The Moritzburg Palace was King Augustus’ playground for hunting. Only a mere 20 minutes’ drive from town, he could feel that it was a great getaway place but still reduce the carbon footprint. The most impressive part of the palace were the mooseheads, of every shape and variety you could imagine. They really looked like branches from some sacred trees, each individually chiseled and honed.
The other distinguishing mark to this palace unlike others throughout Europe were the leather tapestries. They had a lot of animals in the Wald so they made use of the skins by sewing them together and adding embossing for depth and texture, as well as paint from gold and other colors. The formal gardens were clean if not a bit sterile, but the strolls throughout the forest and surrounding area were extensive and well worth a day’s visit.
Moritzburg was in the midst of celebrating its Music Festival. They highlight young musicians hosted by the Dresden Musikfestspiele’s own director, Jan Vogel. The performers were the ones I heard in Proschwitz Palace. This Palace and the church are used as venues for performances, and would be well worth planning as part of a weekend stay.
Photos, from top:
1. Overview of Backyard.
2. Horsemen taking stroll along the extensive paths throughout Moritzburg.
3. An intriguing enclosed garden surrounded by a wall of manicured trees
4. A typical horse cart taking a shortcut through the palace grounds
5. Evening view of Moritzburg.
Helena and I spent our afternoon taking a long walk from the Carnival scene at Altstadt and Neustadt areas to Loschwitz. We strolled at a leisurely pace along the Elbe and stopped twice for lunch and a water break at restaurants with outdoor dining. We were able to catch up on a few years’ work and play between us.
Along the way we passed a paddock not far from the riverside where horses are trained. It was amazing to see such a large yard along the river, not far from town. The lush green was reflective of large open spaces and extensive open spaces for the city’s residents.
We even managed to take in a cultural highlight of the Loschwitz area. The building in which the Leonardi museum is located was originally owned by a landscape painter. He wanted artists to be able to live and work together and dedicated the building to this cause. It was used for this purpose initially, but eventually the plan did not survive. The building has been turned into a museum for artists’ work.
If you are interested in reading more about this museum, please see http://www.leonhardi-museum.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13&Itemid=12.
Photos, from top:
1. View of paddock near the Blue Wonder Bridge and Schillerstrasse.
2. Front facade of Leonardi Museum, with extensive German script used to decorate exterior of building. There are other examples of titles, sayings and poetry used on buildings in this neighborhood.
3. Detail of support.
The City Festival, between Friday and Sunday August 15-17, was launched in earnest, casting a whole new dimension to the city I had never before seen. Most events occurred late at night around 11pm, drawing huge crowds of young people to rock events, carnival rides and cheap food. Plenty of security police were around to maintain civil order despite lots of beer consumption.
The theme this year is the Canaletto Festival. Dresden is known as the Florence of the Elbe. Canaletto was known to have painted a famous scene of the Elbe River, and the scenery is forever tied to the romantic view of Dresden. Naming the festival after the Canaletto painting pays homage to the city’s cultural and artistic heritage.
In our class Friday we were asked to work in groups to describe three recommended events for the festival. We had to defend our position on why we thought our recommendations were the best. My group recommended a rock band, Tai Kwon Do exhibition, and a rubber ducky competition between two teams. Natürlich auf Deutsch.
My friend Helena arrived from Zürich for the weekend.
The Goethe Institute offered a weekend day excursion to one of the beautiful nature areas outside Dresden, near Bad Schandau, a resort, and near the Czech border. We hiked to the top of the fortress from the train station located at the river’s edge.
Water was pumped up to the fortress and it was a fully functioning camp during the early 18th century. Until recently, it was used as a prison.
Photos are taken from the top of the Konigstein Fortress:
1. Breathtaking views of the Elbe River below.
2. Butte on the other side of the river
3. View of the town below where the train station and start of climb is located.
For additional Reading, refer to:
Photos: Neustadt building facades in the artists’ district.
Photos above showing steep terrain of Mosel Valley taken from inside of train (white spots are reflections)
A full day of trains and transfers occupied us initially from Trier train station through the beautiful, vineyard-laden Mosel Valley. The terroir is obviously full of character and struggles, with rows of vines carefully oriented to capture the sun. It was incomprehensible how the very steep rows prevented erosion between the vines; some plants clung vicariously in lone stems at the tip of ancient stone walls and look very tired and agonized. We tried a number of Rieslings and White Burgundies at the Olewig Wine Festival and attested to the very delicious and flavorful variations produced in this area. We progressed from Koblenz to Mainz, then Leipzig, then to our final destination in Dresden at the end of a trainful day.
We ended up at my favorite accommodations at the Aparthotel Neumarkt, a stone’s throw from the famous Frauenkirche Church that was bombed in WWII and completely rebuilt with help from the British. The apartment is fully equipped and is very reasonable. My pick and recommendation for anyone coming to Dresden for a visit.
Photos below show Aparthotel Living, Kitchen, and Separate Dining areas