Thursday, August 30, 2007


On our way from Cottbus back to Berlin, we decided to stop and see a couple sites. One of them was my favorite of the trip: the Spreewald. It is a Unesco biosphere reserve site and is a series of slow flowing rivers. The only way to reach most of the area is by boat. The residents get their mail by boat and the residents are of Sorb descent. The Sorbs are of Slavic descent and are a small minority living in the area.

We rented a canoe and paddled around the area for a couple hours. It was a warm, sunny day and the perfect way to spend it. I used John's camera to take the pictures because if it got wet/wrecked it wouldn't be as expensive to replace as mine. :)


After visiting Dresden, the host mother wanted to take us to Pillnitz which is a complex of buildings built as a summer residence for the Saxon kings. The park was started in 1539 and palaces were built in the 1700s.

There are Japanese gardens and one main claim to fame: an old camellia tree (over 200 years old) that has its own house to keep it from freezing in the winter. We didn't get to go into any of the buildings and didn't stay long because we heard thunder and saw lightening while we were there. Shortly after leaving, the pouring rain started. The camellia tree is in front of the glass house.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


After lunch the day that we were in Dresden, we went to check out Zwinger which is one of Dresden's landmarks. It is a complex of Baroque buildings built by Augustus the Strong (he had many things in the area built). The complex was built in the 1700s and now has a sculpture "museum" and a porcelain collection. The monarchs at the time really liked their porcelain. :) We had fun wandering around the complex as the afternoon light was amazing (and it was so nice to have warm sunny weather).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


As I learned on the trip to Germany, a pieta is a piece of art featuring Mary and Christ. Most churches have at least one of these and there are a lot of different styles. We've seen wooden ones. Sculpture ones. And at one of the churches we went into in Dresden, there what was possibly the most interesting pieta: a Meissen porcelien abstract pieta!

As with the other churches, this one had gotten destroyed and rebuilt. I think I would have liked the church before the bombing because it had some wonderful paintings on the ceiling that have not been restored.

Around Dresden

As I mentioned in my last post about the city, Dresden was bombed heavily during the war. Therefore, there has been a lot of reconstruction. Although a lot of buildings were destroyed, the city still has some charm and grandeur.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Murphy's Law

I am really picky about shoes. I tend to buy comfortable shoes that I hope will be durable as well. I want my shoes to be a bit fashionable but don't have to be trendy. So, I have spent two years looking for a pair of comfortable, versatile black heels (with a low heel so I can actually walk). About a month ago, I decided that I would stop looking and just buy a pair of Clarks in black even though I have the same pair in brown. I can wear the heels with skirts or trousers and they are pretty comfortable throughout the day. So I caved in since I need a pair of black heels for the wedding we are going to next month. And I bought them. And I like them.

Today on a whim, I went into a Clarks store on my way home from work and what do I see: lots of low black heels that are cute! There was a pair with a little bow thing on them that I really liked but I can't buy two pairs of black heels, especially since when I buy a pair of shoes I get rid of one. I also saw two pairs of red shoes that I really like. I tried one pair on and I think they'd be quite comfortable. Now I just have to figure out what pair of shoes I'll get rid of if I get these...

(Note: I tried to put in a link to the shoes, but Clarks web site is set up such that you can't copy images or link to the shoes)


The first thing we went to see in Dresden was the Frauenkirche. This church was bombed and destroyed during WWII and was a famous landmark/symbol of Dresden before the war. There apparently was a lot of controversy around whether or not to rebuild the church, but it has been rebuilt. The church is unique in that it is mostly circular and has a very tall circular tower. People started raising funds to restore the Baroque style church in 1990 and I think it just got completed this year. I have to say, the views from the top of the tower are pretty nice. We didn't get into the actual church so I can't say what it looked like but from the tower it looked "new" to me...


On one of our day trips while in Germany (yes, we are still on the Germany trip posts), we took a day trip to Dresden. We really wanted to go a particular museum because it had a lot of crown jewels in it but it was closed the day we were there. :(

Anyway, I still am not really sure what I thought of Dresden. It was bombed heavily during the WW II and they have rebuilt a lot of things and are still rebuilding some. However, they are rebuilding them to make them look old. So, really they are recreating, or trying to, what Dresden looked like before the war. In the city, you have older buildings that survived the war, buildings that were bombed and restored, and new buildings. While that sounds like a good mix, something about the feel of the city was off to me. I think there were a few things that didn't sit as well with me. First, while I am in favor of restoring buildings that were damaged by bombs, the way it was done seemed to detract from the buildings to me. See, you could see the old and new bricks so the buildings looked like this patchwork. The new bricks just didn't seem to fit in. In the new buildings made to look old: well, I just don't like this style. If it is new, let it look new. I think it looks odd when the bricks are really clean and "shiny" but the style is period. But that is just my opinion...

Monday, August 20, 2007


After the porcelain factory it was getting late, but we went to try and visit the palace and cathedral of Meissen. We got there at a quarter to six so we were only able to quickly view the palace since it closed at six. It turns out the cathedral closed at six too. :( I love to take photos of churches.