Maybe this doesn't sound too way out for most people, but I tend to take the view that my time here is limited so I should make the most of it. And I do still believe that - but today I took a holiday. I caught up on my diary, I uploaded photos from my camera, I ate breakfast late and luxuriously.
It's probably just as well I didn't do too much today - it was a nasty, chilly temperature outside when I did finally emerge and I couldn't help hoping that my cardigan would dry soon so I can start wearing it again. It definitely needed a wash but that leaves me with just my rain coat as a warm layer, and I'll need something more as the temperature starts to drop. Note to self: find a fast drying, warm outer layer garment before traveling again ;)
I explored the neustadt today - kinda like Edinburgh's new town (and as you've probably guessed, even the same name just in a different language). When the original town outgrew its borders in the late 18th century they just started building a new extension on the other side of the river. This has resulted in whole streets with homogeonous, classical style buildings (in various states of repair now). The interesting thing is that neustadt has now become Dresden's centre of nightlife and restaurants, as well as providing the populace with a healthy slice of the alternative during the day. If you want crystals, goth gear or a cafe to smoke 'special' cigarettes, this would be the place to come in Dresden.
I had a hankering to see the river though, and on the way I came across another of those small carnivals I seem to keep finding in Germany at the moment. The usual small scattering of craft and food stalls were broken up by an inflatable slide and a tent allowing you to play Nintendo Wii - I'm so sorry I didn't get my camera out to take a shot of the two playing boxing!
At the end of the boulevard was a huge shining equestrian statue with Augustus the Strong, one of Saxony's most (in)famous Electors. Not content with a mere bronze statue this one has been gilt to appear like gold and sparkles as brightly as any other baroque or rococco piece. This guy is also well known for pouring huge amounts of Saxony's treasury into building opulent baroque buildings and furnishing them with the most exquisite arts of the time. This has since worked in Dresden's favour, as its this rich time which still draws people to visit Dresden today.
I got my first taste of that bounty when I reached the river - known as the 'Florence of the North', Dresden really does have a lovely skyline. It's funny to think that most of the buildings I looked at today were probably reconstructions - most of Dresden having been badly affected by WWII bombings. But like other parts of Germany, I'm humbled by the tenacity in which these buildings have been so accurately and impressively rebuilt.
The sun had that thin and sharp quality it gets once the earth has turned towards winter and it sparkled pointedly from the west. The clouds overhead simmered in various shades of grey and the combination of sun and cloud created a magnificent chiaroscuro over this town which still has such a baroque feel about it.
Maybe it was that lovely day I had in Leipzig with Stephanie and Maggie. Maybe it was my body telling me I still needed to recouperate over my cold. Maybe it was just the partying last night ;) At any rate, when my alarm went off this morning I snoozed it. And then I cut to the chase and just turned it off!