I am as relaxed as I ever will be!

Flight over relatively painless with
intermittent naps and a good sleep on my first night in Dresden. The bike is here and I am pulling at the bit or itching on the derailleur, whatever is the best metaphor?

It’s a great cycle. I feel like Mulga Bill! I had not been on any bike for a month in Adelaide.

One of the reasons I am not so anxious is the fact that I don’t feel the pressure of needing to be at a certain village on a specific date! In fact as long as I am in Vienna around 21 st September, I can do what I want and if I fall behind, take the train! Some of you may remember it’s what the English Couple on the Camino did last year. He a publisher, she a paediatric ophthalmologist. Want I want to know is “did they see eye to eye”?

I rode into Dresden and back today, 50 km all up. I have had a couple of pub meals – bread roll, bratwurst , mustard and a beer. In fact I have had TWO beers and the German wench at the next table is starting to look somewhat attractive to me. Well it was a very large bratwurst!

Across the Elbe river from where I am staying at the Therese Malten Villa- is the Pillnitz Palace, the stunning summer residence of the saxony kings from 1720. I think the best analogy is that it is in concept similar to the French Palace of Versailles and whilst the gardens are not so formal, they are spectacularly natural yet with a pleasing symmetrical structure. The garden has the oldest living camellia bush in Europe – more than 300 years. Tea anyone?

I had an Alice in Wonderland happening at this Pillnitz Palace,

An original sandstone guard house had been converted to the ticket office. She sat at a window – in fact a beautifully crafted heavy wood double casement window one of which was wide open. I offered my 10 Euro bill to pay the 8 Euro admission price to her. She gave a rather brusque start and indicated to me, what I had not noticed till then: the bottom few centimeters of the casement had been replaced with one of those gleaming stainless steel trays that bank tellers use for their security and transactions. The rather efficacious woman pushed it out, I placed my 10 euro on the tray, she pulled it back, placed change and ticket in the tray and pushed it out again!

Now let me hold your hand and walk you through this interaction in case you missed the nuances here!

The ticket person is in a small office with one shutter window wide open and sitting less than an arm’s length away. It is surely a natural and human instinct to interact with one’s fellow man at a personal level? So my attempt to simply hand her ” in person” through the wide open window, my money was intuitive, all the more so that I did not see the security tray anyway. I was incredulous! I felt like Alice in Wonderland, having a nonsensical argument with the Queen of Hearts – or if you feel it more appropriate – I felt like the Queen having an altercation with Alice. Indeed the analogy with me as the Queen of Hearts is better, as I had a definite urge to screech “off with her head” to Alice the ticket lady.