DAY EIGHTEEN Saturday 8 June

All this holding hands must be responsible for the slow start for Dresdeners and the city’s visitors on a Saturday morning.  We didn’t think we were up and about ‘early’ but this city was most most definitely asleep when we ventured out for coffee – and it was unexpectedly cold so any shop light on drew us in.  There was only one and it was adjacent to the Kreuzkirche, which would take on significance the next day.

I was out of sorts so it was a grumpy coffee, but on the walk home, the discoveries dissolved my mood.  The Stallhof of the Dresden Castle, the oldest surviving Renaissance courtyard in Europe, built in the late 1500’s, has undergone numerous alterations according to fashion and function, fire damage, war damage, and restorations, and for us it was gleaming white and blue with animal heads protruding from Tuscan columns in a very long row.

The outside wall on Augustusstrasse has a large mural of a procession of the rulers of Saxony, and also scientists, farmers, families et al, originally painted in the 1880’s, and later replaced with 23,000 porcelain tiles.

Then the bells started ringing.  And ringing. And ringing some more.  We were now on the steps leading up to Brühlsche Terrasse and watching the enormous bells in the Hofkirche tower.  The slowing down and eventual silence was great to watch and to hear; the rhythm of the bells getting out of rhythm and the clapper striking the bell that one last time before it ceased swinging.

The terrace edges the Elbe River and out came our cameras.  There were also copses of trees planted geometrically which suited me.  People were gradually filling the spaces and promenading, and unlike the Charles Bridge in Prague, this area was free of earring sellers, souvenir merchants and caricature artists.

Saturday was Supermarket Day and the highlight was a random half bottle of drinkable wine.

Saturday was also Laundry Day and we notched up another 4 kms through walking our washing  to the ECO Express Laundry on Königsbrücker Strasse opting to take a yet untraveled path across the Carola Bridge.  On the return we passed the new Jewish synagogue, dedicated in 2001, and replacing the main synagogue which had been burnt to the ground by the Nazis in 1938. It is a cubic structure without windows referencing the first Israelite temples, and its walls are slightly out of plumb.

With the Frauenkirche tower in our sights we arrived in the Neumarkt for the final 30 minutes of the finale to the 2019 “Dresden sings and makes music”; an open air concert with a soprano and bass soloists, Dresden choirs, and the Elbland Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Thomas Runge, the choir director of the Staatsoper.  The audience had printed booklets with text and music and were invited to sing along, finishing with Land of Hope and Glory and with the option to sing in either German or English.   Those around me gustily sang in English and so did I: how patriotic!



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