After eating out tonight, first in the Sophienkeller and at the Muenzgasse, I wanted us to walk the length of the Terrassengasse, which is all that remains of the old wall that circled the city of Dresden. Most of it was pulled down long, long ago. But a little was kept. It sits astride the river Elbe, and stretches at one end from in front of the Albertinum museum, passing the Kunstgallerie and the area with the Neumarkt behind, past the little parade of topiaries that hang over head, and finally to the 41 steps that slope downwards opposite the Catholic church that was commissioned by Augustus the Strong, who had been Lutheran, but who had converted to Catholicism when he became the King of Poland.
I had thought the pathway along the Terrassengasse very romantic: leafy and dimly-lit, the Elbe to the left, the floodlit baroque Archive building on the opposite bank reflecting in the river, silhouetted lovers strolling by in the darkness with arms clinched, a lone cyclist pedalling gently with the Elbe flow, soft lights shining on the Fraunkirche’s high dome, and we took it all in, knowing our time in Europe, and in this city we’ve grown to love, is coming to an end.
We strolled toward our hotel about a kilometre away. Jean had noticed when we had circled back to the Neumarkt that the cyclist was still with us. With minutes ticking by, he seemed to be circling us. Later, he did it again, and continued to circle us three times! And then when we filed into McDonalds on the Altmarkt to visit the toilet, he did so too! All the way back to the hotel, Jean was circumspective, looking for him all the while, as we tried to foil any attempts to follow us. I joked that if this was pre-1989, he could have been a member of the Stasi secret police!