Monday 28th December, 10:30am and we set off on a 2 hour drive to Dresden.
One thing to keep in mind when travelling into a city on a busy work day, especially if you are not familiar with that city, go to the bathroom en route before you hit the city outskirts. Bernd asked me and Heidi if we needed the bathroom just before we got to the centre and I declined~stupidly as it turned out. Because it was the first shopping day after Christmas, the roads were a carpark in the city centre of Dresden plus we took the wrong turning for the hotel~AAAAAAH it was a little stressful and I had to run to the bathroom as we got to the hotel.
We spent a lovely afternoon looking around this city which has both new and very old architecture. The shopping is very good in the new part although the architecture is cold and severe whereas the old city is just amazing. It was a very cloudy, murky and cold day when we visited but you could see it would be absolutely stunning on a sunny day. The Frauenkirche was magical to see after looking at it in books for years. You can see very clearly where the new reconstruction starts.
This is a big city with absolutely loads to see so leave the heels in the hotel, and put the walking shoes on, especially since the roads in the old area are mostly brick cobble stone. The Zwinger architecture is incredible to see, you need a couple of days to see this all properly, it is all just gorgeous.
We were going to Dresden for a concert at the amazng Frauenkirche at 8pm that evening by the Blechbläserensemble with Ludwig Güttler. I had never heard of this ensemble but it was magic to see and even more wonderful was the superb acoustics. Ludwig Güttler was one of the instigators for promoting the reconstruction of the church after bombing had destroyed it during WW11 by theAnglo-American forces.
After the concert we went across the square to a lovely bar called the Freiberger Shankhaus for a couple of German beers in a cosy ambient atmosphere.
Tuesday 29th saw us shopping for presents and we ended up glued inside Peek and Cloppenburg in the shopping sector with it's range of lovely classy clothes. Thalia.de also is a bookshop that has the most fantastic selection of books and calendars I have seen over 4 levels.
We left at around noon for Meissen which took us approximately 35mins along the River Elbe. There is a striking entry into the city with the beautiful Albrechtsburg in full view. Our visit here was to go and look at Meissen Porcelain. WOW, this is really gorgeous workmanship. The range of designs on show along with an incredible history makes it an absolute joy to venture through this wonderful museum/shop/workshop. I would love to own a set of plates and teacups but unfortunately it is far removed from my budget and the thought of breaking a piece would just set me on fire.
We visited another friend on the way home from Meissen at Hirschfeld where German hospitality came out again in the form of deliciously baked home cakes and another horrendously lethal schnapps with herbs. My God, it set my throat on fire, how does one get used to this drink?
We arrived back in Annaberg at about 5:30pm after an hour's drive from Hirschfeld. It was now starting to get much colder, especially noticeable after Dresden which sits in flatter land, Annaberg being about 800m up in the mountains.