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.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Sächsisches-Böhmisches Bierhaus Altmarktkeller

The Joint

Altmarkt 4
01067 Dresden

Phone: +49 351 – 4818130
Fax: +49 351 – 4818132

http://www.altmarktkeller-dresden.de

Cliff

I am pretty much a sucker for baby sheep. I can’t turn ’em down. And when they’re not done by capable Mediterranean or Middle Eastern hands, I forget that there are other ways to prepare lamb. I ordered from the Easter week menu, so that explains the lamb, I guess. It was fine — hot and properly cooked and stuff…just…not…exciting.

East Bloc Drinkin' Buddies I had better luck with my Krušovice black beer and the beer/onion soup that was recommended to accompany it. Both were quite good. The beer tasted like a nice cool slice of liquid pumpernickel and the onion soup was flavorful without being overly salty (not an easy feat with onion soup!). The fresh chopped parsely strewn on top made for a nice flavor contrast to the onion/beer. Biggest surprise of the meal for me: the lovely broccoli florets with almond slivers. Nice!

Like Sarah, I was pleased with the promptness of the service, but when we were done eating, I was ready to get the heck outta there — it was starting to get loud.

Sarah

Socialist Beer Ad?This was another suggestion compliments of our travel guide. I think it was quite a bit better than the last recommendation. It’s unfortunately set up right in front of a giant construction project, but that probably only matters when the weather is appropriate for eating al fresco, as the main restaurant lies beneath street level. The long dining room has a slightly upscale-beerhall look (which was encouraging – I was afraid we might be underdressed, but we fit in pretty well) and at least a couple of smaller rooms off to the side. There’s lots of peach-painted arches and dark wood floors and bar fixtures. Generally, a very inviting, comfortable looking place.

I had a glass of uninspired and too-warm Gewürtztraminer and started with the Terrine Böhmische Wurstsuppe (terrine of bohemian sausage soup) which was great! It was a tangy, tomato broth with a little paprika with bits of chopped green and red pepper and lots of chopped beef roast. The large bowl was topped off with a dollop of sour cream. I was extremely pleased with this – considering that I didn’t really know what to expect given the vague description in the menu. My entrée was the Braumeisterschnitzel, which was a cordon bleu treatment for a regular pork schnitzel (ham and cheese inside the breading) with lightly steamed carrots and fried potatoes. It was good, but I’ve gotten extra picky regarding schnitzel, and for my tastes, the breading wasn’t seasoned enough and the ham-cheese-schnitzel flavor combination didn’t pack enough contrast into a bite. That’s not to say there wasn’t enough (there was more than enough!), just that they might have been using ham and cheese that weren’t particularly good on their own, so they couldn’t stand up to everything else going on in the dish. The carrots, conversely, were excellent – steamed enough to get rid of the rawness, but retaining some crunch. The potatoes were very good, too, with long strips of carmelized onions.

The service was very prompt and polite, given the size of the venue and how full it was. And the prices are pretty reasonable for how much you get – we got out for under 50€. I would go back.

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.