Dresden, Germany 4 July 2013
We're staying in a hotel that was the former Taschenberg Palace and like most of Dresden, it was destroyed in 1945. In that year Dresden looked like Hiroshima the aftermath of devastating air raids. The Palace lay in rubble for years after the war and nature had begun to reclaim it, wild flowers and trees sprouting midst the rubble. Many plans to rebuild and restore were discussed but with the communist German Democratic Republic then in charge, that kind of decadence was thought useless. It wasn't until the reunification of Germany in 1990 that plans to bring the old Palace back were undertaken. As with so much of this city's beautiful ancient buildings it was restored true to it's original form using as much of the original pieces as possible. I remember driving through Dresden in 1996 and seeing structures that we still in rubble from the war, the bricks and blocks being sorted and numbered for reassembly. After 50 years! Dresden is now a gorgeous city, it's old town restored, cobblestone streets and many restaurants bring tourists from all over the world. I walked around for a few hours and was immediately transported to another age, long before world wars, when civility and sense was the order of the day. Speaking of civility, there before me was an Augustiner Restaurant with tables outside and a beautiful day. How could I resist? I ordered meatballs and in short order three somewhat flattened discs of heaven arrived, lightly dusted and pan fried. I have no idea what went into them, but it like a symphony of flavour, maybe one of the best things I've ever eaten, along with a generous portion of their potato and cucumber salad. A couple of Augustiner helles bier topped off this fabulous lunch.
Tonight's show was an outdoor gig by the river and we didn't do a sound check so the call was a late one... 5:30 in the afternoon. What a gig, daylight when we took the stage in front of a sea of people ready for a party. The exact number is hard to tell, officially it was just under 10,000 but folks were lined up on a bridge off to the right and many more picnicking outside the grounds by the river taking the show in. Thanks Dresden for a great gig.
A quick runner back to the hotel and a band field trip back to the Augustiner. Platters of those delicious meatballs were devoured along with grilled sausages, kraut, gammon steak and chips. Litres of helles were followed by apricot schnapps. All I can tell you is it's a very good thing there's not one of these restaurants within striking distance of my home.
And finally to bed. The close of a great day, that felt like a day off with a gig. To all the Yanks who may be reading this, I hope it was a good 4th of July. To my wife who threw her lot in with me 37 years ago on this day, I love you.