Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dresden, Germany

After a smooth trip in business class on Delta to Munich and a short flight on Lufthansa to Dresden .....I am finally reuniting with my friend Chris. It has been almost one year since I saw him and his wife Katrin. Chris has lived in Germany now for 7 years and I have known him for 17!! That is crazy, I dont even feel old enough to have had a friend for 17 years. This will be the 4th time I have visited him. In September they had Little Lloyd and I had to come see him. Look how cute he is, posing for the camera! He has Chris' blue eyes......and everything else is Katrin...thank God he didn't get his dads filanges! (you know I love you Chris, but those thumbs have been driving me crazy for long time) Look at those cheeks!!
Yesterday, after I arrived we went walking for a while with the stroller, (this is their street) we brought some düner kabobs back to their place, which by the way is the coolest building. It has my favorite colors and crazy pipes all down the front. The first balcony on the right is off Chris' balcony. We all relaxed and Katrin made a delicious dinner. After Lloyd went to bed we drank a couple bottles of wine, tested by the host....
We stayed up till about 1am just catching up, laughing about the past present and future....finally in person! It was great! 2 dreamers and 2 bottles of wine?? We can talk for hours-no problem.....

Today at 10am, we met Chris and Katrins friends for brunch at Perro Borracho (drunk dog in Spanish?) It is right downstairs from their place.. Stephan and Suzie also just had a baby, little Mila.....and I must say these cute, well behaved babies did make me think....hmmmm?
Should we?
I have been hearing about Katrin's uncle's vineyard for years. Werner and his wife Erika have a vineyard in Miessen (about 40 minutes west of Dresden) and Chris and Katrin always help them harvest the grapes in the fall. I was so happy when they said we were driving there for the day. Although I can't understand German, Erica, Vanna and Manfred (Werner's brother) made me feel so welcome....We drank a glass of wine, a white called Traminer. I think to warm us up before going outside. It was literally freezing today, but we headed out to the vineyard, climbed to an overlook where we sat at a picnic table drinking more wine and and more wine.
Even in the dead of winter, the view was stunning over the grapevines and the Elba River. I can only imagine what it looks like in the summer, they made me promise to come back then....you know I will.
The more wine I had, the better I understood German. After a while I was really "communicating" with my new friends. There are so many words that I already knew.

We walked over to another lookout point for a spectacular view of Meissen and Dresden in the distance.
I have always loved the orange tile roof tops here. the houses are gorgeous too. Like this one:
I had to ask Katrin to stop so I could get a good picture of it. I love all the colors.
Today we got a late start, but really I love mornings like that. We relaxed with music playing, I did some blogging , we drank a lot of coffee, Chris made us apple pancakes. Around lunch time we packed up little Lloyd in the stroller and went walking. I love walking cities! We walked to Chris' office that he rents with 3 other guys. They are all freelancers and have really created a cool space. I would love to have a set up like that. It was there that I cheated on my "no sweets" run. damn gummi bears. ok, while I'm confessing, I might as well tell you that yesterday at the vineyard I ate cookies with chocolate on them with my coffee. I didn't want to offend them!!! You know how Germans can be......... I am back on the wagon though, and I may extend into March to make up for it.
Here they stand in front of the train station. The train stations in Europe are always so cool.
Dresden is such an interesting city. Chris is actually thinking about getting licensed to be a tour guide here, and it really would be a perfect job for him. Each time I have been here he has given me a great tour. Today we walked around the Altstadt or "old town"
Here he is standing in front of the Hofkirche, a baroque Catholic church which was built by August the Strong, ruler of Protestant Saxony, as part of his bid to become king of Poland. (Please pay attention. You will be tested on this information later.)
In 1945, much of Dresden was destroyed during World War II. It had no strategic significance, but it was considered to be the most beautiful city in Europe, so to destroy it was to destroy Germany. From this time until the wall fell in 1989 this church below, Frauenkirche, ("church of our lady") was a pile of ruble.
And the last time I visited a few years it was just being restored. It took along to collect the funding....If you can see the darker stones in the picture, those are actually original. This is Residenzschloß or residential castle where the rulers of Saxony lived.
Below is the Fürstenzug an illustration of all of Saxony's former rulers made of Meissen porcelain. (very expensive shit)

We ended the tour with cafes at Campino, stopped for cheese,veges, and chocolate (not for me)
and went back to their house. Even though I have only been here 3 days, we were able to catch up-it never takes us long. They are flying to the US in March and staying for a couple months, so we don't have to wait long to meet again. woo-hoo! Tomorrow, I must be at the airport at 8am, so I will shut up now. TTFN

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