Departing Again

Trip Start Dec 16, 2007
Trip End Feb 24, 2008

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Today has been my last day of travelling with the parents and also my last day in Dresden. While Mum and Dad will be staying here for another 2 nights including this evening I am departing on the City Night Line in a couple of ours for an overnight journey to Frankfurt.

It all began with me waking from one of my best sleeps of the trip (no snoring and a proper bed!) in my own nice Mercure room before joining up with the parents for breakfast. As I waited for Mum and Dad to prepare themselves, from their room I noticed snow begin to gently fall. To avoid the rip-off price for breakfast at the hotel we were heading out to have breakfast at a café, which now involved walking through the snowfall. Unfortunately the 2 places we had earmarked for consideration were still not open and the snow was getting heavier so we headed back to wait at the hotel, but on the way we saw another bakery/café that we had missed before.

Breakfast was a very relaxing affair with nice food, for about half of what the hotel was asking, consumed next to a large glass wall looking out at the snow. The snowfall became heavier before lightening off again, leaving a nice white coating on the ground but not sticking to any trees or light poles etc.

The next item on our agenda was an interim laundromat visit, mainly to ensure I have mostly clean garments to synchronise my clothes cycle with Belinda when I meet up with her tomorrow. This was derailed by our planned laundromat being closed for the day (we phoned to check) so we had to ask reception for advice. They advised us that a nearby block of units had a self-service laundry in it that we could use so Dad and I set off for some recon in the still-falling snow while Mum sorted the clothes back in the room.

The heaviest snowfall of the day was experienced as we took our clothes from the hotel across the tram tracks and the road to the block of units, with Dad expressing his joy and surprise at the size of the flakes. Laundromats are laundromats so I won't bore you with all the details except that we had a break in our room during the wash cycle and to say that the clothes are now clean.

Finally we were free to get out and about so first priority, since it was my last day, was to purchased tageskartes (day tickets) and take the tram out to the Dresdener Bergbahnen. I had visited both of these railways during my last trip to the town but the parents were up for it and they both provide a good view over the city. Our first was the funicular, supposedly the oldest operating one in the world, followed by the suspended cable-hauled monorail. By this time in the afternoon the snow had stopped coming down and was drizzling at some times so most of the snow was melting or at least turning to dirty, slippery slush. This did at least provide nice clear views from the hill side at the top of the bergbahnen.

I have neglected to mention our late lunch, which was enjoyed at Café Toscana, right next to the bridge over the Elbe River at Schillerplatz, where one disembarks from the tram to access the bergbahnen. We dined here as soon as we arrived and couldn't resist an arvo tea/dessert of their fantastic goodies. Mum had some Dresdener Stollen, Dad had a Lübecker Sahne Torte (Lübeck Cream Cake, with marzipan) and I had a Nougat Torte.

All in all the day was shaping up pretty nicely with good, heavy (well at least for us Aussies) snowfall in the morning, some nice tram trips, nice mountain railways, topped off with good food and great cake!

As darkness kicked in we returned to the hotel from our excursion and Mum fulfilled her desire to iron some of our clothes before I left. This killed time before we were once again on the tram, this time heading for a scenic round-trip through the Altstadt, over the river, through the Neustadt and back. We ended up disembarking on the return leg at Postplatz, the main tram and bus interchange in town. This has changed a lot since I was last here, and is indeed still changing. The old interchange in the platz itself is gone and has now been replaced by 2 long tram stops with full rooves on both sides of the main shopping side of the intersection. One side is still being completed and, in conjunction with a large construction project further down Wilsdruffer Strasse, trams are not running down that street and its corresponding Postplatz stop at the moment. We were able to read on 1 of the trams when we disembarked that the 5 section Bombardier Flexity trams in Dresden are the longest trams in the world!

Dinner was at the restaurant No.3, in the same dining precinct to the Vietnamese in which we ate yesterday. The food was of high quality and at reasonable prices: a good way to finish off my travels with the parents. We tramed it back the few stops to the hotels because I'm going to miss these cool, and often long trams until I'm here again.

I'm now typing this in my last hours in Dresden, using up my time before my sleeper train departs at 10:56pm. I should meet Belinda tomorrow morning and I'll let you know how things are going sometime in London.
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