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Sunday June 17, 2007

            We are in the heart of Europe, on the mid-eastern edge of Germany and in the heart of Saxony, in its beautiful and historic capitol of Dresden (Official Site.)  After its WWII destruction it was slowly restored during the Communist era and lovingly restored after its freedom in 1989.  This is a city not to be missed on any visit to Germany.  I loved it.


            Dresden (city flag left, coat of arms right) is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony.  It has an area of 127 mi2 (329 Km2) and a population of 529,781 with a population density of 4,173/mi2 (1,611 /Km2.)  It is situated in a valley on the Elbe River, near the Czech border. The Dresden population area is part of the Saxon Triangle metro area with 2.4 million inhabitants.  Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor.  The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city center as well as to its housing one of the largest jewel collections in Europe.  It was the southern part of East Germany (GDR, red in map right) but, since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has regained importance as one of the cultural, educational, political and economic centers of Germany and Europe today.

            Although Dresden is a relatively recent city of Slavic origin, the area had been settled in the Neolithic era by Linear Pottery culture tribes around 7500 BC.  Its founding and early growth is due to the eastward expansion of the Germanic peoples, mining in the nearby Ore Mountains and the establishment of the Margravate of Meissen.  Its name etymologically derives from the Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaning "people of the forest."  By the late 12th Century, the Slavic settlement had developed on the southern bank and another settlement on the northern bank.  It was known as Antiqua Dresdin since 1350 and later as Altendresden.  Dresden became a city in 1206 and recently celebrated its 800th birthday in 2006.

            Dietrich (Theodoric I, 1162–1221, above left) was the Margrave of Meissen and chose Dresden as his interim residence in 1206.  After 1270, Dresden became the capital of the margravate.  It was restored to the Saxon Wettin dynasty around 1319.  From 1485, it was the seat of the dukes of Saxony, and from 1547, the Electors as well.  The ruler of Saxony, Frederick Augustus I (1526-1586) (left, by Cranach Younger) was named the first Saxony Elector to the Holy Roman Emperor in 1553.

            King August II the Strong (1670-1733) (right) became King August of Poland.  He converted to Catholicism to accede to the Polish throne but Saxony was totally Protestant and this did become a problem.  He gathered many of the best musicians, architects and painters from all over Europe to Dresden.  His reign marked the beginning of Dresden's emergence as a leading European city for technology and art.  Dresden suffered heavy destruction in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763,) and following its capture by Prussian forces, its subsequent re-capture, and a failed Prussian siege in 1760.  Below left is a depiction of how the city looked in 1521 with its moat and fortified walls.  Below right is a depiction of its appearance in 1550.


            Between 1806 and 1918 the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony (which was a part of the German Empire since 1871.)  During the Napoleonic Wars, the French Emperor conquered Saxony and he made Dresden a base of operations, winning there the famous Battle of Dresden in August 1813.  That conquest was short-lived, however.  Dresden was later a center of the German Revolutions in 1848 with the May Uprising in 1849.  You can read all about it by clicking the links.

            Below left is a map depiction of the city in 1750 and on the right is the Zwinger Palace in 1896.


            Below are beautiful old stock photos of how Dresden looked circa 1890-1900.  Left is the Augustus Bridge crossing the Elbe with the Frauenkirche (Protestant) on the left and the Hofkirche (Catholic) on the right.  Right is the Zwinger Palace and its gardens.

            During the 19th Century, the city became a major center of economy, including automobile manufacturing, food processing, banking and the manufacture of medical equipment.  In the early 20th Century Dresden was particularly well known for its camera works and its cigarette factories.  It is interesting to note that Dresden inventors came up with the first European porcelain (Johann Friedrich Böttger (below left) in 1708,) the first toothpaste (Chlorodont in 1900) and the first filtered cigarette in 1934.


            Now to the bad history of Dresden, which cannot be ignored.  The Bombing of Dresden was an attack on the city that took place in the final months of WW II.  In four raids between February 13-15, 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force and 527 of the U.S. Army Air Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city.  The resulting firestorm destroyed 15 mi2 (39 Km2) of the city center.  By early morning on February 14th (Ash Wednesday,) the center of the city, including its Altstadt, was engulfed in a firestorm, with temperatures peaking at over 2700 °F (1500 °C.)  Below is what the central city looked like after the fires died out.

            From 22-25,000 people were killed.  Of that, 6,865 were cremated on the Altmarkt square (below left) because there were not enough people to bury them.  Below right is a woman victim of the bombing conflagration.  It must have been horrific.  Post-war discussion of whether or not the attacks were justified has led to the bombing becoming one of the moral controversies of WWII.  You can read about the two sides of the story by clicking the link above.  As would be expected, it is still something on the minds of Dresden residents today.


            Below is a map of the central city at the bend in the Elbe River with notations of important things to see and museums.

            Below is a fairly complete list of everything worth seeing as well as the museums in Dresden in case you might be tempted to visit.  Just zoom past it if not of interest.  There are stock photos of most of the important sights.

One could print out the following section and use it as a guide for touring Dresden.

  • Frauenkirche. Georg-Treu-Platz 3, +49-3-516-560-6100. The original Church of Our Lady was completely destroyed during WWII. It was totally reconstructed. The City of Coventry, which was bombed by the Luftwaffe in WWII, donated the golden cross for the dome of the church. Check out some ruins in the basement. Do not miss the tower visit . (Photos later)

  • Zwinger Palace. The baroque palace features a nympheum, many sculptures by Permoser, a bell pavilion and famous art collections. entry is free.
    • Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) – Reopens March 2013.
    • Rüstkammer  The Armory of Saxon Kings
    • Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection.) Entry fee.
    • Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Royal Cabinet of Math and Physics Instruments.) – Reopens April 2013.

    On the right is a fragment of the Zwinger Place after the 1945 bombing.


  • dresden schloss und Grünes Gewölbe. The Green Vault is Europe's most splendid treasure chamber museum.  You can see the largest green diamond and the court of Aurengzeb and its precious crown jewels.  Note that it is actually two museums, each requiring a separate ticket: The Historic Green Vault (Historisches Grünes Gewölbe) is famous for its splendors of the historic treasure chamber as it existed in 1733 (Tickets MUST be ordered in advance,) while the New Green Vault (Neues Grünes Gewölbe) focuses on each individual object in neutral rooms.

Below left is how it looked in the Communist era in 1980 and on the right how it looks today.


  • SemperOper. Official site. English tours at 3pm; German tours throughout the day. One of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. The acoustics and the orchestra, the Staatskapelle, are marvelous.  Its history saw many operas of Wagner and Strauss having their first nights there. tickets must be booked in advance.  Some last-minute tickets are available from the box office shortly before the performance starts.  Seats which do not have a good view are very cheap, and you can sit on benches behind the seats, right at the top of the auditorium, for free.  Tours: €8, €4 reduced and a €2 photography pass.


                  Above is the Semper Oper today and a depiction of the stage view in 1840.  Below is the interior today.

  • Neue Synagogue, Hasenberg 2. The synagogue (left and right) was built in the same place at which stood from 1840 until the 1938 pogrom, the Dresden synagogue by Gottfried Semper (1860, below center.)  Ground was broken on November 9, 1998, exactly 60 years after the destruction of Semper's original synagogue The consecration occurred on November 9, 2001.  This New Synagogue was the first synagogue built in East Germany.


  • Elbe Valley. The valley (red outline on map) used to be on the UNESCO World Heritage List, until the government decided to build a four-lane highway Waldschlösschen Bridge through the heart of it.  So now it is known as "one of only two un-UNESCO'ed sites in the world." still a popular tourist attraction.

  • Dresden Neustadt. Very nice, lively neighborhood. Part alternative, part "pseudo-exclusive" and expensive. Check out the Bunte Republik Neustadt festival in June.

  • Dresden Baroque Quarter. Real baroque houses. The quarter reaches from the "Heinrichstrasse" up to the "Albert Platz." On the Heinrichstrasse there are a lot of antique stores. It is the quarter where you will find many small shops.  It is the quarter of individuality.

  • Elbwiesen (River Banks.) Go to the (mostly) green river banks, especially in hot summer evenings and nights for a very nice view of the old parts of the city and lots of people playing sports and having barbecues and parties. There are often big concerts and a huge movie screen offering "outdoor cinema."

  • Großer Garten (Big Garden). Recommended for relaxing and sports (rollerblades are allowed.) It is Dresden's "green lung" and can be reached easily by tram. You can also go for a ride on a miniature train through the park. (right)

  • Kunsthofpassage. a passage in the middle of Neustadt where you may find two different buildings, many little stores and some bars. A nice complex of inner courtyards artistically decorated. The complex offers art galleries as well as coffee shops.

  • Fürstenzug. (Procession of the dukes of Saxony) This is the largest porcelain painting in the world which shows almost all Saxon princes and kings on their horses in splendid parade uniforms.  It leads to the "Stallhof" - the last preserved tournament place contained in a European castle. (below)

  • Schwebebahn Dresden. A unique aerial tramway; the oldest suspension railway in the world (1901.) (below left & center)


  • Yenidze  (above right) is a former cigarette factory which was built between 1907-9 by the architect Martin Hammitzsch and is used today as an office building.  It is notable for its Orientalized exterior design which borrows design elements from mosques.  "Yenidze" was the name of a tobacco company started by Hugo Zietz, which imported tobacco from Ottoman Yenidze, Thrace (modern Genisea, Greece.)  The "Oriental" style of architecture publicized the origin of the tobacco.  It has 600 windows of various styles; the dome is 66 ft (20 m) high.
  • Gläserne Manufaktur, Lennestrasse 1, +49-180-589-6268 () Mon-fri 8AM-8PM. The "transparent factory" is the site where Volkswagen builds its luxury sedan Phaeton (below left.)  English language tour: €5.



  • Pfunds Molkerei Official Site, Bautzner Straße 79. A milk store which is in the Guinness Book as the most beautiful milk store in the world. Decorated with 2,668 ft2 (248 m2) of handmade Meissen tiles. (Mr. Pfund, above right)



 Museums and Galleries                   To see a list of all 57 Museums located in Dresden Click HERE.

  • Albertinum Museum    Official Site. The collections of "Neue Meister" feature a wonderful collection ranging from romantic painters up to Rotloff and Van Gogh. It has been refurbished after a devastating flood of the Elbe in 2002.




  • Japanisches Palais (Official Site) (on north bank of the Elbe between Augusbrücke and Marienbrücke.)  The palace was bombed out, and in its partially restored state holds several small museums, including the museum of natural history of the region, the museum of prehistory and a display of assorted exotic garments (ethnological collection.) (below)



  • Kasematten (Casement Bunker) Brühlschen garden 4, under the Brühlsche Terrasse (the terrace at the Elbe river.)  Apr-Oct Mon-Sun 10AM-6PM; Nov-Mar 10AM-5PM.  The remains of the old fort gives you a glimpse of what a fort in a medieval European town was like.  Tour: €4, €2 reduced. (below left & center)


  • Senckenberg Museum of Mineralogy. Königsbrücker Landstr. 159, +49-351-795-841-4403. geosciences. The collections comprise about 400,000 minerals, fossils, meteorites and stones.  The specimens in its collections were first mentioned in 1587 making it the oldest geoscience institution in the world, (above right)
  • Erich-Kästner-Museum Official Site. Dedicated to Erich Käster, the famous writer who was born and raised in Dresden. (below)


  • Military History Museum, (Official Site) (Tram 7-8 or bus 64 to ''Stauffenbergallee.'') 10 am - 6 pm (Mo 9 pm); Closed Wednesdays items and machines of military history of Germany and the its complicated relationship with its armed forces and warfare.  215,278 ft2 (20,000 m2) of indoor and outdoor exhibition space and 1.2 million exhibits. adult €5; Mondays 6 - 9 pm free. (below)



  • German Hygiene Museum, Lingnerplatz 1. A comprehensive museum dedicated to hygiene in various cultures. (below left)


  • Kunsthaus Dresden, Rähnitzgasse 8. An exhibition hall for contemporary art. (above right)
  • Leonhardi Museum, Grundstraße 26. A private art collection of GDR art including works by the collector himself. (below)

  • Kunsthof Dresden, Görlitzer Straße 23.  a farm in the Outer Neustadt in Dresden which extends to the Alaunstraße.  It is an assorment of public artworks, galleries, and shops selling art as well as cafes and restaurants.  To listen to the music of the rain (Regenwasserspiel, below left) go to the bottom of the page on this link. (below)



To see a list of all 57 Museums located in Dresden Click HERE.

Outside Dresden          Here are places to see only a short drive from the city.

Moritzburg Castle (Schloss Moritzburg) is a Baroque palace in Moritzburg, 8.1 mi (13 Km) northwest of Dresden.  The castle has four round towers and lies on a symmetrical manmade island.  It is named after Duke Moritz of Saxony, who had a hunting lodge built there between 1542-1546.  The surrounding woodlands and lakes have been a favorite hunting area of the electors and kings of Saxony.


Pillnitz Castle (Schloss Pillnitz) is a restored Baroque castle at the eastern end of the city of Dresden.  It is located on the bank of the Elbe in the former village of Pillnitz.  The Castle was the summer residence of many electors and kings of Saxony; it is also known for the Declaration of Pillnitz in 1791.  The castle complex consists of three main buildings:

  1.     the Riverside Palace (Wasserpalais) on the riverfront

  2.     the Upper Palace (Bergpalais) on the hillside, both Baroque with Chinoiserie elements

  3.     the later Neoclassical New Palace (Neues Palais), which links them together on the east side.

The buildings enclose a Baroque garden and are surrounded by a large public park.  Today, the castle houses the Arts and Crafts Museum (Kunstgewerbemuseum) of the Dresden State Art Collections and a Palace Museum (Schlossmuseum).



Basteibrücke  Below are stock photos of the mountainous areas just south of the city and the famous Basteibrücke (Bastei Bridge.)  We missed all three but they are all big tourist attractions and worth seeing.


            Below is an aerial view of a bend in the Elbe River from the rocks above.

            I woke up at 6:15 and then again at 9:30 and then got up; put my running gear and rain gear on for church and by 10:15 I was running to central Dresden in the pouring rain to find the main Catholic Hofkirche.   I took these photos after Mass when the sun came out.


            It's really quite a beautiful structure right next to the river.  It was built from 1738 to 1751 by order of King Frederick Augustus II, after the Protestant city of Dresden built the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) between 1726 and 1743.  The King decided that a Catholic church was needed in order to counterbalance the Protestant Frauenkirche.  He hired Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri to build it and he brought all his workers from Italy.  The King (August the Strong) had converted to Catholicism in order to also become King of Poland.  Building this in this ardently Protestant city required compromises even for a king.  The church bells never rang until Napoleon captured Saxony in 1806.  The aisles were made large for processions because they were not allowed to have them in the streets.  Below is what it looked like in 1840.

            The bell tower is 272 ft (83 m) high.  Along the exterior sides there are 78 statues 10 ft (3 m) tall.  When Augustus died, he was buried in Krakow as King of Poland (below left,) but asked that his heart be placed in a plain copper vessel (below center) in the crypt below the Cathedral here, next to the coffins of the Wettin princes (below right.)


            I was glad to get inside the massive cathedral (out of the rain) and because of the rain, I had to finish my fast walking in circles in one of the chapels in the back of the church (below.)  I was lucky it was empty.

            When I was done, I attended the 10:30 Mass at the Hofkirche which is called the Kathedral Sanctissimae Trinitatis (Holy Trinity Cathedral.)  Inside they had a map of all the Catholic churches in Dresden.

            They also had this procession ceremony with flags (below left) inide.  The side altars and statuary were very nice and seemed to be kept up and very pristine.


            The interior was quite dramatic in this Romanesque-Gothic structure.  It is hard to believe that it was completely destroyed in the bombings during WWII and restored afterwards.  Below is the view to the rear of the church with the historic organ.


            Below is a stock photo of the massive ceiling.  On the right is the view toward the altar.  It is much prettier inside than outside.


            These are closer shots of the marble-laid altar with its silver candelabras.


            Here is one of the side altars (left) and their elaborate pulpit and stairway to it.


            After photographing the beautiful interior and the exterior in the sunshine (above,) at 11:45 AM, I started wandering around and taking photos of the architecture.



            I decided to head for the large bridge that was depicted in many of the paintings shown above.  It is called the Augustusbrücke or Augustus Bridge.  On the bridge is this large stone carving of slaying a lion.


            The brdige is very solid.  On the right is the view looking back toward the city.


            Here is the view I got looking down the River Elbe.

            And here is the view looking up the river.  You can see they have docking for river cruise ships.

            I got off the bridge and headed over to take pictures of the SemperOper (Semper Opera House.)  This large plaza is called Theaterplatz and it is a very impressive and a beautiful central area surrounded by all these buildings.  The Zwinger Palace is in the center and the SemperOper is outside this panorama (below.)

            Below are my shots of the SemperOper and its central entrance area.



            Above is a closer look at the dome above the entrance.  Below is the statue of King Johann (1801-1873) (below) which sits out front of the Opera House.

            Below left is the Zwinger Palace Salon of Mathematics and Physics which houses a collection of scientific instruments and a collection of porcelain.


            Below is a shot of the Zwinger Palace.


            The Zwinger was built in Rococo style and designed by court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann (right.)  It served as the orangery, an exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court.  The location was formerly part of the Dresden fortress of which the outer wall is preserved.  The name derives from the German word Zwinger (outer ward of a concentric castle;) it was for the cannons that were placed between the outer wall and the major wall.  The Zwinger was not enclosed until the Neoclassical building by Gottfried Semper (1803-1879) (left) called the Semper Gallery was built on its northern side.  Semper also did the original Synogogue and the Opera House.  Today, the Zwinger is a museum complex that contains the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery,) the Armory (Rüstkammer,) both of which I plan to visit today, as well as the Dresden Porcelain Collection (Porzellansammlung,) and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments.)

            It was now time for me to start touring a little by seeing some galleries.  I started my visit in the Rüstkammer in the area with the guns and armor.  There was this beautifully elaborate backgammon game (below left) and then all the ancient hand guns.


            The 16th Century armor on the soldiers and horses were quite spectacular in all their gleaming etched metal.




            I eventually wandered into the art museum part (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister) and came across the beautiful landscapes by Canaletto (Bernardo Bellotto) who had moved here to Dresden from Venice and lived here a long time.  On the left is the stock photo I found of it (in black borders) and on the right are the photographs I took of the art piece.  Remember, if you have no interest in art, just scroll quickly past it all.

            An Aside

There are two so-called "Canalettos."  The first is the uncle, the original, whose name was Giovanni Antonio Canal (below center) (1697-1768.)  To differentiate him from his father, he was called "little Canal" or in Italian "Canaletto."  He became famous for his landscape paintings such as those below of Venice.  He spent time in London but returned to Venice where he died.  The other is his nephew, Bernardo Bellotto (1721-1780) who was trained by his uncle and also did landscapes of Venice but later moved to Dresden at the invitation of the King and later to Russia and Poland where he died in Warsaw.  He signed his paintings as "Canaletto."

To see all the artists in this museum, click here.

            The first art I came upon were the great landscapes of Dresden by Bellotto as "Canaletto."  Remember on the left is the stock photo and on the right are the photos I took.

Canaletto (Bernardo Bellotto) "Dresden from the right bank of the Elbe above the Augustus Bridge") 1747

Canaletto "Dresden seen from the left bank of the Elbe fortifications"1748

Canaletto "The ruins of the former Church of the Cross in Dresden" 1765


Canaletto "View of Marketplace in City of Pirna"


            Here are a few I never found the name of the work or the artist.


            I went through many more than I have photos of here and I was getting a little tired, so at noon, I stepped outside the museum to their Alte Meister Café for a cappuccino which cost a whopping €6 and I also bought a book on Dresden for €8.50.


            I nice gentleman asked if I wanted my picture taken.  Of course I'm still in my running outfit which by now has dried out.  After reading and relaxing, at 12:50, I walked over to the Zwinger Café and had another cappuccino for €5.  Well rested, at 1:40, I reentered the gallery and got back to where I left off, in the Canaletto section.

Canaletto  "Dresden from the right bank of the Elbe below the Augustus Bridge"  1748


Canaletto "The Neumarkt in Dresden from from Moritz Strasse (Neumarkt Hauptwache)"1750


Canaletto  "Der Zwingerhof in Dresden"  1752


Canaletto "Neumarkt in Dresden from Jüdenhofe" 1749


Canaletto "Der Neustädter Market in Dresden" 1750

            As you can see, these landscape paintings by Canaletto and other painters were very useful in helping restore the city after its WWII destruction.  After Canaletto, I came across the famous painting by Raphael called the "Sistine Madonna."  Note the little angels (or putti in Italian) at the bottom of the painting (right) which have been used in many things and in many places.

Raphael  (1483-1520) "Sistine Madonna"


            Then there was a plethora of so many beautiful pieces of art by the most famous and well-regarded artists in history.

Garofalo "Triumph of Bacchus" 1540


Botticelli "Life of St Zenobius" 1500

My photo of the above and Botticelli's "Madonna and Child and St. John" 1500


Antonello da Messina "St Sebastien" 1478; another St. Sebastian (unknown artist.)


Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) "St. Sebastian" 1583


Nicolas Regnier (1590-1667) "St. Sebastian" 1625


            Nicolas Poussin   (1594-1645) "Reclining Venus and Amor"  1624


El Greco  "Christ Healing the Blind Man" 1560


Adriaen van de Velde (Dutch 1636-1672) "Amusement on the Ice on the Moat" 1669


Saloman de Bray (1597-1664) "Garlanded Young Man" 1635.


Gerard van Homhorst (1590-1656) "Der Zahnarzt" (The Dentist) 1622


Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) "Ganymede in the clutches of the Eagle" 1635


Rembrandt van Rijn "Portrait of the Young Saskia van Uylenburgh of Munchen" 1633.



Raphael (above right) (1483-1520) "The Miraculous Draught of Fishes" 1623; "Commanding St. Peter" 1624.


Otto Dix (1891-) "Der Krieg" 1932

Life of Otto Dix and my shot of "Der Krieg"


Lucas Cranach the Elder "Adam," and "Eve" 1531;           "Two dead Waxwings" 1530


Cranach "Martin Luther" 1532; Bartolomeo "Salome with Head of John the Baptist;" Gaugin "Parau Api Gibts was Neues" 1892

Fra Angelico "The Visitation";     Albrecht Dürer "Berhard von Reesen" 1521


Albrecht Dürer "The Crucifixion" 1496; Hans Holbein "The Madonna", Holbein the Younger "Charles Solier" 1535


Veronese "Capernum" 1582;       Velazquez 1635


Tizian "Alvise dalla Scala" 1562;      Tintoretto "Musical Women" 1566


Rubens "The crowning of Tugenheld by the Goddess" 1616;    Rubens "Drunken Hercules with nymph and satyr" 1616


Jusepe Ribera "St Andrea";       Zubaran "St Bonaventure" 1629


            By 3:40 I had finished all three floors of the gallery and was really ready to relax.  I was worn out.  As you can see, some of the great art of the world is held here in Dresden.  I headed out into the Theaterplatz and found this building called the Italienisches Dörfchen (Italian Village) right along the Elbe River (below.)  Below is the front of the building which holds an office of a winery called Jakob Gerhardt Weingut (Oberdorfstraße 27, Nierstein (map, western Germany, +49-6-133-5070.)


            Below you can see the full extent of the building and that it is right on the river's edge.

            This is where the Italian workers lived when they were working on all the construction in the city such as the Hofkirche.  Below is some of their stonework on the building.  I discovered they had a restaurant in the building called "Bellotto" and at 3:50 I made a reservation for dinner there since it looked like ideal spot.


            As part of the complex, I found this little bar called Piccolo [ +49-35-498-1628] so at 4 PM I sat down and had a cappuccino and a small bottle of Pellegrino on their scenic terrace overlooking the Elbe.  Below, I could look down upon their biergarten.


            I got some photos of the tower on the Semper Opera House and the statues that adorn it.


            At 5:20 I walked back to our hotel to get changed and go to dinner.  Over the past 40 years Marcia has tried to ignore the electronic revolution that has swirled around her, but she has gotten very good with the cell phone and texting and finally agreed to do email.  For some reason today she really wanted to check her email which is rare when we are traveling.  I got her on the hotel computer and she got it done.

            Then the two of us took a lovely walk back to the same area I was in and at 8 PM we went for dinner at Bellotto at the Italienisches Dörfchen [Theaterplatz 3, +49-35-149-8160.]  It is named after the famous artist Bernardo Belloti who was called Canaletto (see above.)  They have an outside patio deck looking over the river (below right.)


            To see 360 views of the beautiful entrance and the different restaurants and bars click here.  This is really quite a place.  Here is the ornate entrance area.

            We decided to first have a beer and wine in the Belloti Bar on the first floor.

            Their bar was very modern and fancy.  I had a Freiberger pils and Marcia a glass of chardonnay.


            We chose to be seated at a lovely table outside (like everyone else) on their other veranda overlooking the huge Theaterplatz and we decided to relax for a while and enjoy the beautiful view while sharing bottles of Pellegrino water and a 2005 Italian Villa Antinori Toscana vino bianco.


            What a beautiful setting with the Semper Opera House right in front of us.


            We looked over their menu and since it was in Italian, it was easier for us then if it was in German,


            As an appetizer, Marcia had an insalata sedane e nocci con avocado (celery and walnut salad with avocado  (which was unripe)) (below left) and I had a very tasty vitello tonnato (cold sliced veal covered with a tuna sauce) (below right.)  It doesn't usually come with all that stuff on top which I would have preferred not to have.


            It was very good anyway; really Italian.  During dinner, Marcia had a German chardonnay and I had two Freiberger pils beers.  For an entree, she had pesce spada (swordfish) with a ragu (below left) and I had paparadella in a duck stew (below right.)  Both were really excellent.


            Here is a view of the plaza we had during our dinner.  It was beautiful watching the sunset.

            I took this shot of the Opera House with the flash on (left) and without it (right.)


            As I wandered around the restaurant, I came across this painting of a girl named Chrisane Beulmann and this locked cabinet displaying all kinds of pasta.


            During dinner, we met a very nice couple from Augsburg (in Bavaria.)  Their names are Raouf Kneuse and Dagmar Fuß.  We had a very good time chatting with them.



            At 11:45, we left the restaurant and took a taxi back to the hotel.  It cost €6.80 but our cab driver was an Iraqi from the city of Basra and he refused to take any tip from us in appreciation of what America has done for his country.  I was very touched.  What a very busy and full day this was.


KJH                                                                                                               Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #12 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD


Dresden, Germany

Sent 1-17-2013

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