Tag Archives: Saxony

Dresden Wrap-Up

inside a DVB tram Thursday was our last full day in Dresden, and we made it count. We started off with a tram ride to Pfund’s Molkerei to get our dairy on — you can see the details if you click on that link. Another plus: it was located right next to a mustard store, from which we purchased a tasty mustard made from Bärlauch. We got out there and back and still had plenty of time to hit the Zwinger and check out the porcelain and historic weaponry collections. It was also nice to just sit down and get some fresh air, since the weather permitted it:

the Zwinger complex Cliff on the Zwinger grounds Zwinger Zwinger

One bummer about the Zwinger: the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon is closed until 2010. I was hoping to check out antique scientific/measurement instruments. I am hoping that I didn’t pay full price for an all-day pass to the various collections since the one I was most interested was not available. It might have been better to pay separate admission to the weapons and porcelain sections.

Spring Flowers I shouldn’t have been hungry so soon after our cheese brunch at Pfund’s, but I guess the museums really took it out of me. We stopped for a local Sächsische Bratwurst and it was good. I snapped the photo at right while pausing my chow-down.

Dresden from above After that, we finally buckled down and paid our €16 for the trip up to the top of the Frauenkirche. €8 per adult head seemed like a lot and it would have been better had the clouds not rolled in while we were eating, but I knew it would be my last chance to get an aerial shot of the city.

After that, we were pretty wiped out, so we headed back to the hotel for a nap. After a healthy crash-out, we were hungry, so we consulted our trusty travel guide and gave the local flavor (click that for the review) another shot.

This morning, we got up, checked out of our fantastic hotel (click that for the review), and went back to that French-themed restaurant around the corner from it — their prices were quite reasonable considering the high quality and location. After that we indulged our inner materialism and did a little shopping. If you follow the Tram #3 or #7 line on foot back toward the Hauptbahnhof, you’ll end up right at the shopping area on Prager Straße. Sarah got a new perfume and I stopped into a department store to use the restaurant and ended up buying a new tie (almost got the whole ROY G. BIV thing done now).

8 cranes!Wherever we were in Dresden, some ambitious construction project was not far away. I was admiring the construction at one end of Prager Strasse when Sarah and I noticed this gem:

truth in advertising
Team BS — Personaldienstleistung (HR contracting)


Radisson SAS Gewandhaus Hotel, Dresden

The Joint

Ringstrasse 1
D-01067 Dresden
Germany

Phone: +49 (0)351 49 49 0
Fax: +49 (0)351 49 49 490
Info.Dresden@RadissonSAS.com

web site

Cliff

Nice bathroom! I was a little iffy about an Expedia-booked hotel stay, but you know what? This turned out great. That bathroom was neat, but for me the best parts were really a nice big comfortably firm bed and sincerely friendly desk staff. We paid in advance via Expedia due to their special rate deal, and when we checked in, there was no upsell attempt or even more than a suggestion to leave a credit card behind for incidentals. I explained that we weren’t expecting any (we hardly turned on the TV and used the minibar fridge to store our own food, and never ate anything at all from the restaurant), so that wouldn’t be necessary. And the receptionist took that with a smile. When we checked out, it was merely a matter of turning our cards back in — really smooth. Sarah will probably have a few things to say about the bathroom, but I’m the one in the picture.

Radisson SAS Gewandhaus the bed the doorway Dresden Radisson SAS lobby

Sarah

That bathtub kicked a$$. It had bubbles. I got out a couple of times to go see Dresden.

Auf Wiedersehen, Dresden!

This was a great trip, and actually pretty cost-effective, despite staying in a swanky hotel (thanks Expedia). I came to Dresden hoping to find the dichotomy of old and new with at least a touch of “the East” mixed in.

The “Old + New = Dresden” formula is more complicated that that, though. The “old” stuff is more “conceptually old” than “physically old,” owing to pretty much everything old being rebuilt following World War Two. And I looked pretty hard for evidence of socialism and communism and pretty much the only trace I found was in the form of a shop specializing in wine and gifts from the Caucasus region.

It was a little unsettling though: I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the obvious age of the city juxtaposed against all the high-rise office buildings and rebuilt churches. Which raises an important question: does “old” count for something that has only existed in more or less its current form over the last 50 years? My instinct is to give the people of Dresden a pass on this one.

“Yes, Dresdeners, your stuff is still old, even though you just finished building it two years ago, since it had been old prior to February, 1945. You’ve obiously put forth a monumental effort* and have thus earned the title ‘old.’”

But old as it was styled, it just still didn’t look old and it definitely didn’t feel old to me.

A wrap-up of yesterday’s activities and a couple reviews are still forth-coming.

Pfunds Molkerei

The Joint

Bautznerstr. 79
01099 Dresden

Tel.: +49 (0)351 / 80 80 80
Fax: +49 (0)351 / 80 80 820

http://www.pfunds.de/

Cliff

This place was recommended to us by our travel guide (not Frommer’s, but rather one that we picked up at a local bookstore in Regensburg). Given my recent cheese fixation, I was immediately drawn to the idea of visiting the prettiest dairy in the world (their website has the details).

It’s not in the Altstadt, where we’ve been spending most of our time here in Dresden, but rather somewhat removed from the old downtown area out in Neustadt. But that didn’t stop me (armed with our Familientageskarte from DVB, the local transit authority). The Neustadt had none of the Altstadt charm – but it’s realer — we passed grocery stores and resale shops and all the normal city stuff you won’t find near the Frauenkirche.

After looking around inside (we would have snapped lots of pictures of their beautiful tile work, but it was verboten), we went upstairs to their little restaurant. I had a glass of fresh purple milk (flavored with black current juice) and split an A.O.C.Käseplatte (cheese platter) with Sarah. Highlights for me were the caraway camembert (I think that’s what it was; might have been a brie for all I know) and fig mustard. The whole place was kinda kitschy, but that was pretty darn good cheese and milk.

I think finally we can bring the cheese chapter to a close.

Sarah

The place is certainly pretty and unique. It’s covered in Meissen porcelain tiles in shades of yellow, cream and blue – not what you would expect for a dairy shop, until you examine the tiles to find scenes of cows and milkmaids in rolling meadows. In addition to dairy goods, like chocolates and cheeses, the shop sells lots of tiles and old fashioned tin signs. Unfortunately, the Molkerei isn’t exactly off the beaten path. In fact, it’s a popular enough stop that it’s a marked unloading zone for tour busses. I would have liked to have bought something from the shop, but it was crowded enough to make turning around (let alone browsing) difficult.

We went upstairs to the café/restaurant where I had a nice latte macchiato and split the A.O.C. cheese platter with Cliff as an early lunch. I guess the tour bus dwellers were on a schedule, because none of them came up there. Because it was so empty, the service couldn’t help but be attentive, but I was quite charmed when the waitress asked if she could explain what was going on with the cheeses included in our order. I especially got a kick out of the combination of the saltier cheeses (Parmesan and manchego) with the sweet fig mustard.

“Humanism in China” in Dresden

Today we got our arts on. We checked out the Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, which was featuring an exhibition of photographic art called “Humanism in China” (here‘s the link if you’re interested) shot by Chinese photographers over the last fifty years. We both noticed how shots from the 50s were side-by-side with shots from the 80s, and if they were in black-and-white, they were awfully hard to discern from one another. I guess that says a lot about most of China over the last 50 years.

But we started our day scouting around for a nice place for breakfast, taking these pictures along the way:

Frauenkirche Platz

breakfast at the French-themed joint But in the end, we came back toward our hotel and found a great French-themed Brasserie with good coffee and well-priced breakfast offerings, because I couldn’t bear the thought of an eleven-Euro breakfast option out on the square pictured above.

Having recharged (and getting the much-needed caffeine fix), we headed out again, got our art on as mentioned above, and took these while hunting around for water at non-exorbitant prices:

Brühlsche Terrasse Fürstenzug p3262984.jpg Zwinger Kreuzkirche
Weather note: the wind is killing us here, much like the wind on at the other end of the Elbe back in December 2005. But at least it’s not terribly cold if you can stay out of the shadows. Unfortunately, with all these tall buildings and narrow streets between them, there are a lot of shadows.

Tonight: B and husband take us farners out for some local flavor. I hope it’s similar to the Pupen-Schultzes Schwarzes we had last night.

night shots of Dresden

After taking a neat shower, we consulted our travel guide and hit the road in search of something to eat (and we found something, but it wasn’t all that thrilling). Along the way, we got a glimpse of the night skyline through the tram windows, and I knew we would have to come back on foot (much to Sarah’s poor cold body’s chagrin).

But I got these to show for it:

p3252937.jpg p3252941.jpg p3252948.jpg p3252949.jpg p3252954.jpg p3252959.jpg

Tomorrow’s task, after finding some coffee and maybe some breakfast, is to visit these during the day and be able to name them.

Bauernstube im Kügelgenhaus

The Joint

Inh. Karin Przybyl
Haupstrasse 13
01097 Dresden
Germany

S-bahn: Neustädtermarkt or Albertplatz

Tel. 0351/ 56 33 126
Tel. / Fax 035975 8064
http://www.bauernstuben-kuegelgenhaus.de/

We stumbled around Albertplatz in blinding snow whipped into our faces by the wind and were really disoriented for a few minutes until we could look at map and re-orient ourselves. Then it became pretty easy. We headed toward this restaurant on the recommendation of a travel guide for the city of Dresden. We liked the layout of the travel guide, but I’m questioning the authors’ taste after tonight. This place wasn’t bad, but the service definitely was hit-or-miss, and the food didn’t wow us. It was fine, but we’ve come to expect better from restaurants recommeded by travel guides.

Beer

We both had the Pupen-Schultzes Schwarzes – suprisingly good dark bier! Milder and sweeter than expected, with no cringe. Sarah had some good advice here: when you’re trying out a new locale, order a beer from near the top of the list.

Sarah

Erdäppelsuppe — alright. This soup was kind of bland, and tasted like Fr. Knorr. But the cheese bits are nice touch.
Feurige Pfanne — where was the fire? Tricolor corkscrews in a thin, paprika-spiked broth with chunks of stewed pork and cheese (?) baked over the top. It took 3 or 4 bites to find a hint of the spiciness. This was underwhelming.

Cliff

My Kartoffelsuppe mit Knoblauch (potato soup with garlic) was just OK — almost the same as Sarah’s but with garlic instead of cheese. For my main course, I had the Lammbraten mit grünen Bohnen. The lamb was nice and tender, but the beans were a little salty…not inedibly so, but definitely more than I expected. Potatoes roasted on a skewer with bacon wrapped around them were a treat.

Gruß aus Dresden

Hi all!

So far we don’t have much to report except that the weather is just as weird here as it at home in Regensburg, and the Dresden’s tram system and our hotel have made a very good first impression on us.

Here’s roughly the route our trains took:


View Larger Map

It might be worth it to spring for the extra bucks and longer train trip to ride (for longer) in style next time on a higher class of train. The trains themselves were pretty modern, but there were only two cars per train and the engine was diesel. And they were crowded! If you spring for the better class of train (IC or EC, as opposed to RB/RE/IRE), you can reserve your seats. That would have been helpful today. We got stuck standing for a good portion of the trip packed into the flop-down seating area with families with stroller kids and toddlers and a smelly (but cute) German shepherd…and Germany’s smelliest train passenger (to date) — the The Human Ashtray (or so we called her). Between her and the standing-room-only and the terrain of the Erzgebirge, we got a little motion sick (and I strongly suspect we weren’t the only ones — everyone looked progressively greener until Zwickau). Fortunately, no one lost their lunch and we managed to snag proper seats for the duration of the trip starting at Zwickau.

I took some pictures this morning outside the Regensburg Hbf and on the train to Hof (where we changed trains and headed to Dresden):

Regensburg stuff, including wildlife confused by the weather:
Ausgangspunkt (starting situation) ducks fooled by winter flowers fooled by winter ducks and flowers 'ello, ducks!

Annoyed cat on the train:
annoyed cat

Sweet hotel!
Dresden Radisson SAS lobby p3252930.jpg the bed the doorway our TV greets us by name

After a quick freshening up (we just had to try out the AirPool and the beautiful shower), we’re off to explore Dresden and get something to eat while scoping out our breakfast options (not included at our hotel) and planning tomorrow’s activities.

This post brought to you by http://freebroadband.radissonsas.com/. Wish everybody had that!

Dresden, here we come

Sarah and I have nailed down our vacation plans for the coming week. We’re headed to Dresden for 4 days of exploring a new (to us) place that used to be a separate country without having to change currencies, language (much), or even get on a plane.

We’re doing it all via public ground transportation. Dresden’s pretty famous for that.

We head out Tuesday morning early on on a train to Hof, where we transfer to a train to Dresden. Oddly, connections on local/inter-regional (read: slower, older, noisier) trains were faster (not to mention cheaper) than connections on new, modern, clean, quiet ICE trains. Go figure.

When we get there, we’ll be staying at the Radisson. Sarah found a deal on Expedia.de. Let’s hope this works out better than the last one of those we tried — we booked what looked like a sweet room at the Le Meridien Russell Square in London and found out the the hotel was in the process of becoming worthy of the Le Meridien name. In other words, the room was pretty much a dump. Our pocket guide to Dresden puts the Radisson in the “Luxus” class though, so our hopes are still pretty high.

While we’re there, we plan on our usual exploration and reporting activities. But this time, we’re meeting up with pseudo-locals: B., the webmistress over at eurotrippen.com, who has lived there for some time and has already given us numerous tips.

Watch this space; the Radisson has free internet access, so a daily update should be possible.