Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekend trip to Dresden!!!

Hi all,

Just back from a weekend adventure in Dresden, another one of Germanys most gorgeous cities checked off the bucket list and it did not disappoint.  Making the trek with Judith, one of my closest friends, already set the tone for a fabulous weekend in and of itself. 

Our first day was spent doing a lot of wandering.  We walked from our hostel the fifteen minutes into the city center, which is mind-blowingly awesome.  Dark, with the same haunting and mysterious vibes that Edinburgh exudes, beautiful, ornate, the city was a sight to behold. 


How crazy is it that just 30 years ago, a visit to Dresden would have been impossible.  After WW2, the city became part of Eastern Germany and thus, was closed to the outside world.  In 1990, with Germanys reunification process, the city began reintegration with the rest of Germany.  This was coupled with the cities restoration.  Dresden was one of the most ravaged cities as a result of the bombings during the war, nearly everything left in ruble and totally destroyed. 

Judith and I wandered the Old Town which contains the Opera House, the Frauenkirche (church of our lady), Zwinger Palace, loads of art galleries and museums.  Its a happening part of the city for sure, both with tourists and civilians as a result of its beauty and history.  Speaking of which, the Frauenkirche is one of the most stunning churches you will ever see within your travel adventures while additionally chock full of interesting history.  Having been completely destroyed during the war and finally rebuilt between 1994 and 2005.

After our in depth explorations of Old Town, we found ourselves crossing the bridge and exploring much of Neustadt (new city) which we agreed is quite reminiscent of Berlin.  Street art and edgy graffiti abound, this was a way fun area to stroll.  Ducking in and out of shops and people watching, we had a grand old time.  We nipped into the Grand Market Hall, meandering between the food stalls and little specialty shops.  Gazed in the windows of charming cafes.  Made our way to the three food places I was dying to try, only to find ourselves turned away at two of them.  Booked solid throughout the entirety of the night.  My heart sinking realizing we absolutely should have made reservations beforehand.  Ah well.

At the end of the day, Judith remarked "today was really funny.  Just lots of fun.  So much laughing.  I had a great time."  She hit the nail on the head.  Our day was in fact filled with much more laughter than usual.  So many silly moments.  Lots of giggling, funny conversation, joking abound.  Great friends make everything that much more fun. 






We stopped for a late lunch at Aha Café.  This place was excellent, whoa.  Healthy, earthy, rustic comfort food  When ordering my dish, I hadn't quite translated the German correctly to myself, not realizing it was soup that I had requested.  So when this was set down in front of me, my heart sank a bit, imagining it wouldn't be that great.  In taking a hesitant bite, I was stunned.  It was DELICIOUS.  Perfectly seasoned, homey, awesome comfort food.  Superb.

Dessert was reminiscent of a German "griesspudding."  Light, fluffy, sweet, so yummy.  Loved this.  Our lunch was chock full of lots of gut busting laughter and interesting conversation :-D

In wandering Old Town, we stumbled across a market of sorts in the main square.  How cute is this market stall??  He was selling some type of bread.  Usually the stalls at German markets are thematic (like so, in the photo) but not quite to this elaborate, decorative degree.  Judith and I agreed, these market stalls in particular were the most thematic and decked out that we had ever seen at a market in Germany!!!  (See photos below for a few more- way cool).









How gorgeous is this??


The Frauenkirche (on the left), with one of the largest domes in Europe.  Unquestionably one of the most gorgeous churches in the world.  Completely bombed during WW2 and restored from the 1990s to 2005.



















How awesome is this architecture?  God.  Stunning.







The famous Opera House of Dresden.





The Zwinger Palace, which used to be an orangery, exhibition gallery, and festival arena for Dresden.  The park and fountains are gorgeous.  Stop by the café inside for a coffee/tea with a fantastic view.

This large tour group would not budge.  Totally ruining my chance for a better photo ;-)







After exploring the length of Old Town, we headed on to the "New Town," which despite its name was the original Old Town of Dresden.  This part of the city whispering echoes of Berlin from its colorful, graffiti covered walls, trendy cafes and eye catching street art.  Judith and I wandered this part of the city for a few hours before stumbling on the CUTEST little café.  We could not turn down the temptation for an afternoon tea break and some cake, the inside of the shop just too inviting and charming.  Continue on below to see this adorable shop and read further details...


Can you see the girl in the window?  That's painted onto the side of the building ;-) so cool.
 
LOVING the architecture of this city.  Gorgeous.  It looks so old, worn, soot covered and romantic.


So.  Initially we stumbled upon this cute little tea shop, planning to take a quick peek inside but then keep moving.  However upon walking in and seeing the luscious looking homemade cakes, the cozy comfy armchairs inviting us to take a seat, the bookshelves overflowing with stories and adventures for the browsing (and taking), we decided on sticking around for a bit.  Judith commenting, "this place is so Brooke."


Our first visit (and sampling) in England, England Café.  Yes, we went back for seconds the next morning (for brunch to be exact ;-)).  Blueberry cinnamon cake which we split between the two of us along with two pots of tea.  Settling into cushiony chairs and perusing the menu, our eyes grew three sizes larger in reading their brunch.  We promptly made reservations for the next morning.


The outtake from a street side photo booth we hopped inside of ;-)




In our explorations of New Town, we stumbled across this building (which was clustered in a grouping of other equally artsy, eye catching, way cool buildings). 

This particular one apparently makes music whenever it rains :-)




Our final food destination for day one.  Sitting downstairs in the cellar which was largely outfitted in red brick and candlelight, making for a romantic, mysterious, inviting atmosphere.  Both of us ended up dining on excellent dishes. 

Judith ordered the cucumber, basil and melon risotto which was shockingly yummy.  Hearty and delicious.  I ordered the "pasta without pasta" which was zucchini noodles mixed with varying vegetables (red pepper, carrots, cherry tomatoes, onion, squash) topped with a scattering of hazelnuts and sunflower seeds, a sprinkling of parmesan on the side, and cooked in some kind of oil and seasoning which was just the bomb.  Oh my.  Bowled over by how tasty this was, vowing to do some recipe experimenting upon getting home.



Day two: back to "New Town" for the brunch at England, England café, which both of us were majorly looking forward to. 

Can you spot the lone pair of shoes dangling...?  Looks like it was a crazy night for someone... ;-)


Way cool old school mailbox, alongside this apartment door.

The inside of England, England Café.  SO cozy, inviting and wonderful.  I would love to open a café like this someday.  The décor would be slightly more modern, organic and classic, but same idea.  Comfy chairs one can sink into, decadent homemade baked goods, huge pots of tea and gigantic mugs of coffee, beautifully printed dishes on which the food is served, and bookshelves piled mile high for customers to browse and enjoy.  Heaven.


Oh my gosh.  It really is the little things in life.  Will you look at those plates?  Charming and totally lovely.  And the scones were to die for.  Moist, lightly sweet, SO yum.  With jam and clotted cream on the side.  Taking me back to our equally amazing time in Edinburgh...






And now, back to wandering the city for our remaining few hours in Dresden. 






This street was gorgeous.  Reminded me a bit of Balboa Island in Laguna Beach, California :-D where my mom grew up.

Loved the grating on the windows alongside the door.  Beautiful, almost like a delicate lace.














  


 

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