Dresden is so ridiculously close, and so ridiculously beautiful, that I can't believe that we've been in Deutschland for nearly 1.5 years and only just made our way down their last weekend.
Pau, Asdrubal, Andy and I caught the bus on Friday evening, and arrived in the city a couple of hours later, in time to eat and drink, and then meet up with Mercedes and her man Dirk to sniff out a bar for an hour or two, before returning to the safety of our hostel to crash into bed.
Parenthetically, before I get too far in- I should mention that some of the photos are stolen from Pau and Asdru (like the photo of Asdrubal above). In case I forget to mention it for some of them- you can usually tell which ones are not mine because I'm pulling stupid poses in everyone else's photos (even more so than usually), plus- Pau took all the GRUPPENFOTOs. Some of the pics are also stolen from Andy, but I figure that by common law I probably have the right to half of them by now.
Saturday morning we were up early enough to buy all the best chocolates from the supermarket, and to catch a train down down down towards Czech.
Plan of the day: Explore the woods and rocks of the Bastei.
The day was pretty overcast, but we managed to get pretty lucky with the rain, and spring -which is still in its first state of emergence in Potsdam, was clearly well on its way in the Dresden region:
Lookout over the river. See- I told you you can tell which photos are taken from someone else (Pau).
We surveyed our surroundings for a couple of minutes, then turned and walked up the road, into the forest.
I wish I could better convey the environment.
It's colder, quieter, damper and stiller when you get away from the river. You walk over ground covered in old autumn leaves, past trees that are still resting in their winter state. It could look post-apocalypticlly desolate, except for the mosses that are covering everything with a rich, calming green.
There's life at every scale- with the truly dead trees standing out from those just waiting by the presence of colonies of lichen and fungi.
Early in the trek, the ground is open, with slopes on either side of the track....
But you begin to pass the Mossy Monoliths, and pretty soon they're looming on both sides...
There are rocks in chunks, and wrinkled beauties, and marvels of marble designed from moss and water and stone...
Sometimes you go under the rocks, sometimes you walk through, and eventually you go up and up and over....
At the top of the 'mountain', we took a break for tea, and stripped of some of our layers, before heading on to greener (technically less green) pastures, and scenic views.
(See- also not my photo!)
Our travelling lead us to the Bastei bridge- which those of you who are historically inclined can read about at wiki.
Possibly not for those sensitive to heights.
This is a Monk weathervain- he spins and blesses as he goes. Delightful, yet tacky.
We had reached the moment of deciding whether to take the long way or the short way back, when the clouds decided they'd been generous enough for the day. So we ran down the mountains, crossed the river, and took shelter at the station.
We spent the afternoon resting (or if you're me- sleeping) before donning our gladrags and heading to burgers and then a bar. Alas! My poor camera lens got damp from the rain, and had to spend the evening drying on the heater. But rest assured that fun times were had. Times involving 'communicating with eyes', collecting men (mostly Andy to be honest), latin music and some very brave attempts at conquistadoring, which can't really be elaborated on here, but which I need to mention for future rememberings. We made it home after 5.
The next morning, seemingly bright and way too early, we fell out of bed, scoffed some pastries, and took up a tour of the town with guide Mercedes (Dirk fell back into bed).
Mercedes serenading Pau at the Zwinger.
The boys didn't want to be left out of the posing:
Pau was a Princess.
I must admit, I've always wanted more to be a King:
Pau: 'I can hear you two you know'.
We wandered a bit more throughout the old city before deciding that it was time for rest, coffee and ultimately- to take the bus back.
But finally- GRUPPENFOTO!