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Day 8, Wed 8/31: Dresden, Part 2

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It’s only 5:00 and we are done for the day, well sort of. We finished our agenda early and decided to continue with the “take it easy” theme we started the day with and return to the hotel and just relax a bit. So I’m getting an early start on the blog and Dan is continuing his watching of Penny Dreadful, a Netflix series he’s been watching the whole trip. We said we would go out again for a walk at night so we’ll see if that happens! As we were walking around the hotel on our way back in, we found a shortcut from the hotel to “the balcony of Europe” so it will be easy to do.

Although we were up pretty early, we wanted a more relaxing day so took our time moving about and didn’t head downstairs until after 7. Breakfast was typical Hilton European – complete with pork-n-beans and mushrooms – and of course the normal variety of eggs, breads, fruits, deli meats, cheeses. Each location has some slight variations. Vienna had congee. Prague had 4 kinds of sausage. This one had eggs 6 ways: hard fried, over easy, sunny side up, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled.

After breakfast we went into the “wellness” area. Dan worked out. I did rounds in the sauna, steam room and hot tub, where he joined me eventually. It was very relaxing. Almost too relaxing! I had trouble moving fast after that. But at some point vacation should be about relaxing, right?

We left the hotel about 10:30. Yesterday we had purchased a “Welcome Dresden” card, which would get us into a number of museums. We had only picked three really that we would do and they were all on the card, so it made it worth it The Albertinum yesterday was one, so today would be the other two.

Our first stop was Zwenger Palace. A string of 3 museums now, this used to be the public space for the Saxony court back in the day. Like this church was saw yesterday, this has been rebuilt from the ashes of destruction in the war. And actually much of the reconstruction is still going on. In the first museum in particular, only about half of it was open.

Similar to the Kunst museum in Vienna, much of the collection here is from the Saxony Courts own Kunsthammer: collecting things to learn about and then reflect their understanding of the world in both art and science, because what they understand they can rule.

 

 This and the two paintings that follow are by an artist named Lucas Cranach the Younger, a German Renaissance painter whose work occupied much of this wing. Him and his father, oddly enough Lucas Cranach the Elder, both did several paintings of Adam and Eve; the father’s are more studied but we didn’t see any of his work here.
 Pygmies messing with a sleeping Hercules above; Hercules waking up below.

 

 Called “The Dentist,” we both went “ouch” when we saw it. The look on the guys face is awful.
 This is the Sistine Madonna by Raphael. Anything look familiar? Look at the bottom of it.
You’ve probably seen these guys a million times and didn’t know where they came from. There are a couple of stories about their inspiration: one is they were the model’s children, and they would come and watch him paint and he painted them in just as they watched. The other is he was painting two kids looking wistfully into a bakery.
 If you read the Prague, Part 2, entry from this blog, you saw my musings on European streets I just like the look of. This was one of those streets in Haarlem, Netherlands, from our trip in 2013, with Grote Kerk (Great Church) in the background. Now look at the painting below, which we saw this morning in this exhibit.
 Apparently someone else liked the look of this street about 300 years ago, too.
 This was a nice area outside of one of the museum cafes. See the stairs in the back? We came down them later when we were walking around and found ourselves back here; it was the only way down from where we were.

Next was the Math and Physical Science gallery. It displays a collection of scientific instruments at Dresden court that began around 1560. In particular, there were lots and lots of clocks. Mechanical clocks begin in the medieval period, when large clocks powered by falling weights were installed in the towers of town halls in churches. This collection runs from mid 1400s to mid 1800s.

 This was extremely intricate, and there was a visual aid that showed how the mechanics of how the pieces moved around and bobbed up and down when they did. Reminded me of the clock in Prague. Pretty ingenious stuff for the Middle Ages.
 They loved things that moved on their own. We saw a bunch of this stuff in Prague, called automatons.
 Yes, scales.

 

 Same clock above and below, just front and back. These things were amazing. Like the astronomical clock in Prague, it wasn’t just about time; they tracked the entire year including seasons and constellations.

 

Believe it or not, a calculator. Each of the dials represents a place – tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. A stylus was used to turn each of the dials to enter numbers into the machine, and the sum appears in the windows at the top.

 

 This was all about telescopes and instruments that created heat from the sun.

 

 A thermometer!
 Every time we changed galleries, Dan took more photos of the courtyard.

 

 As we found our way to the final gallery, we discovered a path a level up that took you almost all around the court.

 

 

 The final gallery was porcelain. This is me going “you’re kidding, right?” Asian porcelain isn’t really our thing, but the exhibit kept going and kept changing.

Meissen porcelain, named for the town it is made it just outside of Dresden, is the first European hard-paste porcelain made, starting in 1708.

 A porcelain replica made of an actual bouquet to a Saxon King by this daughter, 1749.

We spent about 2.5 hours there then went in search of lunch. We first went to this place where Dan had made reservations for dinner for tonight, but at that point we’d already decided we weren’t going to go out but would just hang out in the lounge. So we tried going there for lunch but it didn’t open until 4pm. We ended up at a place close to Frauenkirche again. We typically have a rule about doing things this close to tourist attractions because they are usually not that good. But we had good luck yesterday and reasoned that it’s because almost all of the tourists here are German, so the restaurants are catering to their tastes.

That’s Dan right of center. The table next to us were seated after and all 4 of them were smoking, which is the reason we typically don’t take advantage of outdoor seating in Europe. But the breeze was strong enough it was bearable.
 I had roast pheasant with stuffed with a chestnut dressing, shallots and polenta.
 Dan had sea bass (German, not Chilean; tastes more like trout), with rice and vegetables.
This photo was taken from the church tower yesterday, but I realized as I was putting this together that we forgot to take an outside photo of where we went next, Residenzschloss (Royal Palace). See the building top left that also has a tower? That’s it. We went up there today, too; so you’ll see a photo from there looking pretty much to here. Like Zwenger, this has also been rebuilt and now houses several museums. We were here just over an hour so moved through them pretty quickly.
They had an interesting exhibit of Turkish things from various interactions – both friendly and not – that the Saxons had with the Ottoman Empire over the centuries. We’d never seen stuff like this before and enjoyed it. We’ve been discussing Istanbul as one of our future trips so this gave us a little taste that we really liked.

 

 This tent was pretty cool; I liked how it looked on the other side below the best.

 

 

 

 Turkish armory above and below.

The next gallery was a variety of treasures in gold, crystal, ivory, etc., that the court has collected over the years.  Dan took photos of his favorite pieces.

 

 

 For some reason he’s had Nebuchadnezzar on his mind, this piece represented a dream of his so it was impossible to resist.

 

I’m leaving the explanation of this one in below because there’s no way to do it justice.

 

 The names of Saxon rulers were carved into the sails.
 Tiny ivory sailors climbing the nets on the ship in this one.

 

 Intricate golden coffee set made in Dresden around 1700.

 

We both thought this was amazing. This is the court of a Grand Mogul from India, made in Dresden around 1705. The two photos below show the throne closer up, and then me beside it for perspective. It was the most detailed thing we’d seen all day.

 

 

The Dresden Green Diamond is the most valuable of the jewels in the treasure at 41 carats. It is mounted with two other large diamonds, though a mere 19 and 6 carats, and 411 additional small and medium diamonds.

We went up yet another tower from here and took photos from there.

 The guts of the clock in the tower.
The church on the right is where we were yesterday.
The Catholic church we couldn’t get into yesterday, and the Elbe River in the background.
Same church, but went there after this today. Like the other buildings in the Centrum, this was also rebuilt from original material where possible, and based on original plans.

 

 

 And like the church yesterday, you can tell that all of the inside material is brand new.

 

 

 

 This is the pulpit, which is where the priest stands to deliver the sermon. I’ve only seen these is older European churches, but they are very common  here.
A cute little row of restaurants lining the street that goes up from Bruhl’s Terrace into town, with our hotel on the right.
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We did go out again about 8:15pm. It’s now 9:30. We will do another round in the spa before bedtime and still be asleep by 11 hopefully. We’ll have an early morning again, catching a train to Berlin. Here are the photos we took of Dresden at night. We really do need to make a point to get out more at night, some of these are really pretty.
At the beginning of “the balcony of Europe.” This started out with me being grossed out by a spider on the lamppost; Dan decided he liked it as a pose!
 By the Albertinum we visited yesterday.
 This is the back of Frauenkirche on the left, which is in the main square; and the Hilton logo bottom right. That’s how close are.
 The main hotel entrance with the Procession of Princes in the background and the tower of the Royal Palace behind that.
 Same shot just closer.
 Frauenkirche from the front.
Opera House.
 
 Catholic church from the back and the dome of the Royal Palace.
From the front.
 

 

 The top of those steps on the left is where Dan took the two shots above, and is sort of the start of the balcony of Europe, which he loved saying 🙂
And that’s a wrap for Dresden.
 

 

 
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