Rebelious Dresden

It's day fifteen (for me) in the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my Christmas/New Year travels in NYC and Europe – providing insight into the places I went, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and telling my story. Today's letter is R for Rebellious Dresden – mostly because of the gloriously painted buildings that feel unusual and set this city apart from many I have been to in the past. :) Feel free to follow along as I make my way through the alphabet this month! :)

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After waking up early and having breakfast, we checked out of our hotel in Prague and moved on to Dresden. The drive only took us a couple of hours. When we finally arrived, we checked into the Westin Bellevue and got ready to explore again!

The first thing we had to decide – Do we take the tram to Altstadt (the old part of the city) or do we walk across the Augustus Bridge? … Honestly, I can't remember what we decided to do. All I remember is that…


The Procession of Princes was one of the first things we saw in Altstadt.

As we walked around I took a lot of images, most of which I will spare you since this is an image heavy post. One that I don't want to spare you of is…


Christmas trees!

Because Christmas. ;)

C'mon! They were becoming more scarce at this point in our trip (nearly two weeks after the holiday).

As we walked, our incredibly knowledgeable friends gave us the history of the places and buildings we were looking at. Much like my experience in school though, friend or not, I have forgotten a lot of what was said. Oops!

European history never really did interest me that much.

Meanwhile, while one was spouting off German history, the other wanted to make sure my husband and I saw some awesome handmade German souvenirs. Wood houses, people, and "Christmas pyramids"…

Y'know… like…

(source)

Although I must admit that up until I saw this in Germany I thought it was only a Norway thing. Justin's grandmother, whose family is from Norway, has one.

Anyway, I digress…

Back to houses, wooden people, and souvenirs…


All of the signs said "Don't touch!" which made me want to touch the little hand carved characters all the more!


Check out this little guy who was basically taunting me saying "Good luck not touching me! You know you want to!" :-P

"Viel Glück" means "good luck" in German.

It was probably wise to have left the store as quickly as we did. I'm not sure I could have kept my hands to myself much longer! :)

After leaving the store, we decided to take a quick break and have lunch.

I wish I could remember the name of the place we ate at, because, while I had the best spätzle ever at the Hohenzollern Castle, this place had terrible-tasting spätzle. :( Really, it was very disappointing and kept me from having any other spätzle-tasting experiences while we were there. :-/

Then we made our way to the Frauenkirche


The Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church originally built in the 18th century and destroyed during World War II. The ruins remained for more than 50 years as a war memorial until reconstruction on the outside was completed in 2004 and reconstruction on the inside was completed in 2005 (source).


The inside of the church was beautifully decorated for the Christmas holidays. :)

Unfortunately, due to the cold, snowy, icy weather, we decided against climbing to the top of the dome. Our hope was that our second day in Dresden would be sunny and pretty, and we could climb up to the top of the dome for a view then.

We never made it back. There were far too many other things to see and do in Dresden that distracted us from making a return trip!

Like…


going to a Christmas Market where my husband and friends could get some gluhwein and warm up.

During our time there, we spotted a Krampus, a half-goat/half-demon who punishes bad children (and people?) during the Christmas season (source). Krampus' run around at Christmas Markets posing for pictures and scaring people. 

It is seriously creepy.

I was glad to get away from there when we did. :)


Then: the Residenzschloß und Hofkirche.

Basically a Dresden castle/palace (schloß) and church (kirche), side by side. (Woot! You're learning German!)


Our friends said that the bridge was built so that the king could travel from his home to the church without having to deal with the weather.

Spoiled much? ;)

At this point in the day I was asked: "Explore the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe or drink hot chocolate?" Having the greater good in mind, I chose the vault. Might as well stay classy and get some culture while we're at it, right?

(source)

The Historisches Grünes Gewölbe is a vault that has been reconstructed, like most things in Dresden, after being destroyed during World War II. It contains numerous intricate and detailed art pieces collected by royalty over many years, beginning in 1547, the year the building was originally built as an addition to the main palace in Dresden. Around 1729, the rooms from the Green Vault were made public and turned into a museum holding even Augustus the Strong's treasures as of 1733.

The vault remained unchanged up until 1938 when war became imminent and the decorative pieces were moved to the Königstein Fortress. While the vault itself was severely damaged, the art was not and it was transported back to the Soviet Union shortly after the war. It took nearly 50 years for the new and old vaults to be rebuilt with the Grünes Gewölbe not being completed until 2006! (source)

(source)
Each room in the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe was designed to hold very specific art pieces. There were rooms for silver, gold, and ivory, each very distinctive and unique.

While you aren't allowed to take pictures inside the museum, they do offer an audio tour you can use to learn about the individual, and in some cases, collection of art pieces. It is offered in both German and English for travelers and natives alike.

(source)

Even though the art was all intricately designed and lovely, I found myself bored. I felt like the audio tour was attempting to sell something I had already bought. "This piece is beautiful because…" Umm duh! I already knew it was beautiful; that's why it's in this museum, right?! *sigh* Tell me about the details on the piece! Give me the artist's background!

Of course this isn't to say that specifics were always ignored, sometimes I would be thrown a bone (or a fact)! And if I was lucky, I wasn't so bored that I missed it! ;)

Anyway, after staying so busy all day, it was finally time for bar hopping! One drink, then two… then three and four… You know how it goes in Germany, right? ;) We were only done drinking when my husband was beginning to feel tipsy… Then, and only then, was it acceptable to go back to the hotel and get some sleep. :)


For breakfast the next morning we had sandwiches and donuts.

Yes, sandwiches.

I guess the idea is – in Germany you are already eating meat, bread, and cheese for breakfast, why not put it all together? Makes sense, right?

Of course in America that would be called lunch, but who's counting?


After breakfast, we went on a walk in an interesting part of town (neustadt). All of the buildings were painted and decorated. Everywhere you looked there was something new to see!




This blue building from the Courtyard of Elements in Kunsthofpassage, was my favorite. Can you imagine what it would sound like on a rainy day?!?


And this yellow building, also located in Kunsthofpassage, was so big I almost couldn't fit it all into my frame!



There were a few eclectic shops located in this area offering upcycled clothing, unique art pieces, handmade soaps, simple jewelry, and fancy journals.

Really it was a fun part of town to explore and I'm so glad we were able to find it!

If you'd like to learn more, click here and read about the architects behind the designs and see even more buildings that I didn't feature in today's blog post. :)

After a few hours ingesting the beauty of Dresden's Neustadt, it was time to return to the Altstadt and get something to eat. A sausage perhaps?

I have a picture of Justin with one, but, for obvious reasons (like wanting to remain a wife!), I'll keep that picture to myself and move on…


to Brühl's Terrace.

Actually, this image (of the street) isn't the terrace. BUT it was taken from the terrace! So there's that?! ;)


This is the terrace.

Or at least – I was looking off of the terrace at the Elbe River.

The Brühl's Terrace is known as the "balcony of Europe" and, I think you can see why… Especially if you consider the view from the opposite side of the river.

(source)

Beautiful, isn't it? :)

As we passed over Brühl's Terrace, we had one goal: to get to the Semperoper theater and opera house. We had tickets for a tour, and it was about to start!

(source)

The Semperoper offers daily tours in German and English where they share a bit about the history and allow you take photos inside (if you pay).

(source)

The theater was originally built by the architect Gottfried Semper in 1841, destroyed by a fire in 1869, and rebuilt again by 1878. In fact, that was not the last time the Semperoper suffered from damage! More recently it was destroyed (leaving only the exterior) during World War II and then again during the Elbe flood of 2002. This building has been through a lot! It is most well known for (beyond the Baroque architecture), big names like Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss who have had their music premiered here. (source)

We enjoyed the tour and getting out of the cold, but I think exploring the Zwinger Palace, which we did next, was a nice change of pace.










Our friends claim it is much prettier in the springtime when the flowers are in bloom, but I enjoyed the snowy view that I got. My biggest regret is that none of the buildings were open for touring. :(

Oh well!

Maybe next time! :)

After a busy day exploring, we found ourselves at Camondas drinking the "best hot chocolate in the world". (Clearly, they haven't been to Angelina's in Paris!)

"Beste Trinkschokoladen ins aller Welt!"
or so they say…
We tried varying degrees of chocolate-ness in our drinks and truffles on the side.


Oh! And look! A delicious finger in the shot too! I don't recommend eating the sapphire engagement ring though. I think it might break your teeth! :(

Before our time ended in Dresden, and after another night of bar hopping, we decided to take a walk beside the Elbe River enjoying the beautiful nighttime views.


As a result of our time traveling through the small but beautiful city of Dresden, a new place in Germany ended up working it's way into our hearts. I fell in love with all of the art, history, and culture we found there, but I must admit – the food was not my favorite. From sausages to gross spätzle (and I usually like spätzle!), I think if I were to visit again, I'd have to search out something a little different for eating.

Have you ever been to Dresden? If so, what were some of your favorite things to see and do? Did we miss anything particularly important? … If you haven't been, would you consider going?

I feel like Dresden isn't a well-known tourist city for Americans, and I have to wonder why? Hopefully my post has at least introduced you to the city, so that you can make plans for visiting in the future, if that's what you want to do! :)

ACDE F IJKLMNOPQ


* Linking up to City Trippers: Mummytravels.com or Wandermum.co.uk 


12 comments:

  1. My only visit to Germany was many years ago, and i didn't make it to Dresden. If i ever get back, i'd like to see it. You've brought back some good memories, and i would have had to buy the little guy with his good luck heart!

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  2. You have a way of making every place you visit look so inviting.

    Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com

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  3. So sorry you had a bad Spätzle experience. I think you should only eat them in Bavaria or Switzerland. We call them Spätzli, here, with an i. Makes all the difference, I promise ;-)
    I have never been to Dresden, and I have never heard of Krampus.
    Around here our Samichlaus (Santa's cousin) arrives Dec 6, and he has a black helper called Schmutzli (also with an i, yes, there's a pattern ;-)) who is probably equally scary as Krampus: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/2014/12/samichlaus-weekend.html

    Can't believe they were still doing Christmas market in January! After New Year's I am usually so done, and I do like Christmas!

    Love the blue and yellow buildings!

    And that view from Brühl's terrace! WOW!! Just awesome!

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    1. lol. I'm usually just getting into Christmas at the point in which it ends. :) I was thrilled to see Christmas markets. There is no way I'd ever be able to come during the month of December before Christmas, so the only way I can experience them is if I go afterward.

      Anyway, however you call Santa's mean helpers, I think they are creepy. I'm glad the US doesn't have them! :)

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  4. Oh, what an encyclopedic post on Dresden. That must have taken you days. It would if I had tried to write it. Apologies, but I only skimmed it quickly. I was at Frauenkirche when it was being rebuilt. Dresden was a gorgeous city and I hope to go back one day. Followed you on Google Friend Connect too, and will read other posts as time is available. Congrats on finishing A-Z 2016. Maui Jungalow

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    1. I don't blame you. It was a long post. Not sure if I should have broken it up? But then again, during A-Z no one has time to think in depth about breaking posts up or including every last thing!

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  5. great photos! I heard that Dresden was almost completely destroyed in WWII.#city tripping

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    1. It was! But don't let that stop you from visiting! Much of it was rebuilt to look similar to how it looked before the war. And the city itself is beautiful!

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  6. I love the A-Z idea, and what a great introduction to Dresden - I saw a bit of the Altstadt years ago (years and years) which was wonderful but nothing like the buildings of the Neustadt. How perfect to see it just after Christmas as well. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

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  7. What a great name for your post. I have enjoyed your photos a lot. Dresden is a city I really want to visit. I wanted to go back to Spain this year but now we have a change in plans and are thinking about another route thru Europe. Hope I can include Dresden.

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    1. I hope you can as well. Dresden is a lovely city. :)

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