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.