The Gift of Travel – Part 5: Cruising to Dresden — A Photo Essay

So . . . already, I cannot keep it to the number I had hoped.
We saw so.much.goodness.
(More likely, I took
So, this post will be about getting to and enjoying Meissen.
The next one will be about Dresden.
Then on to Saxon Switzerland (a national park, not a country),
and probably two posts on the Czech Republic, especially Prague.

You can find Part 1 here,
Part 2 here,
Part 3 here,
and Part 4 here. 

After our immersion in Reformation history, we cruised all morning the next day
to the city of Meissen, which houses the famous porcelain manufacturing company.
The first couple of dozen pictures were shot during that lovely,
relaxing time on the water — pictures of farmland,
changing topography, small villages,
animals, people on bicycles. . . just the ordinary stuff of daily life,
but somehow, as seen from the deck of a river boat,
things of extraordinary, often breath-taking beauty.
I think that — above and beyond the riches of history, the extravagance of
rulers past, the lure of museum treasures —
the richest kind of gift from this experience is this one:
the extraordinary ordinary,
the downright deliciousness of dailyness.

At last, a stork in the nest!
You have  undoubtedly noticed that the terrain is beginning to change:
sloping hillsides, rocky cliffs here and there,
vineyards and more villages.
This whole stretch was so very lovely.

 A bicycle and walking path paralleled the river for miles and miles.

Just before lunch, we drew near to Meissen, a city almost completely unharmed
in WWII. It’s majestic castle/fortress loomed over
the entire harbor area and seemed to beg for pictures
from every conceivable angle.

 The waterfront area was charming and we docked very near this row of houses.

Boarded our busses and proceeded first to the Meissen plant,
which is in the heart of the town and employs over 600 people.
Our guide was a remarkable woman of about 60.
She had grown up in Communist Eastern Europe
and her family was known to be Catholic.
She was humiliated in school, made to stand in front of the class,
and later, despite being an excellent student,
was denied access to the finer colleges.
She once held a ‘job’ at Meissen that had no function.
For eight hours a day for FOUR YEARS,
she went to work and had nothing to do.
That right there is its own kind of hell.

This is the Meissen insignia
and if you’re blessed to own any of their fine porcelain ware,
you’ll find it somewhere on each piece.

As we entered the ‘manufaktur,’ as the locals call it, these charming girls
were just getting out of school.
Loved the pink socks.

I have to tell  you that I could not afford anything from the seconds table,
much less something from this boutique.

 The tour did help me to understand what goes into making this lovely stuff,
and that helps me (a little) with the pricing.
We moved from room to room,
each artist had a box with audio tapes in various languages.
With a push of a button, music and narration began,
and each one did his or her part in the ‘assembly line.’

First the basic shapes are formed on a wheel.

Then the finer details are made by hand and prepared for the first firing.

 The first layer of paint goes on at this point.
And then I think they’re fired again.

This woman adds another layer of color and a finish and the pieces
are fired for the last time.

I would love to have seen one of those ovens, but that was not part of the tour. :>)

 There was a small museum, which contained
this organ, whose pipes are made of porcelain;

this gorgeous urn, which was about two feet tall;

these delicate figurines, which were my favorites;

and a special exhibit of a variety of flower arrangements. . .
made entirely from porcelain.
Loved looking at them — but would not care for the maintenance one bit.

We chose an optional walking tour up to the fortress complex and loved
the views and the general feel of this lovely small city.

Even the manhole covers are beautiful.

This right here? This is why my knees still ache!
(All the stairs everywhere plus the cobblestones make for one miserable
arthritic, I’ll tell you.)

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of this town and came back to the
boat almost reluctantly.
But soon, the quietness of the river did its magic,
and we tucked in for our time in Dresden the next day.

Entering the city of Dresden, going under a low bridge just as a tram crossed over the top of it. Yes, we’re into a much bigger city now.
More adventures to come!

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  1. I found your website through another website – I forget the bunny trail now.

    This photo journal of your time in Germany is really beautiful. I am an American living in Zurich, as my husband has been working here for over 7 years. I confess that we have done little touring in Germany (except for Munich), even though it’s close and hubby is fairly fluent in the language (me, not so much). Your narrative and pictures are causing me to consider a trip north soon! thanks for sharing.

    • Delighted to meet you, Susan. And you are surrounded with gorgeousness where you are, so I understand your hesitation – but this part of Germany on up into the Czech Republic is also gorgeous – and I think you’d enjoy it a lot. I am now somewhat prejudiced, but doing it from a boat is pretty great. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Diana – Oh – these are not photos, but paintings, art, breath-taking – am loving my tour – but trying not to turn green!

    • That is high praise coming from you, Sue. Thanks so much. I just went back through and read them all in order for the first time. It really was a grand trip — I highly recommend it.

  3. Simply beautiful. Was the Meissen tour guide humiliated when she was young because she was Catholic? One of my sons was recently injured on the job and was assigned light duty…which was 8 hours of doing practically nothing. It’s miserable….and discourages employees from “enjoying” light duty. He was thrilled to be released to his regular job. 4 years of “light” or nothing duty would be hell.