The next day in Dresden, our friends decided to give us a walking tour of downtown. The moment we got out of the cars and started walking across the square, the wind picked up and we were caught in a sudden downpour. The square was full of tourists and locals and street performers, who all rushed for cover in the same places. As a result, we ended up sharing a covered entrance with a man dressed as a statue and another dressed as a gold angel. Our strange group huddled together for a minute, and then it was over as quickly as it started.
|The angel huddles in the back.|
Our children were already whining for food, of course, so we made our way to a little market of people selling various German treats. We ended up drinking gluhwein (like hot mulled wine) and the kids ate plates of heart-shaped waffles covered in powdered sugar. When we get back to the U.S, the kids are going to have a hard time readjusting to a diet that doesn't include chocolate-covered blintzes for breakfast and waffles for lunch every day...
Now properly sugared and boozed up, we set off for an afternoon of walking and snapping pictures. We took a short detour through a medieval market and I tried (unsuccessfully) to get the kids excited about the knight with his big spear guarding the front entrance. He made for a good picture anyway.
We moved on to see the ornate opera house and the Zwinger palace. The Zwinger was originally part of the outer wall protecting the city, but in the late 1600s, Augustus the Strong had it renovated into an ornate party palace. Supposedly the longest party on record lasted 29 days, but no one can actually verify that. In any case, walking into the beautiful courtyard, even without the gardens in their full glory in the winter weather, I could see how the place inspired decadent behavior. Now it's used as a museum for porcelain and other fine art, but we figured small children and priceless breakables were a bad combination, so we stayed outside.
After we strolled through the major sites, we went alone the river for a spectacular view of the city at sunset. Church bells rang out, the street lamps came on, flocks of birds swung through a pink and blue sky...it was perfect. Even with three loud children.
|The boys sit on top of the world.|
When the last bit of light failed, we packed into the car and headed back for another night of good food and good conversation. A friend pointed out on Facebook that I haven't yet mentioned beer drinking despite being in Germany, so let me assure you now, there was plenty of that too.