Baroque Overload

Trip Start Jun 30, 2012
Trip End Jul 28, 2012

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Flag of Germany  , Saxony,
Saturday, July 14, 2012

Andrea and I rose early to catch the 7:02am train to Dresden. Using a "Saxon pass" which is a group train ticket good for up to 5 persons between any number of cities on a given day for a discounted price.  Mary Beth, another participant made it in time to join us. 

We arrived sometime before 8:30am to a city just waking up, streets wet from a light, morning rain.  Dresden, a beautiful city with baroque architecture and rich in history.  It was a stronghold and tons of money poured into it due to it's location and rulers of the time.  It was a bit overwhelming in that once in the city center, every where you turned you saw some amazing sight.  Walk around the corner and the massive amount of architecture continued.  And even more amazing, 75 % of this was destroyed during WWII (we did much of the bombing), and has been rebuilt.  We explored palaces, the opera house and grounds, the “Old Masters” art museum holding pieces by Rafael, Durer, lots of Luther art, and more.  There are lovely plazas, churches, the outdoor cafes.  At 1pm we met the rest of our group who arrived on a later train.  I opted to set off on foot to walk along the river, cross the bridge and explore the new town area.  This whole riverfront reminded me of both Budapest and Prague with lovely, wide walkways, stone bridges, vendors and artists with cobblestone everywhere. 

On the other side I found lovely shops, an amazing soap shop, ice cream, and entered one church that houses the remaining altar from a Baroque church that was bombed but not rebuilt.  An  piano and oboe practice was happening.  They didn’t seem to mind the few of us who wandered in and out.  I found a cake decorating shop with every imaginable cookie cutter possible; even a saguaro cactus!  Back on the other side I wandered around one church in particular.  A second wedding for the day did not allow me to explore the inside, so I watched some street performers outside.  One man in white face, white gown, hair and large wings left a creepy feeling.  Two others were all in gold and would make some movements every time a coin was dropped in their  basket.  The rain was coming and going again.  I had hoped to get a cup of coffee but the rain came fast and strong.  I was ok, but the waitress was caught inside the restaurant.  A man came by and dropped a wooden puppet/ornament with a note on my table.  I’m pretty sure if I had taken it he would have asked for a donation. 

We left Dresden in time to meet others at the hotel to walk to the final concert of the Bach Competition at the Thomas Church.  Because time was short, some of us opted for supper on the run from Burger King.  Sigh….it seems a shame with all this good food around. 

The concert featured the first, second, and third place winners in cello, organ and voice.  It was lovely, especially in that place, but it was clear the competition was over in that the selections did not seem as challenging as what we had witnessed earlier.  The Chinese cello player got first and still played with no accompaniment and no music!  She was trained at Oberlin and Julliard, by the way. 

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