Euro Trip – Dresden Day 1

We arrange to leave our stuff at the station in Dresden and explore town, as we’re unable to check-in to our apartment until after 2. Dresden is a harsher city than Leipzig or Wiemar, it’s a bit of a shock to me actually. Coming out of the station you find a long pedestrian street that leads to the old town. It’s lined with giant soviet apartment buildings, some of which have been turned into a 900-room Ibis hotel. There are beggars, buskers, the rougher side of life which wasn’t really present in the last two towns. People are also dressed a lot, lot worse. I keep wondering if Man City have a game here this weekend, it’s like the place is full of their fans.

The old town is unbelievably crowded – tour groups and lone tourists everywhere. Many seem to be from central Europe (presumably the Czech Republic, maybe some from Slovakia and Poland). Our mission for now is the Old Masters Gallery. We are primed with a 2-day museum pass which gives us free entry into almost anything. The Gallery is great, though it has a list of rules a mile long and some of the staff should perhaps be told that communism has fallen and they can treat people a bit better now). Never mind, there are some great works, including a Rafeal and a Vermeer (girl reading a letter). Lots of Canalettos, showing both his time in Venice, which I’m well familiar with, and his work in Dresden, which I’m not – showing the very area that the museum is set in. There are plenty of Rembrandts too, and others, making me a happy visitor. Rhonda takes pages and pages of notes on what she’s seen, so hopefully she will blog it…

We follow up with a visit to the New Green Vault – supposedly one of the best collections of beautiful objects in the world (though split in two here, so that you must pay the entry fee to each). We admire the work, but it is not really to our taste, being incredibly baroque (I mean really incredibly, forget about anything you saw before being considered baroque, this is the real deal, baroque works of art with other baroque bits on top of them; one exhibit is basically a scale model of an Indian ruler being brought gifts which are themselves baroque works of art, etc). It’s all completely impractical, there are nautilus shells turned into drinking vessels, but with so much adournment that you couldn’t actually drink out of them. Cutlery with polished coral branches instead of handles. A crucifix with Christ made out of coral. Art engraved on tiny nuts. A giant and slightly radioactive diamond. Lots of turned ivory, which I didn’t even want to look at. All collected by one of the Electors of Saxony.

Having said all that, I guess it must have stuck in my memory, so maybe it was worth something?

We drag ourselves up to the New Town where we are staying. Our apartment is amazing – I would probably want to live here if I had the choice – it’s certainly a lot nicer than our actual flat in London. The owner gives us various tips about where to eat, and suggests a few galleries (being herself a gallery owner). I think she had been suggesting that we could hang out with her, but nothing really explicit was said and I wasn’t sure either way, so didn’t push it. Perhaps I should have invited her to join us….anyway, we went out along the party street in the New Town to an Indian restaurant she recommended. It had a cocktail bar and venue attached as well (for some reason in Germany Indian restaurants often seem to do cocktails. While I’m on the subject, almost any ‘Asian’ restaurant will do sushi – you’ll see it at basically all the Korean and Thai places. Most strange). The service was good and the food well-presented but to be honest it was a little bland. The sauce was a bit watery and not very spicey. Right idea, just not quite right execution.

We raced home because I had another job interview, this time directly by phone, which seemed to go fine. After that we just crashed out.

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About simonchamberlain

New Zealand librarian and music fan, living in London.
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