The idea is to go to the Tourist Office in Dresden to find a hotel. I’ve already done some research and there doesn’t seem to be much on offer in the old town apart from the Hilton and a couple of Ibis Hotels. I’ve seen something called Aparthotels on booking.com, a bargain at 58 euro, but there is no indication of parking possibilities, so Jean Michel thinks it will be better to check it out first.
We get to Dresden about 11 am. After parking the car in an underground parking lot, we head for Neumarkt Platz and the Tourist Office. I see the sign for Aparthotels so we go in to inquire. The only thing left is a suite at 95 euro so we decide to take it. The very helpful girl at the desk who speaks excellent English tells us there is above-ground parking at 3 euro per 24 hours about 5 minutes walk away. We get the car and drop off our luggage and she says she’ll send an SMS when the room is ready. That’s what I call service!
Well, when we see our suite, we are pretty amazed. Enormous, stylish, with two large rooms, a kitchen with dishwasher on one wall, large comfortable sofa, table and chairs, desk, two TVS (not that we ever watch TV) and a bathroom with a washing machine!
It is not until about 11 pm that we start looking at next day’s accommodation in the vicinity of Meissen. I find what looks like a great hotel but it’s not available until the day after. Why don’t we stay another night in Dresden? We’d like to see the famous baroque treasure in the Grünes Gewölbe museum. We check booking.com and there is one apartment at 58 euro left in other Aparthotel on Münzgasse next to Ayers Rock on the other side of the Frauenkirche. We take it.
It’s next morning and we go down to see the friendly girl on the desk just in case there is a room available our own Am Schloss Aparthotel. No, there isn’t but she checks our Münzgasse booking and tells us we’ve been upgraded to a suite. We pack up and put all our luggage on the neat luggage trolley and I wait and chat with the girl on the desk while Jean Michel goes to get the car.
My phone rings. “On a des problèmes”, says Jean Michel. The battery’s flat. We later discover he had left a light on inside the car. Good thing it wasn’t me! He phones our travel insurance and they send us a breakdown truck. We then go to Renault because Jean Michel thinks we should change the battery. I know who’s going to have to communicate and am dreading it. Also it’s nearly midday. I bet they close for lunch. “Guten tag”, I say, “Do you speak English?” “Moment”, replies the man and off he goes.
He comes back with Julia whom I instantly take a liking to. She speaks real English having worked for six months in a garage in Brisbane of all places. She is our life saver. By 1.30, the battery and one of the injection coils (imagine having to converse about that in German) have been changed, we’ve been to the local supermarket on foot to top up supplies and had a picnic on the Elbe at Julia’s suggestion. Our new room is waiting for us. The repairs were even cheaper than they would have been in France.
Our next apartment does not have the same chic as the first one, but it’s still very nice. We have a separate kitchen, bathroom (with washing machine but a bath and not a proper shower), hallway, living room and bedroom, all with absolutely stunning views of Neumarkt Platz. All for 58 euro! I put on a load of washing (what luxury!) and ask for a clothes horse, ironing board and iron to be sent up. That’s domesticity for you.
Then we go off to do something more interesting. Sun and rain alternate so we take some brighter photos on the way.
I used to be an avid museum goer but an ongoing foot problem that occurred about 8 years ago has made me very selective. Our choice goes to the Grünes Gewölbe historical museum which contains over 2,000 masterpieces made of gold and silver, amber and ivory displayed in eight beautifully decorated rooms. No photos allowed so I’ve taken one of our travel diary.
The sun’s out again so we go back to the Zwinger gardens to take some more photos but they are so crowded with groups that we don’t bother. On the other side, we discover the Opera House and visit the very plain interior of the Catholic Cathedral, badly bombed during the war.
It suddenly starts raining so we head home for a cup of tea. I realise that I haven’t received confirmation on hotelinfo.com for our next hotel booking. I try to ring the hotel but am stumped by the recorded message in German. I find a toll free number for hotelinfo.com and am told there is no reservation. I make another one, which is now confirmed. Ouf! Our next stop is only 45 minutes away so we’ll be able to have a full day of cycling – weather permitting!
In the meantime we have an excellent quartet just outside our window.Aparthotels, www.aparthotels-frauenkirche.de, firstname.lastname@example.org