We had a fantastic time in Germany. We went by airplane from Aberdeen via Amsterdam to Berlin and so managed a stay in Berlin on our way to Dresden. By the time we reached Berlin we were all pretty tired after having been up late the previous night (working) and being up early in the morning to get to the airport, packed, organised and ready for the journey we were pretty destroyed.
We were a three piece band for the gig, myself on the accordion, Tom on the banjo and as ever Fred on the bouzouki. We had a half hour to kill in Schiphol airport on the way there so managed a quick pint of Heineken and a sandwich while we watched anxiously from the terminal as they loaded the airplane with the Banjo and our cases. Luckily I had the accordion as hand baggage. It never travels well when it comes to baggage handlers. Luckily we all reached Berlin safely with our instruments intact.
After checking into the hotel in Berlin we followed the river Spree and took it's name to be a sign. After an hour of walking we stopped in the Hackescher Markt and had a fantastic well priced feed in the 'Restauration'. Naturally we took pictures of our food and shared it with the world on Facebook. As you do.
We then went on a walk to the the Brandenburg gate but we had headed off in the wrong direction. (faulty GPS Herr Wilkinson) and ended up in the wrong side of town. So we stopped in for a quick refreshment at a German Pub. We remained there for the rest of the evening and never made the Gate. We had a great time though and made some new friends.
We made the train on time next morning and got to Dresden in the afternoon. It is a very special place. We had no idea it was such a beautiful city. The centre is pedestrianised and so there is not much traffic to worry about. The architecture is stunning. Most of which was destroyed in world war 2 by the controversial bombing by the allies. Only in recent years did they have the money to rebuild many of the iconic Dresden buildings which have been restored almost exactly to the finest detail. There is a quiet pride in the people of Dresden who are very friendly, have amazing food and a smile for every foreigner. The city had recently been badly effected by the floods only the week before we arrived but already it had been quickly and efficiently cleaned up and there was little sign of any damage other than the debris on the river banks. Which we observed on an afternoon cruise down the Elbe whilst enjoying Weiss Beer, Pickled herrings in apple coleslaw and potato salad. Delicious.
Curiously the boat was named Dampfart. Or something like that but I honestly had no problems after eating.
We played at Janet and Lucas's wedding on the Saturday night in a University building. It was a very special occasion. We had a small problem with the language barrier as many Dresden people don't speak English as they do in the western part of Germany due to it's history. But we overcame this pretty quickly and had them jigging' away pretty soon despite being full of food and sweating with the heat. It was very warm. Luckily there was a free bar! We were very kindly treated and were fed and watered all through the night. We even joined them on the dance floor for the 80's disco on the dance floor later on. Thanks Janet, Lucas and all.
If you ever get a chance to go to Germany I would highly recommend Dresden. It's a really special place that I will never forget. One day I hope to go back there again and just do nothing except wander around aimlessly in and out of the various eateries and bars, soaking up the environment. Listening to the wonderful music played by the many talented buskers playing a very high standard of musicianship. From the virtuoso old lady on the Bayan and the Schone Grube aus St.Petersburg, a brass quartet that played beautifully and really moved me. Let us never forget the solo violin lady with the hat in the white see through dress. Aye Dresden has it all.