|After a train trip from Berlin, I arrived in Dresden on the hottest day of the year - 38 degrees I was told when I arrived at the hostel (I thought it had been a tad warm!). I was the first occupant of a 5 bed mixed dorm, but was soon joined by two American girls studying German in Hamburg and two Aussie guys freshly arrived from Orange, NSW.
Much of Dresden was flattened during WWII. Many buildings have been restored to their former glory, but there is still a lot of construction work going on, while other buildings have been left as is.
First off, I caught a tram into the main area of town and walked past the Semper Opera House - a magnificent building. A short distance away was the Zwinger, a collection of 6 museums surrounding a beautiful courtyard. The Rustkammer (The Dresden Armoury) was amazing! It originated as a collection of personal possessions belonging to the dukes and electors of Saxony. There are splendid examples of the work of renaissance armourers and goldsmiths, including ornately decorated suits of armour for men and horses (!!!), helmets, shields, courtly costumes and portraits, and commemorative and ornamental objects used for tournaments and courtly festivities. There was even armour designed for children!
Also in the Zwinger, I visited the Old Masters Picture Gallery, which houses Italian and 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings (including good ole Rembrandt!), and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Mathematical-Physical Salon) which dates from 1728 and displays clocks and scientific instruments of the 16th-19th centuries.
Walking around the streets of Dresden was interesting in itself. I came across a beautiful woodwind quartet and a wedding party on bicycle and walked past the Procession of Princes (Furstenzug), which portrays the royal history of Dresden. Constructed between 1872 and 1876, 24,000 tiles were needed to cover the 101 by 957 square meters of surface.
I then walked back across the Elbe River to the hostel and prepared for the train journey to my next stop - Prague!