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Published: November 12th 2011
Dresden was known as the ‘Florence on the Elbe (river)’ or the 'Jewel Box', because of its baroque and rococo city centre until the beautiful city was bombed in World War II, killing thousands of civillians.
Now mostly rebuilt, Altstadt (Old Town) and Neustadt (New Town) are split by the Elbe River and these days Dresden is home to many museums, beautiful old churches (like most of Europe!) and err.. hot air balloons!
I had just under 2 days to explore the relatively low key city and marvel at its beauty, growth and history.
To get the best possible view of the Old Town and river Elbe, I climbed one of Dresden’s most beloved icons – the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). The church was originally built between 1726-1743 and was flattened by a bomb raid in 1945. The re-built version offers stunning 360 degree views of the Old Town, River Elbe and mountains. The sun was brightly shining and as the days crept closer to October, the feeling of a ‘Golden October’ (mentioned in Berlin blog) felt close by.
A market close by had many German specialities on offer – the only problem was that I couldn’t
Lost in a Day Dream..
The Zwinger Fortress (Palace courtyard) now home to 6 museums
read any of the signs of what the food actually was! After a few laps, I settled on something that simply ‘looked’ appealing. I think it was a pork stir fry!
Back into the heart of the Old Town, I swung by the neo renaissance Semper Oper (Opera House) and Zwinger Fortress (once a Kings Palace and courtyard used for entertaining, now home to 6 museums). It was here, as I stood on the balcony, looking into the Palace courtyard that I pictured myself peering down on the Kings, Queens and Rulers of Dresden's younger years, sipping wine in their extravagent gowns. After I woke from my day dream, I continued on to the 102 metre tiled mural ‘Furstenzug’ representing 35 Princes, Counts and Kings from long before our days. Made of tiny pieces of tiles, the artwork was quite impressive!
As I was burying myself into the historical Old Town, a burst of colour on the rivers edge caught my eye and soon a total of 9 hot air balloons lifted to the clear blue sky to see Dresden from way up high.
The back drop of the historical Old Town buildings, dreamy balloons and warm sunny
rays created a very picturesque and pleasant afternoon.
Back in my hostel room I came across an abandoned novel. I read the synopsis and to my surprise the story was about 3 kids that spend their childhood at an English Boarding School. After a quick flick through, I found myself comparing the scenes with the boarding school I spent my 6 weeks working in England at. The chances of it being the same school were slim (if the story was even true), and I recalled some advice from a travel book to read a novel that is set in the country you are travelling to, to enable you to discover more culture and picture the scenes written about. Curiosity also couldn’t escape me so I gave the book a new home: my backpack. I don’t recall finishing a book (or even getting past the third chapter) since school, so let’s see if my travels are enough to spur me on to read something other than a map!
I'm leaving Germany for now, but I'll be back - back to where its all about the beer!
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