This morning we were up fairly early as it was our day to leave Berlin. Harv & I took the train to Alexandrplatz – no, we weren’t going back for one last shot at their Octoberfest, this was where we were picking up our rental car.
The very nice people at Europcar got us all set up with our GM Insignia wagon – they actually had a BMW wagon waiting for us, but alas you aren’t allowed to take the BMWs into the Czech Republic.
After some brief navigational difficulties, we were back at Gatnerstrasse 31 where Larry & Deb were waiting at the door with all our luggage.
We headed south, went for a while on the autobahn and then ventured off onto a secondary road. The countryside was very pastoral – lots of farming – and the roads were reminiscent of the “Roman roads” (straight, quite narrow and tree lined).
Today was a German National holiday, which celebrates the reunification of West & East Germany. The small villages were very sleepy, with little signs of any activity. All business appeared to be closed, including places to have lunch. But then, around a corner in a small town was a ‘Restaurant and Cafe’ that was open, so in we went. The dining area was quite busy (understandably so being the only one open for miles). There were many groups having large meals, including one family event of ~30. It is quite amazing the amount of food these Germans seem to be able to pack away; however, we have yet to see an obese person!
The restaurant staff professed to no English, so we did our best to translate the menu and order. We were treated to superb soup and lovely kleiner (small) salads. Larry convinced us to share an apple strudel for dessert – as ‘you never know when you will get a chance for another apple strudel’. I was thinking Vienna for sure, but didn’t argue. 🙂
Leaving our lunch stop, we got back onto the autobahn and quite quickly were arriving in Dresden. We are here for only one night and are staying at one on the 3 large Ibis hotels that stand in a row on one of the ultra- modern shopping areas. The hotel is very nice, certainly without European charm, but in a great Dresden location.
We headed out to explore the old city area and admire the architecture. 75% of Dresden’s old city was destroyed in WWII bombing but much of it has been recreated.We weren’t able to tell what is actually old and what has just been made to look old. This is all interspersed with newly constructed buildings and a few gaping holes where nothing has been built. An interesting mixture of styles, for sure.
The city was bustling with action and a carnival-like atmosphere abounded. The streets were teeming with people. We sampled bratwurst, which was great, and delicious gluwein (mulled wine) that warmed us right up as it was fairly chilly out. We had plans to eat at one of the concession type booths on our way back to the hotel, but suddenly as 7 pm approached, everything closed and the throngs of people dispersed. It was a bit strange. No fireworks like on Canada Day?!?
So off we went to an American-style sports bar. Deb and Harv had pizza, Bev the quesadillas and Larry had salmon penne. It was all very good. Then to McDonalds for H & L to have ice cream. And an early night in….