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Published: August 26th 2016
DresdenDay 210 Monday 15th August 2016 – Berlin to Dresden
Hot Air Balloon over the Frauenkirche
Cannot believe we are leaving Berlin today as it only feels like we got here yesterday. Our bus wasn’t till 1pm so we could have a slow start to the day and had our usual breakfast at a café around the corner before getting into our packing. The metro is so easy to use so there was no point in getting a taxi to the bus station. My only problem was that I bought so many books in Berlin that I think I am carrying half the Mitchell Library around with me – I think we will need to send some stuff home again. We left the hotel at 11 in case we had any dramas getting out to the bus station and of course didn’t need to because everything in Germany runs better than clockwork. Got to the ZOB bus station in under an hour and had a long wait for our bus. Travelling with Regiojet today and their bus was superb with media screens, wifi, power plugs and air con that worked. The only downside was when the bus arrived the driver got out
and was screaming at everyone to get in line, which was rather odd because everyone was acting nice and orderly and there wasn’t any shoving or queue jumping that we have experienced before. We had allocated seats on this bus so no one really needed to get pushy. Booked this bus online and once again we didn’t need to print a ticket but just show the booking on Michele’s iPad, travelling these days is just too easy. As our bus left the bus station we passed an accident where a bus had slammed into a car, so I guess not everything runs like clockwork in Germany. Tearing down the German autobahn writing up this blog whilst watching an endless sea of spinning wind turbines over the German countryside, this Country is so beautiful and a joy to travel through.
Arriving into Dresden we passed the hotel that we are staying at and kept driving, damn, too far to walk but it was a cheap taxi ride at least. Got settled into the hotel and then went for a long walk around the old city, so as to get our bearings.
DresdenDay 211 Tuesday 16th August 2016 – Dresden
The Frauenkirche at sunset
Boring housekeeping to do, it is laundry day and have found one about a 20 minute walk from the hotel, so packed up our smelly socks etc and walked across the bridge into the new city. After some confusion and the help of another washer we worked the machines out as there is no attendant only a phone number if there is a problem, all the machines are linked to one payment panel where you press your machine number. While it was sudsing up we went for a coffee - such an exciting morning. I think we have been travelling too long as it feels so good to have a choice of fresh clothes to wear again, and now people may start sitting next to us again without pegs on their noses.
Walked around the new city before wandering back into the old city and stopping for another coffee. We moved onto the Frauenkirche a Lutheran church built in the 18th
century but was destroyed in World War II bombings of the city along with most of the city. Prior to the war Dresden
Paddle wheeler on the River Elbe
was renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, afterwards it was remembered as a needless victim of war. In February 1945 American and British Aircraft dropped 4,000 tonnes of high explosive and incendiary bombs on the town in an effort to destroy the rail facilities. The resulting fire storm destroyed 6.5km2 of the old city centre and killed nearly 25,000 people. Due to the high unknown number of refugees fleeing the Russian army that were passing through Dresden at the time some estimates of the death toll are as high as 200,000, and although this high number is contested so is the lower number of 25,000. To this day the bombing of Dresden is still regarded as one of the more needless acts of violence committed by the allies. The Frauenkirche was completely destroyed (along with most of the historic centre) and because it was the symbol of Dresden there was a push by the locals to have it rebuilt. In 1994 they began to rebuild the church and then the interior was then tackled and the altar was rebuilt from 2,000 fragment recovered from the rubble. It is an iconic symbol of Dresden and is now
Inside the Frauenkirche
back looking like it originally did in the city skyline just a little bit more shiny and new.
The other church we visited was Kreuzkirche, a church has existed here since about 1168 but it has been rebuilt and remodelled many times due to wars and fires. It received heavy damage in the February 1945 bombing which destroyed the roof and interior, it has been rebuilt and the interior has been left plain. Last stop was the Dresden City Palace to pick up tickets for tomorrow we settled on the expensive Combi ticket that cost 21 euro each if you buy on the day but an extra 2 euro for buying the day before - hmmm. This ticket includes the Historisches Grunes Gewoble which you need to get a time slot for and we chose 11.00am, but we could start seeing the other sections at 10.00am.
We walked back to the Neumarkt Square to get dinner the place we chose had an endless supply of pork knuckle coming out with sauerkraut that looked great so we had to order it and it was really good. It is a beautiful city and we have had
Dresden - City Palace
No purpose other than looking ugly
a great day. Day 212 Wednesday 17th August 2016 – Dresden
We are again saving a bit of money by not having breakfast at the hotel so walked to a café we saw yesterday for a coffee and roll and then onto the Palace. For the Historisches Grunes Gewoble (historic green vault) you can’t take in bags or camera so into the locker all our stuff went we decided that there was not enough time to see one of the other sections first. The Green Vault was created by “August the Strong” between 1723 and 1730 as a showcase for his wealth. You move through the Amber Cabinet, the Ivory room (it is a wonder there are any elephants left), White Silver room and then the Silver Gilt Room. From here it is into the Hall of Precious Objects a larger mirrored room containing more unusual pieces, it is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder there are only a few pieces that I thought were amazing, most I could appreciate the skill in them but they were gaudy, some just plain ugly, and others just fell
The rebuilt Frauenkirche
out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. The following room was on the side that was most heavily damaged during the bombing and contained the coat of arms some of which survived and finally the small bronze statue room and then out into the foyer area. As you can imagine Scott was so impressed by what he saw that it was safer for me to write today but like me he did find a few interesting pieces.
Went back to the lockers and got our cameras as we can now take photos then onto the Neues Grunes Gewolbe (New Green Vault) and I have to say more of the same. Onto the Turckische Cammer (Turkish Chamber) which was a welcome change with Ottoman items including a huge tent, swords and ornate horse items. On the same level is the Riesensaal (Giants’ Hall) which contains tourney paraphernalia including jousting lances and the most amazing amour for both riders and horses made for the royalty. Looked through a few more exhibits like coins and a photo display before moving outside to climb the tower for a view over the city. The palace is
still being worked on and rebuilt to reflect its original glory so to get to the tower you need to walk past the fence off section in the courtyard.
Dropped into the Katholische Hofkirche (Cathedral of the Holy Trinity) which looks better from the outside, as like the other buildings was heavily damaged during the war. From here we walked through the grounds of the Zwinger Palace but opted not to visit the museums here as it would have been overload there is always the next visit to Germany. Time for a freshen up and a rest before dinner. Dresden is probably one of the best European towns we have visited so far, it does have large tourist numbers and is expensive, but is so beautiful and has such a great vibe – damn I wished we had some more days here.
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