Everybody takes a trip to Postdam from Berlin, so why not do something different and spend a day in Dresden?
The capital of Saxony is only two hours away by train and it is rich with cultural and artistic history. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city centre. It was heavily bombed during WWII but it has been rebuilt and it looks amazing again.
Since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has regained importance as one of the cultural, educational, political and economic centres of Germany.
If you are a fan of Karl Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse No. 5" don't miss the Karl Vonnegut Tour which runs daily. So it goes.
Direct Trains leave Berlin Hauptbahnhof every two hours (connection travel is also available). Dresden station is only 10-15 minutes away from the city centre on foot.
The Karl Vonnegut Tour runs daily at 11:00 am from Theaterplatz - King Johann, Dresden. www.kurtvonnegut-tour.com/
+49 (0) 172 78 15 007
Google map: bit.ly/QtAEql
Here is a delightful farmhouse with self-contained accommodation big enough for two families, as well as two B&B rooms in the family's main house. David Sturge is English and his wife is German, so English is definitely spoken!
You can stay for many types of craft weeks or just for a holiday in a pretty village in nice countryside. Besides cycling, walking, visiting castles, etc. Dresden and Leipzig are within easy reach.
The owners have carefully renovated the farmhouse themselves using ecologically sound materials and methods. Constanze Sturge's paintings hang on the walls, and there are fresh flowers in the rooms. The house for rent has its own sunny garden and the farmhouse is in a big garden.
A great place for any group or combination of travellers to enjoy this undiscovered part of Germany - and the prices are very reasonable even at today's euro exchange rate.
A very good hotel in a good location for the main sights in Dresden. It is about a ten-minute walk to the Zwinger and the Semper Opera. Trams 10 and 11 stop close by and are very convenient.
The hotel is very comfortable. The staff are friendly, helpful and efficient. Breakfasts are excellent and the restaurant is very good, although choice is a little limited.
Ostra Alle 33
Wandering up a quiet sidestreet back through Dresden’s Neustadt to our hotel one balmy June evening, we came across a couple of empty tables under a window near an archway, decorated with a simple white stone and flower composition, and apparently just waiting for someone to sit down. So we did, of course. After a short pause, a young red-haired guy drifted languidly out of the archway, introduced himself as Ollie the owner, asked us where were from, chatted pleasantly for a bit, and then inquired if we would like to try some local Saxon wines, and of course we said yes.
In a few moments we were sipping at a chilled, floral, round-bodied local white which absolutely enraptured us, with Ollie occasionally sauntering out to check how things were going. Well, things went so well, we made a couple of other visits back to Ollie’s bar during our week-long stay to try some more Saxon wines, enjoy Ollie’s conversation, and, on our last night, to have a delicious light snack of regional cheeses, Spanish and Italian ham, and, this time, a whole bottle of the wine we fell in love with, Schloss Proschwitz, all interleaved with Ollie’s cheerful and friendly banter.
He told us at one point that his family lived quite far away and he didn’t see them too often, but then he shrugged and grinned and said: “Anyway, here, my guests are my family.” What better attitude can a barman have? So, if you’re in Dresden, pop along to Bar Gold, just off Königstrasse in Neustadt, in the Prisco Passage, sip some good Saxon wine, and say hello from Stuart and Bianca!
If you visit Dresden you must go to The Green Vault. It is, simply, the most stunning collection of treasures, mainly collected by Augustus the Strong in the early 18th century.
The range, number and quality of objects on display is simply breathtaking. There are objects in ivory, rock crystal and coral. There are ornate, amazing clocks and caskets. It is difficult to pick out one highlight, but I would suggest that the Throne of the Grand Mogul Aurangzeb is the star.
In many other museums you might find one piece like this among some really rather dull stuff. In The Green Vault it is but one of a constellation, even galaxy, of star pieces. It is the best museum/gallery I have ever seen. Be prepared to spend a long time here.
The New Grunes Gewolbe (Green Vault)
Near The Zwinger and Semper Opera House.
This Old Masters Picture Gallery is attached to the Zwinger (the former royal palace) and was rebuilt in 1964 under the old East German state.
It has an outstanding range of work from the late Middle Ages up to the end of the 18th century. Highlights include paintings by Van Eyck, Durer, Cranach, Raphael, Titian and Rembrandt.
You can buy a day ticket costing 12 euro for this and all the other galleries and museums in and close to the Zwinger. Very good value considering the range and quality of the collections included in the price. Audio guides in English. Note that the modern art gallery (19/20th centuries) is closed for refurbishment until 2008.
Semperbau, Zwinger, Sophienstrasse. Trams 4, 8 or 9 to Theaterplatz. Closed Mondays. www.skd-dresden.de
The writer Schiller is a local celebrity and this restaurant and beer garden commemorates him in an attractive way by serving good quality food and drink at reasonable prices.
The tables outside are crowded from about seven o'clock on, but there seems always to be room, and the atmosphere is welcoming and cheerful.
Schillerplatz, Loschwitz; about 15 mins out of the city centre, on Tram 6 or 12 from Postplatz (Dresden), or bus 85.
Dresden has the largest fleet of paddle steamers in the world. They are moored on the Elbe below the Old City, and offer cruises lasting from an hour, down to the Blue Wonder bridge at Loschwitz and back, or to Meissen, to a week (to Magdeburg, among other places).
Food and drink are served (at very reasonable prices), and some trips are feature Dixieland jazz bands.
Dresden quayside, below the Altstadt (old city centre).
Fares range from around £10 (for the hour trip) upwards.
Tickets bookable in advance from the box office on the quay.
This museum in the city centre reopened in September 2006 after an extensive restoration.
It shows treasures of the Saxony royal house - in particular, decorative objects and jewellery from about 1650 to 1800.
The design of the museum combines the modern with settings appropriate to the period of the exhibits.
All signs are in German and English.
A visit here would interest both old and young.
Residenzschloss, Dresden city centre, Sophienstrasse.
Tram or bus stop Theaterplatz.
The view of Dresden Altstadt from the other side of the river Elbe is probably one of the most spectacular in Germany. The area around the Frauenkirche is still being developed but it's starting to look magnificent already. There are schickymicky bars on the Altsdtadt side, or head for the Neuestadt if you like your entertainment a little more edgy.
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