’12 Oct: Dresden, Leipzig, Stadthagen, Germany

Dresden, Leipzig, Stadthagen/Hanover, and other interesting places.

It’s been all about…

August 24

It’s been all about eating out with friends for days. Not much better than that – friends and food.

Tomorrow is our Un-Birthday Party for the girls, and then Sunday, Bon Voyage!

Aug 27-03 Budapest (leave lax on the 26th)
Sep 04-05 Sopron, Hungary
Sep 06-15 Vienna (+Salsburg and/or Bratislava)
Sep 16-18 Brno, Czech Republic
Sep 19-25 Prague
Sep 26-04 Wroclaw, Poland to Dresden
Oct 05-06 Hanover/Stadthagen
Oct 07-16 Berlin

I arrived by train…

I arrived by train today, Wroclaw, Poland to Dresden, Germany.

Not my pictures, but here’s what happened. The Dresden football team, the Dynamo had just won a match against Aue 3-1 and the train station was packed with a huge crowd of giddy beer drinking fans (a beer for each hand and a six-pack in a bag) and an equal number of police.

It was crazy to be so crowded, but not at all scary since the police were not brandishing weapons or wearing riot gear, and the fans were not being particularly loud and, thankfully, they weren’t pushing.

I’m settled now in a very interesting room in a property of a large business hotel chain, more to follow because it’s just a room but an interesting one.

(internet pictures)

…the man in this…

…the man in this group joined us and we had a great long talk. His son is in college here in Dresden attending the same school he himself attended. He’d grown up entirely in the GDR and had so many interesting stories.

Later his wife and daughter joined us. Wow, what fun.

…around the palace complex…

…around the palace complex and since I was the only English speaker who turned up it was a private tour.

The guide was a Syrian guy who had come to the GDR in 1984 from Syria to study and had stayed on, taking up tour guiding when he couldn’t get a job as a physicist. I talked to him at some length about his family members who are still in Syria and he was very upset and very concerned.

He said he couldn’t reach his mother for weeks but now he has talked to her and knows she and the rest of his family is ok. He had plenty of ideas about who should be helping and how they should be doing it!

The Katholische Hofkirche, The…

The Katholische Hofkirche, The Catholic Church of the Royal Court of Saxony, and since 1980 also known as Kathedrale Sanctissimae Trinitatis, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

Augustus The Strong converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism in the early 1700s in order to become the Hapsburg’s King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. His son had this cathedral built.

From UNESCO: “The 18th-…

From UNESCO: “The 18th- and 19th-century cultural landscape of Dresden Elbe Valley stretches some 18 km along the river …

“The property, which features low meadows, and is crowned by the Pillnitz Palace as well as numerous monuments and parks from the 16th to 20th centuries in the city of Dresden, was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2006 because of the planned Waldschlösschen Bridge.”

My favorite story when…

My favorite story when told by the guide. It really looked awesome too. Here is boring old Ms Wiki’s version:

“The Fürstenzug (English: Procession of Princes) in Dresden, Germany, is a large mural of a mounted procession of the rulers of Saxony…

“…It was originally painted…

“…It was originally painted between 1871 and 1876 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty, Saxony’s ruling family (the longest ruling family in Europe).

“In order to make the work weather proof, it was replaced with about 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907. With a length of 102 metres (335 ft), it is known as the largest porcelain artwork in the world. The mural displays the ancestral portraits of the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings of the House of Wettin between 1127 and 1904.”

The Dresden Frauenkirche, the…

The Dresden Frauenkirche, the Church of Our Lady, is the Lutheran landmark church in Dresden, Lutheranism being the vast majority religion.

You can see some of the other reconstructions here most finished (other than the grand historic structures) after 2005.

They’ve done facades where it will look like there are several different buildings on a block like there used to be but behind the facades the whole block will be taken up by a hotel or a shopping center. You can see a similar square of reconstructions at the beginning of this day, the square just outside my hotel is all new.

I’m not sure they did such a wonderful job of this but maybe that’s because huge sections were all built at the same time and it has a suburban housing tract feel, so we’ll have to wait – and time will tell.

What made the little…

October 2

What made the little bitty room at the Ibis Hotel so interesting: you could clean that baby with a hose. The toilet is mounted on the wall and all the floors are easy-clean laminates.

Just as an example the shower door doesn’t have a handle to get dirty and then need cleaning. The reading lights are mounted flush into the wall.

I was thinking ‘hmm,…

I was thinking ‘hmm, what do I want to eat?’ and I thought where will I find a nice tuna fish sandwich with lots of tomatoes.

That’s what I was thinking and while I was thinking that I looked up and there it was, Subway, just what I was thinking. Which reminded me that there are Subways everywhere too along with the McDonalds, the KFCs, and the Starbucks. There was even a Subway in Lusaka Zambia.

I wanted to do…

I wanted to do something entirely different today so I went for a tour at the VW assembly plant where they put together the Phaeton mostly by hand.

All the pieces are made somewhere else, loaded up into a computerized delivery system, and then screwed together here although the robots also do some of the screwing.

Most of the shops…

Most of the shops were closed for Reunification Day and all the folks were on the streets enjoying a nice day although I didn’t seen anything at all making reference to Reunification.

This bandstand and entertainment was about ‘Interkulturelles Fest: Intercultural Festival “Unity in Diversity”‘

See that little blue…

See that little blue street sign. I was walking along, caught a glimpse of it, and thought oh my, Martin Luther King, how did that happen?

And then I thought oh, Martin Luther, he’s the big dog around here. And as these thoughts passed through my cloudy brain I got closer to the sign and read it more carefully. Oh, Martin Luther Ring .. the Ring Road .. got it.

St Thomas Church and…

St Thomas Church and Johann Sebastian Bach.

From the plaque at the church: “Ever since the foundation of St Thomas Church, St Thomas Boys Choir and St Thomas School in 1212, the St Thomas Boys Choir has regularly performed at St Thomas Church.

“The most famous cantor at St Thomas was Johann Sebastian Bach. His St Matthew Passion and many of his cantatas were premiered here…

Leipzig University “…formally opened…

Leipzig University “…formally opened on 2 December 1409 in the presence of the Wettin rulers, Margraves Frederick and William, in the refectorium of St.Thomas’ monastery.”

This addition to the campus, designed by Erick van Egeraat and completed in 2009, seems quite controversial based on what I could find out about it.

Once again, a pedestrian…

Once again, a pedestrian Old Town, and here with a modern twist.

I ate Indian food for dinner tonight. I very much like sausages and schnitzels and sliced meat on tasty rolls but I hadn’t had Indian food for more than two months and ummm it surely did taste good.

Ahh, I really really…

October 4

Ahh, I really really like big windows full of sky. I looked out that window pretty much all day today and watched the dark heavy clouds, the blustery wind, and the intermittent rain. So I took the day for laundry and watching tv. Always nice to have a rest day.

But bummer that I…

But bummer that I didn’t get to do my plan which was to visit the Leipzig zoo. I’ve taken a pass on all the other zoos, every city has one, but this one seemed recommendable.

It’s the number one Leipzig attraction on TripAdvisor and all the rave reviews made a visit an intriguing idea.

The b&w photo is from 1973 and the zebra is from their website.

Meet Danny from Leipzig…

October 5

Meet Danny from Leipzig with whom I enjoyed an entirely delightful train ride.

The train was delayed by a serious accident earlier in the day and Danny kept me appraised of the pubic address announcements. Thank you for that and for all the interesting and entertaining conversation!

Inside the lobby there…

Inside the lobby there are four very large miniatures (large miniatures…that’s fun) showing the whole area of Hanover, one for 1689 and one from the 1930s.

This one from 1945 when, according to Ms Wiki, 90% of the central town was destroyed. Looking at this thing was a powerful experience, stronger than a similar photo because you could walk around it, peer into it, and be overwhelmed by the destruction.

And to imagine what a small small piece this is of the overall loss of property and the overall loss of life is beyond imagining.

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