We started the morning fairly early having slept well and then when we arrived at the Hautbahnhof, it seemed as if our train was already in the station waiting on line 20. We hopped aboard. Well, a young man was helping his mother board in the same coach we selected. He didn't like our suitcases sitting in our seating area, so helped put them on the racks above the seats. His mother didn't let him put hers up because she couldn't get it down. She didn't speak English and didn't seem to want us to sit with her, so she and her son sat outside the train. Concerned we weren't okay to sit in our seats, Bob asked the railway attendent if it was okay. She apparently didn't hear the part about going to Dresden (the train had just come from Dresden). When the man' mother got back on, she mentioned she was going to Hannover. At that news, Bob and I grabbed down our suitcases and hopped off the train. The young man then helped show us where our train would be, it was on line 20 or on line 18, both 20 minutes apart, one regional, one ICE. He thought we wouldn't need tickets since it wasn't that busy. Bob went down and got us reservations, anyway. The 1st class tickets on the ICE trains are much nicer and more comfortable.
When we arrived in Dresden, we took a taxi to the Hilton. The taxi driver got a little irritated since just as we turned into the tunnel to the hotel, a carriage pulled by a horse pulled in front of us going very slowly and hogged the road so he couldn't get around.
The Hilton concierge asked about why we were going to the National Park the next day and he suggested we take the train upriver and the boat downriver since it wouldn't take so long. He told us there was a lovely restaurant. He gave us the train name and time and the boat reservations (for 35 Euros). All in all we were quite content. He also suggested our next stop, a beer at a biergarten overlooking the Elba River. We were also told we had complimentary WiFi.
Laundry is quite expensive but we decided it was less stress to have them do it.
Our first stop was the biergarten on the left side of the river just up the street from the hotel in an Italian restaurant and turned out to have the best dessert--three scoops of vanilla ice cream served with cooked sour cherries in a sauce served warm and poured over the top. It was wonderfully good.
Then finally it was time to get on with the tourist day. Our first stop was the Zwinger Palace, the 1850s fantasy castle with a lovely nymph fountain and small areas where collections of artwork are held. The museum was closed, as were all the others due to it being Monday. So we walked around taking picture of old buildings and grinning griffins we happened to look up and see.
Then we walked from one bridge to the other, across and down the other side and back. The excuse was the Chinese palace, called this because of the decor using Chinese people decorations.This next bridge was difficult to get aboard, requiring a detour to see the stadium and then up almost to the Mosque, then up the stairs. Back went much easier, providing a few statues, and lots of roses and some fabulous views.
Since it was still early, I talked Bob into a trip to the Botanical Garden and Grosser Garden. Both are quite lovely but the real winner is the Botanical Garden with its thousands of plants, all neatly named and positioned in rock gardens, ponds, natural gardens, and gardens set up to use plastic protection in winter time. I got to see the flower that makes the famous Myrhh (myrhh plant from Africa).
To get to the Botanical Garden required a short walk to the tram station, purchase of tickets, and a trip on the tram for about 2 stops, the return trip took 4 stops. Then we walked another short distance past the Volkswagen building where they make glass (for the windows we assume, the building has car bodies on many floors).
The Grosser Garden is centered around a Palace estate with a large pond, creek, and many trees and some flowering.
Birds: House Martin, Fieldfare, Wood Duck, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Common Blackbird, Hooded Crow, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow