Off the beaten track - with one or two surprises
We left Dresden this morning, heading westwards through Sachsen and Sachsische Anhalt towards Magdeburg. We had a couple of ideas for stops along the way, the first one being Moritzburg, a lovely castle not so far from Dresden. Before we could get there however, we found ourselves in a traffic jam. What was going on?
A nearby poster supplied the answer. We'd come on one of the busiest days, that of the Hengstparade and the crowds were already arriving in great numbers on a lovely sunny September morning.
We heard music coming from within a courtyard, so parked the car in the main village street and went in to see what was happening.
The Police Band was playing and as always, it was interesting to be a bystander and just watch the goings on for a while.
Interesting too, to see how smart the equestrian world is, wherever one happens to be. We are not part of that world however, so wecarried on through the yard as we wondered what to do next.
I mean, having snagged a brilliant car parking slot right there, was there any reason why we shouldn't go and take a quick look at the castle? We didn't really want to see inside and just thought it would be good to enjoy the fresh air for a while.
Here were a pair of interesting signposts, with a couple of familiar names upon them. Although there were lots of people here, no-one else seemed too bothered by the castle itself - they'd come for the events later in the day, I suppose.
So we walked up to the castle itself, enjoying the symmetry and the spectacle of the whole scene.
Whilst up there, we spotted a small detail on one of the outer staircases: a lost shoe. Not just any lost shoe though, but a glass slipper, cast in bronze. Whose could it be?
We could guess, of course (as I'm sure, can you, too) but the small souvenir shop supplied a fuller answer. The castle had been the set of a film shot here in 1973
though none of us recognised the stars, we did all learn the German for Cinderella: Aschenbrödel. I suppose we could guess the Czech too: Popelku perhaps?
We needed to leave however, for lovely though the castle was, we still had a long drive ahead of us. We drove past one familiar sight along the way, as our route crossed a bridge to join the road we'd travelled previously, in Meissen. With my Hero at the wheel, Ellis navigating and Mary and I knitting in the back seats, it was a jolly drive, at least!
Around lunchtime, we were all ready for a break though and once Ellis had identified Torgau as a potentially interesting stop, there was no question about it. Torgau it would be. We found a table in the Rathaus restaurant, ordered beer and burgers and sat enjoying the sunshine and the lovely fountain in the square. The Eis-cafe next door supplied dessert, after which we thought we'd take a look around.
Whilst we'd been buying ice cream however, my hero had dropped into the tourist office and picked up some information. It seems as though Torgau was where Martin Luther's wife, Katharina died and in this 500th anniversary year, there is quite some focus on the man and his work. We decided we should explore a little further before continuing our journey to Magdeburg.
Along the street was an interesting feature in the pavement. Hmm....
We were heading for the castle, which we'd seen from the road as we'd arrived earlier. That's a grand entrance gate isn't it?
But as I stood, looking at the face of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, described as "Steadfast, Pious and a Heavy Drinker", my hero called my name from there on the bridge. He sounded quite excited...
I'll continue the story in the next post!