Two weekends ago IES had a trip to Dresden. I originally wasn’t signed up for it, but one of the girls who was ended up spending the weekend with her parents, so I was able to slip in.
Dresden is the capital of the Free State of Saxony. It’s located near the Czech boarder, about 1.5-2 hours south of Berlin by train, which is how we got there. Our Dresden schedule was pretty much to have tons of free time to explore the city and see it’s incredibly large collection of collections. So many museums and such around.
As with most of our traveling, we started off the day with a walking tour. Our guide, Heidi, led us around the Theaterplatz (Theater Square basically) which is where the Semperoper sits. The Semperoper is an opera house built in 1841. It was considered a great example of Dresden baroque style architecture. In 1869 a fire burned down the original building and it was finished being rebuilt by 1878. It was destroyed again during WWII, then completed in 1985. Quite a history. Also taking up a huge amount of space is the Dresden Castle, but I don’t remember much of it’s history at the moment. We walked a bit further and stopped at the Frauenkirche. This church was destroyed in the fire bombings of WWII wand the reconstruction of both interior and exterior weren’t finished until 2005.
At the end of our tour, we were in free-time zone. First on our list was to find some Spaghettieis. That’s vanilla ice cream pushed through a pasta press and topped with raspberry sauce and some other thing that looked like parmesan cheese. So it looks like a nice little bowl of spaghetti, but it’s ice cream. So beautiful.
We received a card from IES for Dresden that was basically a nice little tourist card. It gave us use of public transportation as well as free or reduced entrance into multiple museums and other sites. A bunch of us went to the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, an art museum of older paintings. I quickly figured out that I could never be an art critic, not that I was planning on that in anyway. I’m more there the making things funny than to critique them in anyway.
Next we (about 5 of us) headed to the Grüne Gewölbe (the “Green Vault”). It’s a treasury, more or less. It belonged to a wealthy Saxon family and basically showcased all of their wealth. It wasn’t open to the public until more recently. Oh man, were they wealthy though. The clocks were sculptures, there was ivory anything and everything. A glass owl, a narwhal horn, silverware made from bright red coral, Venetian glass plates that were so beautiful and carefully made that they were used only for show even when they were made. We saw a sculpture of poverty encrusted in gold and jewels. The ultimate show of the discrepancy between the wealthy and poor. And, at the apex of the collection, was the 41 carat green diamond surrounded by about 100 other medium and large-sized diamonds.The diamond cost more than the construction and interior of the Frauenkirche. Ridiculous! We couldn’t take pictures inside of it, so unfortunately I don’t have any I can show you all. But I’m sure you can search for it online and find them.
We spent a while there and eventually had to meet back at the hotel to have dinner, which consisted of way too much bread, yet somehow just enough bread all at the same time. Afterwards some of us headed out to find a café to just relax at with some dessert. I had hot chocolate and a slice of cake, which is what most of us had. We sat around for an hour or two and talked about multiple topics with multiple people. It was nice.
The next day we were given breakfast if we wanter, but we were also getting brunch later on. That day was “free time” the entire day basically. We started off our adventure by trying to get back to the Theaterplatz. It shouldn’t have been too hard, but we had do navigate around a marathon that was happening, so the trams weren’t going their usual route. We managed to get there and visit the places were were looking for though. Then we set off to find the lifts that would take us to the top of a nearby mountain to look out over Dresden. Not only did we find it, we found two! It was a great view of the city, unfortunately the sun was facing us as it was setting, so it was little tough to see the horizon/take pictures in that direction. It was still really great to see some fall trees again. I’ve missed them the last two years at school.
So, in summation: I recommend you go to Dresden, especially if you enjoy museums and smaller, but still city-like, places.