We were scheduled to leave at 7:31 from the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Because of the U-Bahn strike I was concerned that it might take me a while to get there, so I left home quite early and was bummed to discover that the S-Bahn to the Hbf is quite sppedy: I was there 30 minutes early. That gave me time enough to become concerned when I didn't see anyone else and when the destination notation at the platform we were meeting at was not Dresden. So I called the information line but the gentleman at the other end, when I asked him to speak "Langsam, bitte" send me to the main information booth at the other end of the station, rather than simply telling me, more slowly, that the reason the destination was not Dresden was that we would be switching trains part way. Sigh. Some Germans just can't deal with speaking to non-native speakers slowly and clearly. Luckily, when I ran up the stairs I bumped into a classmate and he was able to get the information gentleman to give him that information.
This is the August the Strong bridge: it's very pretty. I also want to point out the sunshine. the entire day was beautifully sunny: it was almost like being in an entirely different country. I took off my jacket and unzipped my sweater and sat in the sun eating soft ice-cream (as did all the Germans I could see).
I think that this is a cherry tree- all over Dresden trees were blooming, flowers were blooming, and people were basking in the sun. One of my classmates said that there was a Mediterannean feel but I think that she was just drunk on sunshine.
A view of the Schloss across the Elbe. That's the boat next to which we sat and ate our cones.
Statue of August the Strong on a horse on the boulevard leading to the Aldtstadt.
The Frauenkirche. And it really is. All baby blue and baby pink with trompe l'oeuil everything. So pretty and non-threatening. Not a tortured body in sight. Interestingly, this is a Protestant church but my teacher (German Protestant by birth, professed atheist) thought it seemed more Catholic, because of the general ornateness and opulence. I said that to me the absence of the crucifixion was proof of the Protestentness of the building and that the opulence was simply due to the building having been built for the wife of an Emporer (although of course this is completely a recreation, as almost all of Dresden was completely destroyed in February 1945).
Some of my class mates went to the museums in the Schloss (which looked lovely) but Y and N and Y and I instead decided to find a table in the sun and grab a bite to eat: it just didn't seem like there was enough time to make it worthwhile to go to the museums.
We kept on looking but couldn't find an open table so we wound up approaching some older Dresdeners and asking if we could share their table, which they very kindly agreed to.
I had been wanting Linsentopf (I love lentils)and two classmates chose the same. When it arrived, it had meat in it and Y asked if it was Schwein, because she doesn't eat trayfe. I hadn't thought so, because I generally read all descriptions in Germany in re food to be sure that pig is not in the product, but one can never be certain here. So she asked the kellnerin, who, in a very unbehilflich way said yes and then left. Y agonized for a bit and other Y and I were concerned and then Y called over the kellnerin and asked to exchange the soup for another because she could not eat Schweinfleisch. I was amazed at how passive aggressive the waitress was, but she finally agreed and we all ate when the new soup came. Of course, by that time I had reacquired the menu and noted that the Linseltopf did not include swine: it was beef.
Well, that broke the ice and the Dresdeners asked where we came from and we had a lovely chat for the next half hour or so, culminating with the gentleman buying us all a round of a local Dresden white wine. It was so nice, he and his wife and their friend displayed such Gastfreundschaft, that it more than made up for the information man and the waitress and made me realize again how nice some people are here and how appreciative so many Germans are to those of us who try to speak German! We wound up being a few minutes late to meet the others, having to run, and then we had to dash for the Dresden Hbf.
So, I was up at 5:45 and I got home again at 21:00. A long day. I will definitely do it again, but next time I think that we will go and stay for the weekend.
The German and the Things also had a great day, they spent most of it at the Zoo.