Dresden for a day & rail to Prague

Old Feb 14th, 2003, 06:24 AM
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Dresden for a day & rail to Prague

<BR>I'm flying in/out of Dresden in order catch the train to Prague, but I might spend a day in Dresden. What is there to see in Dresden? I know that a WW2 firestorm wiped out much of the city, so I've got this picture of 1960s commie architecture. History, architecture, hot springs, and any regional claim to fame would be of interest.<BR><BR>I could use a hotel recommendation in Dresden, with easy access to the RR station and the airport. I booked the Hilton for 125 euros.<BR><BR>I'm confused as to whether the IC train from Dresden to Prague takes 2.5 or 3.5 hours. Are there any spa towns along the way? On the Die Bahn website (I think it was DB), I couldn't find a connection to Karlovy Vary.<BR>
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 06:56 AM
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I'd like to sneak onto this thread also. In June we will be spending a couple nights in Leipzig and would like to do a full day trip to Dresden -- by train, staying late into the night or at least till after dinner. Would love to have the day planned -- the most to see in a day. Personally, not interested in giving up a major amount of time inside an art museum, but palaces or architectural gems are a bonus, and major walk to see the most sites. Also great lunch or dinner suggestions along the way.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 08:52 AM
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Patrick, I am assuming you know that I live in Dresden, don’t you? I would be glad to show you the major sights (in case you would like my guidance).<BR><BR>Funny that you both post today – we had commemorations yesterday. Feb 13 was the night when Dresden was destroyed.<BR><BR>Back to your questions. mnwunrfl: Hotel Marthahaus is great. It is a three-star, centrally but quiet located right in the Baroque quarter called Neustadt. Five minutes walk to the Elbe river promenades with beautiful views of the famous old town’s silhouette. Just a few minutes more walk across a bridge (or two tram stops) to the historical city centre. Only five minutes walk from the railway station Dresden-Neustadt (shuttle train from there to the airport). Very good service, elegantly furnished in “Biedermeier” style. Check www.vch.de and do a search for Dresden.<BR><BR>The Hilton is located right in the heart of everything, but for my taste it lacks any local charm (as usually Hiltons do). You might also ask for the direction of your room: view of the Frauenkirche church might sound good, but it is quite noisy. The restaurants in the Hilton are very good, though. Especially the Caf&eacute; Vis a Vis in the separate old wing called “Sekundogenitur” is a gem. I am not sure if the connections to the airport are pretty good. The next tram stop is two or three minutes away and you have to change once more at least. I don’t know if the Hilton offers a shuttle bus to the airport. By the way, the best Hotel in Dresden (with one of the best restaurants) is Hotel Buelow Residence.<BR><BR>Karlovy Vary is out of the direction to Prague. The IC takes the route through the Elbe river valley. No spas on the way, sorry. You might check if you have a connection from Usti nad Labem (half the way to Prague) to Karlovy Vary, but I think you should do the side trip to Karlovy Vary from Prague.<BR><BR>End of Part I
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 08:53 AM
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Part II<BR><BR>Yes, it is true that you will see some ugly 1960 commies architecture. But the major sights are (partly) reconstructed. I suggest you have a look at my pictures at ofoto.com and you will see some of the beautiful palaces in the city centre (registration required, but it’s no deal).<BR><BR>I recommend to start your walk at the Theaterplatz square. See the Zwinger palace (visit the picture gallery, the porcelain collection, the armour collection or not), maybe join a guided tour of the Semper Opera house (well worth it if you don’t decide to attend an opera). Have a look into the cathedral and climb the Hausmannsturm tower (part of the Royal Residence, which is still under reconstruction, entrance in the Georg Wing. The view from this tower is probably the best, although the town hall’s tower is higher. Walk along the Augustusstrasse street (see the Procession of Princes, a mosaic of thousands of tiles of Meissen porcelain) to the Frauenkirche church (under reconstruction). Guided tours through the church are offered, not a must IMO. You better re-visit when it’s completed. Right after passing the church you see the reconstructed Cosel Palace, now a home for restaurants/caf&eacute; (good for lunch but on the costly side).Go ahead to the Albertinum building which houses the Green Vault (Jewellery collection) and some more galleries/collections. A staircase leads you up to Bruhl’s Terrace. Just walk along the terrace, enjoy the views of the Elbe river and finally walk toward the cathedral. <BR><BR>I highly recommend to continue with a ride on one of the paddle steamers on the Elbe river. They go to Pillnitz, a residential quarter on the eastern edge of Dresden. On the way you will pass some palaces, then the famous “Blue Wonder” bridge, beautiful villas and finally approach right at Pillnitz palace. Beautiful garden and a “summer” palace in Chinese style. Pillnitz is also a village with vineyards and good restaurants. You might consider to walk up to the nearby hills to explore some of the vineyards, the little Baroque church and the local inns. Take the bus No. 83 (?) back to the “Blue Wonder” bridge (stop (Koernerplatz square) and walk across the bridge. By the way, you find some local craftsmen and their shops near the bus stop downward to the Elbe river. Right after crossing the bridge you see Caf&eacute; Toscana and Villa Marie to the right. Both great places for a break. Tram No. 12 takes you back to the city centre (Pirnaischer Platz square).<BR><BR>For the evening: The Muenzgasse lane next to the Hilton has some lively bars/restaurants and a dancing. We locals prefer to go to the Neustadt, though. Plenty of bars/restaurants, clubs, dancings etc. there. Anyway, you should definitely try to get a ticket for the Semper Opera.<BR><BR>I hope this is of some help for now. I think I forgot something, though. Feel free to contact me directly: [email protected]<BR><BR>Enjoy,<BR><BR>Ingo<BR>
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 08:56 AM
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Dresden has a lot to see and do. It most certainly is not 60's commie architecture. It was rebuilt to look like it used to or at least to look old. I don't really know what it used to look like. The opera house, the cathedral, the Zwinger museum complex are all beautiful.<BR><BR>Patrick, the art museum in the Zwinger is pretty extensive, but the porcelain and instruments musuems are pretty small. You could see something interesting, but easily only spend an hour or two. <BR><BR>I've included a couple of links to older posts that contain some useful info on Dresden. Hopefully Ingo will see this and chime in. He's a very helpful Dresden resident.<BR><BR>www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessages.jsp?fid=2&amp;tid=34376774<BR><BR>http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...p;tid=34383041
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 08:57 AM
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Speak of the devil, Ingo you were typing while I was. Nice to see you're still around!
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 09:13 AM
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Yes, and the typing took quite a while! Thanks indytravel for your support!
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 09:51 AM
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<BR>Two cities of Germany, Hamburg and Dresden, suffered fire bombing, which means dropping so many bombs that everything that could catch fire did catch fire. In Dresden the tar surfaces of the roads took fire. People died in many ways. Some of the luckier ones simply died of a kind of drowning: the fire had burnt all the oxygen from the air, and it did not sustain life. With all ablaze, many jumped into the river and stood in the shallower parts. I cannot get confirmation or denial, but I have heard that on the second night Allied airmen returning to Dresden flew down the river machine-gunning the people in it. If time allows you can visit the museum of the history of Dresden, which takes a balanced view of those two nights, and tries to show balance, too, in its coverage of the years of Stalinism and socialism. The years of the first rebuilding were indeed heroic, and even the quote commie housing unquote around the centre was the best they could do on their meagre funds.<BR><BR>But nobody goes to Dresden for these memories. We go to rejoice in the history, architecture, arts, and especially the glorious paintings.<BR><BR>You ask about spas. The expresses from Dresden to Prague take 90 minutes from Dresden to Usti nad Labem, a nondescript small city of northern Bohemia. There you can change trains, and take 100 minutes to Karlovy Vary, Karslbad, now back to its Belle Epoque splendour. But just 35 minutes take you to Teplice, a lesser spa town, with plenty of hotels laid out in the parkland near the medieval castle and the baroque town centre. I like the Duc de Saxe hotel, just round the corner from the railway station.<BR><BR>[email protected]<BR><BR>< BR>
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 10:29 AM
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Yikes, maybe a result of the cheese and wine I am actually enjoying ... I forgot to post the link to my photo album on ofoto. Here it is:<BR>http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=82763775105.29338134205&amp;n=1337271082<B R><BR>just copy and paste it! Then register and enjoy the pics!<BR><BR>Have fun, Ingo
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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Actually, Ingo, I didn't know that -- must have missed it along the line. For a long time I assumed you lived in Switzerland, but I think I did pick up recently on the idea that you lived somewhere in Germany, just never knew it was Dresden, and I have this horrible habit of reading posts without looking at the name of the poster.<BR><BR>Thanks for your offer. Looks like our day there will be Friday, June 20 -- quite a while off yet, but will keep in touch. Maybe even just to meet us on our walk for lunch?<BR><BR>There is much good to digest here. Thanks to all.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 12:55 PM
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Patrick, isn't that funny that you didn't know I live in Dresden? But, looks like VERY bad timing. Our Fodors GTG in Zuoz/Switzerland (The Support Group ...) will take place from June 13 to 20, so I guess I will arrive in Dresden on Saturday, June 21.<BR><BR>Well, I re-thought about your stay in Leipzig. Are you sure that you really plan to stay THERE for a couple of days, and not in Dresden? Just an idea: Leipzig is a very interesting city, but Dresden has much more to offer in my opinion. Even many castles, palaces, gardens - and the surrounding landscape is a must see in Germany (that's not only my opinion!). You will rarely find the time to explore the beautiful countryside south of Dresden called &quot;Saxon Switzerland(!)&quot; with its bizarre sandstone rock formations, tiny villages, romantic glens and large forests.<BR><BR>And I did not mention all the picturesque (small) towns near Dresden with cobbled streets, picturesque old towns and castles like Meissen, Bautzen, Stolpen etc.<BR><BR>As mentioned, just an idea. Unfortunately we will never have enough time to see everything.<BR><BR>Ingo<BR><BR>PS: the weekend June 22-23 is holiday in Germany (Pfingsten) - expect crowds in the trains and at the well-known places in the countryside.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 01:01 PM
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Ingo, I just posted to you on the what are you drinking thread <BR><BR>Patrick, maybe you can join us in the Engadine for a couple of days. You bicycle don't you?
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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Grasshopper, nice to hear from you, but I can't find the What are you drinking ... thread!!
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 01:26 PM
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mrwunrfl - As usual Ingo is right on. Our first visit to Dresden was 12 years and I was absolutely awe struck. At that time the castle was still mostly in ruins, the Zwinger had several statues missing (black stains from the fire bombing were still evident) and the Frauenkirche was still a pile of ruble surrounded by chain link fence. Despite the devastation and years of neglect it was still awesome and we vowed to return and have done so every 4 years. Our next planned visit is in '04. We had hoped that this would coincide with the re-dedication of the re-built Frauenkirche, but it looks like this ceremony will be delayed. Hopefully Ingo will be able to keep me informed. Over the years it has been exciting to see the baroque splendor of this city renewed. On our last trip we were joined by our daughter who had spent 2 years in Poland and had seen all the major sites in Europe. She was obviously put-off about having to travel with us to Dresden, but as we entered the baroque center, her jaw dropped and all she said was &quot;Whoa&quot;. We have usually stayed at the Hilton which is adjacent to the Frauenkirche, but on our last visit stayed at the Taschenberg Palais which was a bombed out ruin on our first visit - pricey but elegant. Though Dresden is a &quot;compact&quot; city I would urge you to consider an extra day. To Patrick - Leipzig is also one of my favorite cities and would definitely recommend a day trip to Dresden while you are there. For a &quot;short&quot; museum trip I would recommend the &quot;Green Vault&quot; in the Albertinum. Have a great trip and enjoy Dresden!
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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As to the reason for staying in Leipzig instead of Dresden -- <BR><BR>A) we have certificates for two nights at a Marriott we can use for free hotel in Leipzig near the train station. FREE IS HARD TO PASS UP. And we have to use them by the end of June or lose them.<BR><BR>B) we've cut our stay to two nights between Berlin and Garmisch -- as we ended up renting an apartment in Garmisch for a week. So that means we can arrive early on Thursday in Leipzig and spend that part of a day there, but have the full day Friday in Dresden, with easy train connections we can go early and come back late. <BR><BR>C) On Saturday we can take a direct ICE train from Leipzig to Garmisch, a much better schedule than the train with change that takes a good two hours longer from Dresden.<BR><BR>D) I got the impression I'd rather have more DAYTIME in Dresden, and more NIGHTIME in Leipzig, although I figure if we want, we can spent the second night in Dresden (just head back to Leipzig to sleep before our Saturday morning departure).<BR><BR>Interesting note about the holiday weekend. I bet Garmisch will be packed!!! Glad we already have our apartment booked.<BR>We lost that extra night for Dresden because of the apartment deal in Garmisch -- hate not to spend the full week there since we are paying for a full week. I thought about cutting off one night of our 5 nights in Berlin, but there are still too many things I have planned for that, including the day trip to Spreewald. So guess we will be giving short shrift to Dresden and Leipzig. And who says we can't go back to explore Saxony?<BR><BR>To Grasshopper: we won't be arriving in the Engadine until the 9th of July with 3 nights in Poschiavo and 4 nights in Chur. Thanks to Ingo again for help with those spots and lots of things to do there. I do bicycle some, but living in Florida these many years, any incline more than 5 feet seems like a mountain to me -- riding the flat trail along the Damme Canal in Brugge, or the Zuider Zee route in the Netherlands is more my style than the Engadine, I think.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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CharlieB, I am sooo glad to read your story about Dresden. You can be sure that I will keep you informed about the re-dedication of the Frauenkirche. Actually it looks like this will happen in 2005. I am surprised to read you thought it was planned for 2004; the original plan was to make the re-dedication of the church a highlight of the celebrations of the 800-years-anniversary of the founding of the city in 2006. By the way, the Taschenberg Palais Hotel was afflicted by the flood and will be in full operation by spring again.<BR><BR>Patrick, no need to explain your reasons! But I see you made the best out of it. Two free nights in the Marriott is not to beat. I hope (and am convinced) you will go back to explore Saxony.<BR><BR>About bicycling in the Engadine: The valley floor is pretty wide and flat! You’ll be surprised to see that there are endless walking paths and cycling routes around the lakes and from village to villages w/o any ascent! You can cycle from Maloja 1815 m down to Lavin 1400 m about 40 miles – all downhill!! I know, you won’t have enough time for that.<BR>
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 02:02 PM
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I was in Leipzig three years running in early '98, '99 &amp; '00. Was visiting a friend who was working for Dow and living there with his family he had moved over from the States. <BR><BR>Though I used it as a base for visiting Dresden, Prague, Munich, Berlin for various day and overnight trips, I really liked the city itself. It was fun to eat dinner at Auerbachs Keller which is a pretty high end restaurant. The thing I liked about it is that there's a scene in Goethe's “Faust” that takes place in the restaurant. How often do you get to eat somewhere that was mentioned in a famous opera? I probably liked the restaurant Zill's Tunnel a little bit better. The food and ambience was a little more rustic. It's in the north end of the city center.<BR><BR>Leipzig's art museum was under reconstruction both times I was there. The JS Bach house is interesting and so is the nearby church where he worked. Their are several other beautiful churches in the downtown are.<BR><BR>The massive Battle of Leipzig monument a little south is a piling of stone that is different to see. Took a tram out to see it. A very orderly red/green light system keeps the narrow staircase to the very top flowing smoothly.<BR><BR>A nice little Egyptian Antiquities museum exists. There is also an extensive musical instrument collection to the southeast of downtown a little.<BR><BR>The train station has been recently done into a huge shopping mall complex. Leipzig is trying to position themselves as a major passenger rail junction.<BR><BR>The opera house is rather East German utilitarian. None of the opulence of Dresden's opera house. <BR><BR>A university building just to the southwest of the opera house has a fascinating elevator. It's a continuously running loop of 2 person boxes that you just step into and out of. I wasn't brave enough to see what happened if you try to ride over the top.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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<BR>Wow! Thank you all so much. I will have to stay a second day in Dresden. Wonderful, Ingo, thank you for the walking tour. I am interested in seeing the armour at the Zwinger as well as the scientific intstruments mentioned in one of the messages that indytravel pointed us to.<BR><BR>The riverboat to Pillnitz will be on my itinerary also. I had to find out about the Blue Wonder bridge: blue and a wonder because it is one of the oldest steel suspension bridges.<BR><BR>Thanks Ben Haines, a museum covering 797 years of city history would be interesting and Teplice sounds wonderful. I'd hate to miss the &quot;spendour&quot; of Karlovy Vary.<BR><BR>I'm not committed to he Hilton yet, but I'm glad to hear from CharlieB that the hotel was worth a re-visit. Sounds like there will be plenty of local charm when I get out of the hotel.<BR><BR>And I'll be looking for info about Semper Opera performances on the last weekend of March.<BR><BR>So, I might not make it to Prague on this trip!
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Old Feb 18th, 2003, 01:38 AM
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Correction: No holiday in Germany on the weekend June 22/23. Pfingsten is two weeks earlier. My apologies.<BR><BR>For the Semperoper check www.semperoper.de Late March they perform Richard Wagner's Siegfried and Rheingold e.g.<BR><BR>Ingo
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