Friday, November 13, 2009

Das Schiff zu Pilnitz

[ The ship to Pilnitz ]

After the bus trip, a guided tour, meals together with new friends from different countries, organized hostel visits and a trip through the Zwinger museum, I was very impressed with how far my 50 Euros went for my quick-decision to join this weekend trip to Dresden.

Sunday was a surprise for me, since when we walked down to the Elbe river in the morning, there was a Flohmarkt - a flea market - taking place that was filled with many old books and items, and had a beautiful scenery of the river and bridge in the background.

There were even more surprises however, because there was even more included in the weekend. That morning we were going to take a ferry down the Elbe River and visit one of the grand chateaus of Dresden in the quarter of Pilnitz.

During our very enjoyable cruise – seeming to not even notice the chilly weather and overcast skies – I joined some chats in German with many students where we talked about our experiences in Göttingen and shared some laughs about our first few weeks of school. Not only did I leave with new names for some facebook contacts, but some great leads on cheaper travel options to explore other parts of Germany and Europe as well!

As I had witnessed the Friday I arrived, our boat toured us along the great estates of the Elbe river, however, this time we were much closer, and we would also get to tour the grounds of one that is now a museum.

The estate which was the home to many prominent electors of Saxony had very unique architecture, including a Baroque palace, yet it was uniquely, and now famously, influenced heavily by Japanese and Chinese architecture.

The estate grounds were vast and extremely beautiful with the golden leaves of fall lining the hedges and small ponds.

The estate was lined right up to the river, and the steps elegantly descended into the Elbe. In fact, along the side of the building were markers where the water level rose during years of heavy rain. In 2002 a huge overflow actually covered the entire lower floor [and was actually very destructive in other parts of Dresden].

Lost amongst the expanse of the beautiful château grounds, our time in Dresden quickly came to an end. There was so much for me to think about over the weekend, but the weekend succeeded in being a truly excellent trip.

It sparked my enthusiasm once again to delve into German and European history, especially with the great marvels that came out from the 17 and 18th centuries, but also for the great history that the city represents with the most recent decades in Germany, and the great changes and efforts that took place to reconstruct Germany after WW2 and a crippling era of national divide.

[ Chris with the Italian Ladies! ]

The weekend allowed me to meet many new people, and coming back to Göttingen, I was exhausted, but ready for another week of school, and a lot of observing in the news for the celebrations of the fall of the Berlin wall that would take place the following day on Monday.