After we had breakfast in Berlin, the anticipation mounted as we were loading the bus for Dresden. I have been wanting to see Dresden for a while now as they have just recently completed the restoration of the Frauenkirche. I was also excited to see the Semper Oper. When we drove over the bridge to Dresden, the city looked like a Baroque New Jerusalem. It was everything I had imagined and more. The Zwinger, the Semper Oper, the Frauenkirche, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the Meissen Porcelan. Everything perfect, and everything so close together. I just wanted to quickly get out of the bus and explore.
The bus dropped us off at a lovely park near the Zwinger. As we walked through the park, you could see the architecture of the museum as well as the beautiful still lake and perfectly placed fountains. John and I stopped to get a photo of me with two statues. One of a bust of Robert Schumann, and the other a commemoration of Heinrich Schütz. We had a scheduled tour of the Gemäldegallerie Alter Meister (the museum of the old masters). What a joy and privilage this was. We saw, most notably, the Sistine Madonna by Raphael, and some important works by masters such as Rembrandt and Van Dyck. The other rooms held more glorious things such as the most beautiful collection of Medieval armor ans weapons. You just cannot imagine the treasures that we saw. After we went to the museum we were a bit hungry and decided to walk to the restaurant section of town to grab a quick bite to eat.
We found a very interesting store selling bagel sandwiches. Normally, this is not too interesting, but in Germany, it is rare to say the least to be able to find bagels. So we got some nice bagel sandwiches that the girls didn’t care for, but we made them eat. It is hard for them to get used to the food that they don’t usually have, or food that is made slightly different from home. We do have a rule that they must try everything, but if they do not like it after the first bite, then OK. They seem to not abuse the rule, so it is OK.
After lunch we headed back to the Zwinger where we had a guided tour of Dresden. Our guide was great, but she was a little vertically challenged and had a soft voice, so it was hard to hear her at times. We ended the tour at the newly restored Frauenkirche. This was the moment John and I had been waiting for the whole trip. This moment would have to wait. When we arrived there, the church was closed for a rehearsal for a concert. The church worker then told our giuse that it would open back up again between 8:00 and 9:30 in the evening for viewing. OK, we thought, and went on our way and got some ice cream and souveniers. Thankfully, the hotel was within walking distance to everything. We went out of town for dinner and had tomato soup and a wonderful wurst.
After dinner we were excited to get back to the Frauenkirche. We walked from our hotel to the church and noticed right away that the doors were closed. “NO”!!!!!!!! I thought. Somebody had given us the wrong information. I was right. The time we were told was for the concert. My heart sank. Then it sank a million times lower when to make things worse, it was a concert of Bach Cantata’s with Emma Kirkby Soprano and Michael Chance, Alto. YEP!!!! I was heartbroken. So much so, I had our tour director try and get me in part way through the concert. Of course, being good rule followers that the German’s are, it was a no go. I was so sad. I waited outsidethe church in a local cafe sipping a cappucino to wait until the concert had ended to see if I could get a quick look inside. The concert had ended, and I saw Emma Kirkby walking insidethe church as it was almost empty of the people. Unfortunately, I could only catch a couple of glances on the inside of the church as the doors remained open to let the audience out, and the german volunteers were still manning the entrances. I felt very let down and saddened that I could not come in. As it was getting darker, we all walked up onto the bridge to watch the river Elbe. It was a lovely night. There were many students playing in quartets or quintets. we headed down to the Zwinger and we were pleasantly surprised when all of a sudden we were treated to a wonderful display of fireworks over the Semper Oper! This was by far my favorite city and I think it will be for a long time.