Nun ist es schon einige Wochen später, ich finde endlich Zeit und Ruhe Mokshas Briefe an einen Freund und meine Fotos, zu einem Blog zu „machen“.
Moksha beendete ihre Briefe mit dem „Bauhaus und co.“ Die letzten Tage in Hannover waren ihr vielleicht nicht ereignisreich genug. Sie bestanden hauptsächlich aus „lecker essen“. Zu zweit oder mit Freunden – hauptsache „lecker“. Wir lieben essen!
Und natürlich gab es Berge an Wäsche und Moksha musste nun wirklich ihre ganzen Dinge, vor allem auch die neu erstandenen in ihre Koffer und Taschen packen. Es hat auch fast alles reingepasst.
So geht auch diese gemeinsame Reise zu Ende. Wieder eine Zeit, die unser Leben für immer bereichern wird…
The day began with out search for Bauhaus. We had a long drive back home ahead of us. Luckily some abandoned cherry trees were within easy reach of the road. That was fun!
First destination was to the famous porcelain museum Meißen in the town of Meißen. For what we wanted it was lacking: no Americano, no pastry or Eis (german for ice cream) and a tiny gift shop. Not worth the cost of admission, we soldiered on. (see pix of van in empty parking lot – at least we could be a „Schattenparker“).
Second destination was to Dessau-Roßlau. It is thee Bauhaus town in all the world. The museum, however, was thee most boring of our trip. Elke went through the disappointing, almost non-existent exhibits while I took a rest in the car. My lower legs were spent from two days of uphill/downhill and an overabundance of cobblestone sojourns. Every movement was hot pain. I suppose my lack of interest, notwithstanding, was based more on pain than instinct, lol.
There are several houses and residence in the town to sight see. We tried to find them ourselves via driving around. Even following the Bauhaus tour bus was a limited success. We did see the Kornhaus (see pix) and a few others.
We chanced upon a stork close to the road, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. They are quite large up close.
Ahhh, one of the final pieces by the architect Hundertwasser. Located in Magdeburg this resort/hotel/apt complex was a complete surprise. I knew of it’s existence but not that it was in Germany. We were lucky! We stopped in the city because we needed a break in our long drive back to Hannover and wanted something nice to eat. The Japanese restaurant in the hotel had a most excellent Duck sushi roll. (No, we had never heard of it either.)
Prague looks like something out of a modern fairy tale: tall, eclectic buildings, long, ornate bridges and occasional „Schlösser“ (castle) with architecture dating from around the ages to multiple narrow streets full of colorful trinkets, beckoning restaurants and multi-raced tourists. (Well, maybe not exactly a fairy tale … but Art Nouveau side by side with Baroque and perhaps even a little Roman is lovely). Our beloved friend Viktor met us at the Bahnhof (which itself has a spectacular entry room/roof as is often the case with city train stations) and spent the afternoon showing us some of the best parts of the city. Looking at things through the eyes of a local is better than reading about it. He also took us to a restaurant (cafeteria style) for a taste of local, traditional Czech food. Very simple, very meat & potatoes and very inexpensive. There were people from all over the world and some with their giant suitcases, crowded together in small booths/tables. Well worth the experience.
Another advantage to being with Viktor is he knows knows where the best Italian ice cream is! One treat we missed was the local, traditional „Trdelnik“. It looks like a baked pastry roasted on a spindle. They are sweet and sometimes filled with more sweet fillings. (Viktor never tried one with soft ice cream inside that I saw for sale and he was born in Prague! Evidently there is no limit to what tourists will buy.) When it came time to get one for the train ride back to Dresden, no shop could be found near the station. Boo …
More views of Prague and some of the Presidents official residence, which is the city castle, although Viktor says no one knows where he actually lives. (He is not highly thought of at the moment.)
We did have a small adventure on our way back to Dresden from Prague. Evidently the train engine was unhappy. Every hour or so it would not start up again or run for only a hundred feet or so. The last leg of our trip, the train limped back to Dresden slowly (a.k.a Blumen Pflicker Zug, which means ‚flower picking train‘ in German). When Deutche Bahn runs more than an hour late, you receive a 25% of your ticket price back. Wouldn’t that be great in America… The multiple delays did allow us to chat cheerfully with our 2 remaining compartment passengers. One had a 5 kilometer hike ahead of him before finishing his trip. The other had come from Slovakia and still had a ways to go on this train.The picture of me in Bad Schandau train platform, was the last time the train failed before picking flowers all the way to Dresden.
Dresden is beautiful! So many ornate and old buildings, many open to the public or as museums. We took a walk about and then a tour bus on our first day. (And of course, per usual, we found genuine Italian Ice cream, a near daily ritual while traveling. For those who don’t know, genuine Italian Ice cream blows regular ice cream out of the water. It is lighter, way more inventive with flavors (for example cucumber mojito !?!) and always tastes clean and delicious – well worth the extra ’spare tire‘.) Our hosts took us one evening to the alternative side of Dresden, where we saw this giraffe facade. It was only one of many creative building facades in the area.
On a side note, Elke & I discussed ‚alternative‘ city areas in general. So far, they all seem similar, despite the country of origin. They remind me of a section of Philadelphia where there are students, art, small shops, especially coffee cafes, and a little bit funky or dissident too. Maybe this is due to the general age/generation of the consumers and residents or to first-world middle class tastes. I do not know if it the same in China (but I suspect so due to the rise of consumerism there) or in the Middle East, where cultures differ quite from Europe/America’s. I welcome more commentary on this topic.
THE BASTEI – in short, worth experiencing one of thee most touristy places in East Germany. The geological features in this area are all around with the Elbe river on one side and leading through the nearby Czech border. We survived the climb to the top of the Bastei, nearly. For me, it went from difficult to stressful to a tortuous experience! Physically my body was not prepared and as little ol‘ ladies raced by me, I felt ‚being alive‘ was not enough anymore (LOL). (Note: little ol‘ ladies in Germany are quite fit and saunter by on bikes or with walking poles and sensible shoes well into their older years. It is common to see them and they come in all shapes and sizes, some appearing less fit than you would believe capable.)
Elke was patient, kind and helped with the occasional „E-power“ push. (Elke often has to assist me while cycling. She pushes me up hills, hence „E-power“ or in German „Eenergie“. It is the best human E-bike!) Gong down, her knees mutinied. My arm helped stabilize descent. Thus „Menergie“ or „M-power“. However, that days climb caused a chain reaction that lead to my walking demise a few days later.
As for the Bastei’s beauty, it was unique. (There are many perfect pictures on the internet.) The day was hot and clear and the view far and wide. The River Elbe far below on one side and ancient rock formations on the other. A stone bridge leads to a resort on the top and it is one of many such places in this area. While I was able to navigate comfortably among the hordes of visitors, I generally avoid such places. Being outside, my immune system was quite safe. Sanity, on the other hand, was not. We did find out from a taxi driver that there was very few tourists that day. (Mano! OMG!) Our feet/legs were so toasted that we used the taxi van to return to the parking lot, about a kilometers walks from the town.
For me, one of the greatest thing about Anjte & Tom’s residence, was Eddie and Frida. Eddie was a street dog when a puppy and has never lost his scavenging habits. Being blind only makes his senses of hearing and smell that much stronger. Antje not only permits hand feeding but 1/3 of his daily diet consist of table scraps. (1/3 dog food, 1/3 human food, 1/3 scavenging or ’sidewalk cleaning‘ dog style.) He makes the best pot scrubber ever! Even Frida gets in on the act of the morning oatmeal offering. (But he nudges her out if she is too slow.)
Weimar, while another beautiful city in East Germany, was disappointing. But only because we were counting on the Bauhaus Museum! Unbeknownst to us, not only was it closed, it was gone. Reopening in a new location next year, we have something unique to look forward to.
Buchenwald blew my mind. I know quite a bit about the Nazi Concentration camps, or so I thought. I live in an area where our local theater supports art films. New and creative stories related to WWII and the Jewish plight is quite common. (My first neighbor had the prison tattoo.) But I was not aware of the how extreme the Nazi’s treatment of the camp prisoners was. Believers were trained and assigned in areas directly opposite of their skills, solely to create more chaos and suffering. After experiencing the exhibits (which are tastefully and respectively done and very, very clever) and walking the main property, I left feeling moved, tearful and aware of how fine the line is between belief and reality. Fear controls humanity in so many ways. While I have many seemingly small remaining fears, fear of death is not one of them. Fear of pain, however … much cruelty rides on that wave.
To ride onto another wave we decided to go to Erfurt again – for icecream. And a nice walk through town.