I leave the commentary to Sondra and John. Sondra and John's account nicely complements my patchy picture coverage. -P.
John: We got a taxi for the short ride to our lodgings in, of all places, a senior retirement home. This was something Peter found on the internet and it was a great find. The Evangelical Reformed Church built this center, with restaurant attached, in a quiet but very centrally located spot near the River Elbe, some museums and the cathedral. Not enough seniors live there so some space has been converted to hotel rooms. The rooms were large enough for two beds, a wardrobe and table plus a couple of chairs. A very modern bathroom was part of it and the shower was a delight in comparison to the one in Berlin. The place is called Seniorenheim "August de Haas" and is at Brühlscher Garten 4. Arriving we thought it was the wrong place; it was the right place. The tariff was 75 Euros/night, breakfast included. The exchange rate was $1.50/Euro. Sondra: I was intrigued by this hotel-senior living combination. Where else can you come home from a night at the ballet and find women laughing and ironing in the hallways? The smell of freshly washed and starched laundry was somehow part of the charm of this unusual place. The laundry, as well as the accommodations, was crisp, clean and lovely.
John: We proceeded to the old masters wing (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister ) of the palace turned museum. I had no idea there were paintings by Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer and many others in Dresden. We stayed a long time, only to learn later we’d missed an entire floor.
Sondra: I’ve never laughed so much at a ballet in my entire life. The Opera House was opulent as was our jewelry. Dozens of wealthy Dresden women decked about in at least 1000 carats of diamonds seemed to be fascinated by our costume jewelry. WE wore it with style and seemed to fit right in. As amazing as it might be to imagine, John did not seem at all embarrassed to be seen with us. He carried it off very well and then he carried us off afterwards as we walked back to our home in the cold, cold night.
View along the river Elbe. In the foreground the art school, in the back the tower of the Hofkirche.
This is close to where we stayed. To the left is the Albertinum, an art exhibition place.
A trip on the Elbe ferry to "spa town" Rathen, about 30 miles upstream.
The return trip happened to be on a beautiful old ferry with splendid wood and brass
Although Michelle and I had imagined all kinds of wild bus rides, tram rides and 20 mile mountain hikes inbetween, we took it easy and just hung out in the village. John: That activity is surely more popular in summer than autumn. One could compare Kurort Rathen to Eureka Springs, AR, in a way – a quaint, touristy village of alpine architecture built into a narrow side valley of the Elbe.
We had a hearty traditional lunch of ground pork in a cabbage leaf and some local beer. And learned of the flood of 2002 in the upper Elbe region. A marker on the wall of the restaurant, Sonniges Eck, noted the highest level of water. That was about 20' above the pavement and that was another 20' above present river level. Yet there were no signs of the flooding, no high water marks. The devastation must have been horrendous but we could see no trace.
This village, like all the others we passed, is built on both sides of the river and thus needs a ferry. Kurort Rathen’s ferry seemed to be unique; it has no engine. Instead it is tethered by a long cable on the right bank and goes back and forth by the captain’s control of the rudders. He turns them so as to cause the water to hit one side of the prow or the other, controlling the direction of the ferry and the speed as it approaches the shore.
While we were waiting for a return vessel, Missy and Sondra encountered three young boys offering books and toys for sale. The girls turned this into a fun event, talking and haggling and eventually buying. Sondra bought a toy Mercedes touring bus and Missy bought for Robin a couple of toy Trabants and several books. The Trabant is the much maligned East German car that was the butt of many jokes.
Sondra: We spent some Euros with these adorable young boys who were selling their childhood toys. In the US you would call it a Garage Sale but in this tiny village it would be called a River Sale as it was right on the banks of the Elbe. Missy and I thought the boys were precious and they thought we were nut cases. What fun we had haggling with them and then buying just tons of stuff. My favorite souvenir from the trip was purchased from these school boys. Robin and I rolled our recently purchased cars back and forth on the floor of the boat on the ride home and then Robin counted to 100 in German for me (on his fingers) and I was mesmerized. We went out on the deck in the freezing cold to watch the river rush by. Then we had beer to warm up.
One of the yard sale items
Part of the ferry's drive
Actually, I took these pictures on the return trip from Prague (which passes Dresden again) ...
... but since this is a view of Dresden from the bridge crossing the river I thought them appropriate on this page.
Last change March 2010