We headed out from Berlin this morning driving through the Brandenburg countryside into Saxony.
As we went, we four puzzlers and quiz hounds completed an old General Knowledge crossword, finding it much easier with four brains working out the answers!
We stopped for a while in Meissen, booking our places on a workshop tour at the Porcelain factory and enjoying a late lunch of coffee and cake whilst we waited for the English language tour.
It was surprising then, to watch the first potter create a tea cup with the (recorded) commentary all in German - fine for me but tricky for my hero and no good at all for Ellis and Mary.
It was interesting to watch how the young man created the teacup, first by throwing the clay into a basic form, but then by moulding it into a consistent shape and finishing it by hand.
Next, we watched as a craftswoman joined pre-moulded components together using slip, to create a large figure.
Once again though, our sweet friends hadn't a clue what was being said in the explanation of the process, however good the demonstration was.
Sometimes though, one has to simply go with the flow and this part needed little explanation. I was rather impressed by the steady hand and fine work of this craftswoman, though Mary didn't share my admiration. She had expected the designs to be created from scratch and was surprised to find it was a little like painting by numbers - though agreed that a consistency of standard was essential to a commercial product. The charcoal grey glaze which which she was painting the pattern would turn blue upon firing.
This was one of Meissen's most popular designs.
Lastly, we found ourselves watching an Oriental design being created; one where eventually, a metallic gold layer would be applied. This was fine painting indeedfreehand to a certain extent, though following the guidelines of a pattern which had been traced onto the blank porcelain previously.
The artist's steady hand was remarkable and though she had the advantage of a specially designed support, the fine work needed her total concentration.
The end result, when finished would cost upwards of 100 Euros...
Though we could admire the beautiful craftsmanship, it wasn't really to our taste. A fairly quick scoot around the museum upstairs confirmed that, no, we were not really potential Meissen customers
The glaze samples on the wall were rather interesting and very decorative, however!
Before leaving, I made a point of mentioning that even though we had booked and paid for an English tour (and checked that our tickets did indeed state that we had), the whole commentary had been in German. It seems as though those not speaking German should have been issued with audio headsets, but for some reason, they were forgotten.
So our visit to Meissen was an interesting diversion but not much more, sadly. The good thing is, we don't have the problem of getting it home!
Tonight, we are in Dresden, in an all time favourite hotel. We're looking forward to exploring the city tomorrow and hope that the sun will shine.