Dresden

Dresden

Our accommodation in Chemnitz ran out today.  This meant back to moving around.  As we have spent almost two months in Chemnitz, we decided that if we had to rent a motel room, it may as well be in a different city.
We decided to go to Dresden as it used to be UNESCO listed.  They lost the listing as the city decided to build a new bridge into the downtown area and UNESCO objected.
We grabbed our bags and did a final walk from the University to the Hauptbahnhof.  We have done this many times, and are glad this is the last.
At the station we got our tickets.  This turned out to just be a day pass on all transport in Saxony.  It is the same as going to Leipzig, or anywhere else!  As long as it is a local train.  This wasnt a problem for us, and we took our seats on the upper level of the train.  In theory so we could see the country side better.  This was not really the case, as there are banks or trees blocking most of the views.  I suppose most people do not want to see trains going past, and would much rather have trees across the landscape.  Not so good for us though.  There were patches in the trees however, and we got to give Anna’s new camera a workout.  (There is a story to this:  Her other camera took a swim in Jordan as reported earlier.  However it took us this long to replace it.  Knowing that we were resuming travel in a few days we went out and bought a new one.  We specifically wanted one that took SD memory cards and her old batteries, as that would give us a few spares, and there is nothing like running out of battery half way through a day.  Unable to find a camera that took these batteries, we settled on the cheapest camera that did the long panoramic photos.  On getting it back to our room we played around with it, and found out that you need to create the panoramic photos on a computer.  What is the point of that?  We can do that ourselves without any functions on the camera.  We also know that we couldn’t be bothered doing this.  That is why we wanted it on the camera.  So the next day we went back to exchange it.  This was a rather painless process.  There was a lot of paperwork involved though, as everything had to be in triplicate.  We were lucky enough to get the same sales girl.  Explaining the problem, and her agreeing that there was no way to do the photos on the camera she helped us find one that could.  On buying this one, she kindly helped us change the settings to English, and teach us to use the menus.  On opening the box, surprise surprise, we found that this one took our batteries!  Score.  Now if only we had known that before.  Nothing against her, as all the cameras are locked closed, and she couldn’t open a box of every type to find out the batteries.)

Trains

So.  Here we are on the train.  Looking like idiots playing with the camera.  We did not neglect the view though, and it was nice to go across the countryside.  From Wind farm to Solar farm to ploughed fields between the towns.  The towns themselves were small, and fairly close together.  There were a few hills and a couple of streams as well.  In places it was very pretty.  German trains are very quiet, but we still didn’t hear a single wind tower as we went past.

Little towns with big wind towers

There were no eardrums exploding.  Even when we passed right underneath one.  I am not sure what the Victorians are on that get a headache when there is a tower 25km away, but I think they need their heads examined.  As for the solar side of things.  Germany has probably 10 sunny days a year and it is still beneficial to have solar panels on any surface.  I swear even the tractors have them.  There was even one perched on top of a hay bale.  At other times the view was awash with colour.  It is Autumn here, and all the trees are changing colour.  There were Dark greens, light greens, yellows, oranges of all different shades, as the leaves started turning.

Beautiful church downtown Dresden

We arrived in Dresden in good time, and locked our bags in storage at the station.  Asking at Tourist info if there was a cheap hotel, she said the cheapest was 84 Euro.  Ouch.  Still, we should be able to find cheaper, or we would just go to Leipzig (We have to be there Monday to see the Lawyer before we leave).
Walking into the city centre you start to see all the old buildings.  Apparently Dresden was bombed flat at the end of WWII, and was rebuilt under the DDR.  Who says they didn’t care?  The restoration was very well done.  Going into one of the cathedrals there are all the photos of what it looked like, and the devastation was massive.  You can still see a lot of the poc marks created by the shrapnel on the lower levels of the buildings.  They have been plastered up, but are very noticeable.  A lot of the Government buildings were built by King Albert of Saxony in the late 1780’s.  These are stunning.  They need a bit of a clean, but other than that, the architecture is brilliant.  I wish as much attention to detail was put into todays buildings.

Joining the locals for a beer overlooking the river

Over to the river, where we got to see all the people crowding onto the big boats for the lunch tours of the city, and how one side is flat grasslands and the other is wall.  No riverside cafe’s or bars.  Apparently the river floods a lot, and the last big one was in 2002.  This broke the banks and flooded most of Dresden.  Crossing over, we decided to have a cool beer looking back at the massive monuments on the other side.  The cathedral, Opera house, art college etc.  A perfect way to spend the afternoon.

On this side of the river there used to be an old venetian fortress around the city, but walking around we could only find wide boulevards, brand name shopping, and goldish green statues of unknown people long dead.  I am sure they were important but who were Franz and Joseph?  Then there is this guy Albert.  He seems to have a high opinion of himself stuck up there on his horse.  As we were sipping our beers, we had decided on going to Leipzig, as the tickets were still valid, and we are stingy.  So a long walk back to the station, where I managed to completely avoid the beautiful old sections of the town, and in the process get us lost.
The ride to Leipzig is nowhere near as interesting as this mornings, and we don’t have much to report on that.  However I would like to say that we wanted to stay at an A&O Hostel/hotel.  DON’T!  They advertise cheap rooms/dorms etc.  When we got there they wanted to charge us double.  On bringing up the price difference they dropped it down, but then wanted us to pay for the sheets.  Right.  That was not happening.  The private rooms they have are more expensive than a hotel in the very city centre!  We went there instead.  Motel One.  Well recommended.

AA

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