ARRIVAL (Jun 17)
John was invited to give a talk at a conference in Dresden, which
inspired us to take a few days and drive around Germany visiting
half of the 31 World Heritage Sites in the
country. Of course, the World Heritage Committee is holding its annual
meeting the week after we return home, so we are on the edge of our seats
waiting to learn if the Dresden Elbe valley becomes de-listed from the WH list or if any new
spots are added that we narrowly missed.
Our trip started out very well with two on time flights with a very
short connection in Frankfurt. I thought I had done a terrific job of
light packing getting almost everything into one small roller-bag within the
allowed dimensions, but neglected to
consider the check-in weight limit of 8kg and our 10kg bag had to be checked.
After an overnight flight, we arrived Tuesday afternoon and took a cab to our hotel.
We loved our fabulous pie shaped room at the Art'otel in
Dresden. The room is filled with glass windows and the bathroom
is both a work of art and surprisingly functional with a wonderful large bathtub.
Dresden's old town is at our fingertips, but jet lag kept us from doing much on day one.
We walked to the Agustusbrucke (Augustus Bridge) and took in
Canaletto's view and continued to the odd
wave art form in the middle of the bridge.
We saw many cafes in
the square, but had already had a very good meal at our hotel.
The hotel's restaurant is called "the factory" referring to Andy Warhol.
I'm glad we included a soup starter for that meal :-).
Perhaps it was the jet lag, but I found the official looking
sign posted in the elevator about a problem with a car very amusing.
"Dear Guests, Would the owner of the Renault Laguna please contact the reception."
DRESDEN (Jun 18)
We woke up very early, partly from jet lag, and partly from
the sheet metal cutting project that commenced outside at 3am.
We thought it might be an art project, but they were just fixing the street car tracks.
excellent breakfast buffet, hearty German breakfasts were a staple on this trip, we made a
quick trip to Deutche Bank for cash which took twice as long as expected.
We circled Prager Str. for too long looking for number 8 after finding 3 & 7.
We visited the Zwinger, which reminded me tremendously of places I
saw in Poland. Not surprising, since the Saxon King Augustus the Strong was also
King Augustus II of Poland.
We found the Math and Physics collection closed for renovation so
walked around the courtyard and up top looking at the very many
contrasting brand new clean ones by their sides. We didn't visit the
porcelain collection which billed itself as the second largest
in the world. So, who has largest? Trenton, Tennessee claims to have
the largest porcelain teapot collection and I find many other places claiming
the largest (insert special subset) porcelain collection on their
web pages, but I'm not sure
who rivals the Zwinger's 20,000 pieces.
We continued our morning museum hopping with a visit to the
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen which includes several
collections with separate ticketing. There was a
shocked expression on the ticket seller's face when it
became clear that we wanted tickets to the Azerbaijani collection
and not the green vault. We had been
sucked in by the robot on the big billboard advertising the
Steps of Time exhibit which looked like "our kind of thing." The
robot part of the exhibit turned out to be just a photograph of the
sculpture and not the sculpture itself. There were a few
cool items, including a video tour (think safety first)
of a rusty ship, part of a collection of abandoned rusting hulks on Nargin Island.
The map of non-nuclear countries had us confused for a while.
We returned to the cashier and purchased
Neues Grunes Gewolbe (New Green Vault) tickets.
This is a collection of
1000+ items like the cherry pit with 185 faces carved on it.
The collection also contains a very large green diamond, but who needs jewels when
you can have carved cherry pits. Other high points
included the carved coconut shells, some huge nut from
Surinam, leather traveling cases, and the woman continuously
wiping non-existent smudges off with window-cleaner.
For lunch John had a "swiss salad" which didn't have any
vegetables in it (pickles don't count). Lynn had the first of
many bratwurst and sparkling water (Abenstaler Quelle). By the time
our trip ended, I was feeling like "The Player" with all the different
water brands we had.
After lunch John went to his conference and I attempted some
nearby geocaches. The German geocaches turned out to be a
difficult breed. Some problems stemmed from translation
issues plus a trend toward multi-step calculations before one
could obtain the final coordinates. Count the number of lead levels
and add that to the second digit ... wait what's a lead level?
I did find one
geocache at the
in Dresden and thus learned the German word Brunnen means fountain.