Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Girls' trip to Dresden

Manhole covers - The "Dresden"
I have to write this blog since Nat didn't come to Dresden with us.  Back in July, the Under 20's Womens Football World Cup was held in Germany. Since NZ made the cut, and a friend was the assistant couch, naturally a trip was in order. Matilda and I travelled up to Dresden with our Bayreuth friend Jeanne and her 2 kids and met up with Paul's (assistant couch) Mum and Catherine, who had come over from the UK. 

Monday afternoon was spent sightseeing around the old part of town. Dresden was very heavily bombed during the war, so a lot of the buildings have been rebuilt to look like the originals. Amazingly the procession of Princes and the Nymph Bath both remained intact and were absolutely beautiful! 

The Procession of Princes
The Procession of Princes is a mosaic wall that shows 35 kings, margraves and dukes all on horseback who ruled over Saxony from 1127. It is 102m long and just amazing. The wall also survived the big fire, most likely due to the fact that each of the tiles were fired at such high temperatures they could withstand the heat. The artist and his apprentice have naturally included themselves in the wall. If you're going to all that hard work, you might as well leave a part of you behind!

With Catherine at the Nymph Bath

My favourite of all the Dresden attractions was the Nymph Bath. It is part of the Zwinger palace built by Augutus the Strong and amazingly appears unscathed by the war, when you consider it size and how the rest of the city fared! I could have sat here for hours, it was very pretty and peaceful and wasn't overcrowded with tourists.

The Frauen Kirsche Dome
We also checked out the Frauenkirsche which they have only just finished rebuilding. They have used as much of the original stone as possible and have even placed them back in their original places. This was possible because the original stone masons carved their initials into their blocks and they knew where each block had come from. The blackened stone on the left of the church was all original. Apparently in another 100 years the whole church will be the same black.

The view from the top was great (and expensive!). One of the guides kept a very close eye the children, although I'm not sure where she expected them to go, there was a very unclimbable fence around the top.

Matilda 'interacting' at the Hygiene Museum
Tuesday morning we headed off to the Hygiene Museum. More of a museum dedicated to the human body really which has been built in an old mouthwash factory. Being the science geeks that we are, Catherine and I could have spent ages in there. They also have a very cool interactive part for kids where Jeanne and the kids hung out. 

NZ vs. Brazil
Tuesday afternoon was the football match. Sadly NZ lost, but it was great to see the girls play and a beautiful sunny day to sit outside and watch. Matilda managed to make friends with the Columbian team, but then decided to be all shy when they tried to give her cuddles. 

I was surprised by the number of Germans who had turned up to support the NZ girls, most were doing so because they had been to NZ. One guy was sporting an All Blacks shirt, but any support is good support right?

Ampelmann - the good little communist off to work!
Wednesday morning we went for a stroll around the shops before heading back to Bayreuth and 33 degree heat (at 6pm!). All in all, Dresden was lovely. It still has obvious signs of being part of East Germany (little Ampelmann crossing signals!). I reckon its a city you could spend 2 days in and feel like you've seen enough.

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