with gas and a teenager washed our windows. He had a scar on his neck from a 3rd degree burn. Matt wasn't sure if he was supposed to tip him or not, so he did. The guy was super happy. We drove on to our hotel. We were in the car 3 1/2 hours.

We stayed in a Westin that was pretty fancy (and Matt said cost more as a result). We checked in, let the porter take our luggage up. Matt returned our rental car. I learned from the porter how to say "New Town" and "Old Town" in German. A bridge over the river divides the town. Mom fished out some money so I could tip the porter. Our rooms are on the same (no smoking) floor, but a long walk away from each other. Matt arrived at the same time as our porter.

We walked in the hot (but not super unbearable) sun around Old Town Dresden.

AUGUSTUS BRIDGE – Reconstructed. Built over the Elbe River. Connects New Town to Old Town.
During 2002 floods, water came 2/3 up the arches.

ALBERTINIUM – Reconstructed historical building. Museums inside are under reconstruction until 2011. Surreal to know that work is still being done so long after the WWII bombs.

KING JOHN – Reconstructed. Black statue of King John (mid-1800's ruler) on a horse.

ZWINGER PALACE – Reconstructed. Shiny new clock on outside.
Home of the Witten dynasty. They ruled Saxony for 800 years – until WWI. Augustus the Strong (prince elect of Saxony & King of Poland) kicked off Saxon's golden age.
"Zwinger" means the no man's land running along the city wall.

PARADE OF NOBLES - 1907 – mural located on the back of the palace.
24,000 tiles of Meissen porcelain (fired at 24,000 F). 700 years of Saxton royalty. Authenticity attempted for costumes, weapons, etc.. Dates and names are written below the important people. Wilhelm Walther, the artist, put his face at the very end of the mural (also the most current section). He’s facing out from a group of common laborers. Near the middle, 1694, is August the Strong, with his horse stomping on a rose (symbolizing Martin Luther to gain the Polish crown).

HOFKIRCHE (Hof Church) – Reconstructed. Green copper steeple
Built by August the Strong's son (a Lutheran) because the Pope would only allow him to be King of Poland if he built a Catholic church in Dresden. 5% of the people in the town today are Catholic.

SAXTON STATE OPERA HOUSE – Reconstructed. Nicknamed "Semperopter" after architect, Gottfried Semper

PALACE OF CULTURE MURAL – 1969 (earlier, we mistook it for Parade of Nobles by accident)

FRANKENKIRCHE – (Church of our Lady) – Reconstruction finished 2005. Original built 1743. Black stones seen outside are originals (about a third of them). They’ve been put back in their original position. MARTIN LUTHER – Stature outside church

ALTAR - 80% original material (2000 pieces put together). Shows Christ praying in Garden of Gethsemane, surrounded by angels.
The cross in the center of the altar is 2 nails from a sister city that was obliterated in the nearby town of Coventry, England.

TWISTED CROSS - Near the exit is a twisted cross that was on top of the church when it was bombed in WWII. It was lost in the rubble until 1995, it's where they found it. The new cross on top of the church was made by a coppersmith, son of one of those who bombed the church.
DOME – Outside the church, there’s a hunk of rubble from the dome. A small metal picture of the church placed on the piece of dome shows hole where the hunk came from.

BALCONY OF EUROPE – "Bruhlsche Terrace" – located by the Elbe River

Once Dresden's defensive wall. Circles with an "X" in the middle show openings for canons.

Lots of street performers out today. One guy, below the mural, had gray makeup on his skin. His jacket and hat were the same color. Black material fell from the back of the golden frame. Looked like he was a painting, until he moved or if you looked at him from a different perspective. Very clever.
Mom and I stopped and got 2 (small but tasty) scoops of ice cream.

I was hot, thirsty, and tired as we walked back to our hotel. No word or call from Peter and Marlies, who are supposed to join us here. Matt read an English newspaper. Mom and I were about to go to our rooms, when Mom heard Peter, so she went to him. Matt said Peter and Marlies have to check in and go up to their rooms anyway, so I went to our room – famished.
Ate and watched some TV, then suddenly got sleepy even though it was only 6:00.
Fought it off as I typed notes of what we did today.
I was SO SLEEPY, Matt suggested I stay in the room tonight and use Room Service for dinner. He met with Mom, Dad, Peter, and Marlies. I ate, organized my suitcase, and then was awake, so sorted photos (over a day behind). Got sleepy again and fell asleep around 9:00. Matt couldn't believe I wasn't on the computer when he came in.

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