Kapoors Year 6: Iceland To S. Africa & Namibia travel blog

What A Great Place To Start Our Exploration Of Dresden, Zwinger, The...

We Were Right On 'Time' To Listen To The 40 Meissen Porcelain...

The Augustus Bridge Crosses The Elbe, I Come Across The 'Elbe' In...

There Was A Very Cold Wind Blowing In Our Faces As We...

Festung Königstein Is The Largest Intact Fortress In Europe, It's Now A...

We Crossed The Elbe River And Walked Along The Hauptstrasse, A Leafy...

Anil Noticed This Statue That Was Severely Damaged During WWII, The Light...

As We Walked Along The Street, I Couldn't Help Thinking Of The...

We Stepped Into The 'Three Kings Church' To Admire The Remains Of...

We Never Would Have Entered This Restaurant If We'd Walked Past It...

However, It Was Listed As Lonely Planet's 'Our Pick' In Dresden's Neustadt,...

The Food Was Amazing, I Had The Borscht And Anil Had Avocado...

The Frauenkirche Collapsed Two Days After The Bombing Of Dresden, Reconstruction Was...

The Altar Was Smashed Into 2,000 Pieces, But It Has Been Beautifully...

The Skyline Of Dresden Was A Favourite To Many For Centuries, This...

There Are Haunting Photos Of The Dome Still Intact, While Most Buildings...

Painters Have Attempted To Capture The Beauty Of Dresden, Here's One Example

This Metal Frame Has Been Erected On The Terrasse To Help Set...

Can You Spot The Difference Between This Photo And The Previous One?...

This 102m-Long 'Procession Of Princes' Was First Painted And Then Meissen Tiles...

24,000 Tiles Were Used To Create This Mural On The Facade Of...

We Entered The Gate To The Stables And Admired The Equally Beautiful...

There Are Mums With Prams EVERYWHERE, Someone Told Me Last Year's World...

The Royal Residences Were Really Too Over The Top For Us, But...

And Then To My Delight, I Spotted The Entrance To A Restaurant...

We Didn't Go In For A Coffee There, It Was Too Dark...

This Former Tobacco Factory Was Built In 1907 To Look Like A...

I'm Not Sure Why, But The Glass Dome And The Decor On...

We Heard About A Series Of Passages Between Residential Buildings That Had...

Our Last Day In Dresden Was Overcast And Dull, But These Courtyards...

There Are Five Separate 'Passages' And Each Is Decorated By A Different...

The First One We Saw Had A Definite African Theme, Delightful!

Where Do These Creative People Get Their Talent, Couldn't They Just Share...

The Moment I Saw This One, I Thought Of The Poem 'The...

There Were Wonderful Shops And Cafes Incorporated Into The Courtyards, Each Filled...

There Were Few Other People Around On This Tuesday, But The Weekends...

Anil Had A Laugh At The Name Of This Shop 'Mrs Hippie'

I Just Snapped Away From All Angles, Now I'm Trying To Share...

Several Shops Specialized In Things Made From Wool Felt, I Thought These...

I Couldn't Believe My Eyes When I Saw These Woven Wicker Balconies...

This Was One Of The More Simple Designs, But Wait, You Won't...

Can You Believe This Four-Story Water Works? How Else Can I Describe...

It Wasn't Raining But There Was Water Trickling Down The Pipes, Splashing...

This Part Was Incredible, Who Thinks Up These Wonders?

And Then At The Bottom, Water Spurts Out Into The Courtyard, It...

We Tore Ourselves Away From The Passages And Walked Through The Neighbouring...

This Relic Was Just Sitting On The Street Next To A Rack...

And Then I Saw My First Cold War Era Trabi - You...

Our Last Stop Was A Dairy Shop Completely Covered In Meissen Tiles,...

No Coffee In This Dairyland, But Thankfully They Had A 'Toiletten'

I Thought The Lid Was Cute, But What A Charmer When You...


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BACKGROUND

Dresden was once known as the ‘Venice of the North’ because of its fame as an artistic centre during the 18th century. The worldly Augustus the Strong and his son Augustus III were the driving force behind the creation of the most striking buildings lining this bend on the Elbe River. Despite the fact that the entire world admired the artistry of these fine buildings, the Allies unleashed a devastating series of bombing raids between February 13th and 15th that laid waste to much of the city. It’s a miracle that any of these treasures survived the resulting inferno.

It is believed that 25,000 residents of Dresden perished, though some will argue that there were at least 10 times that number killed by the resulting fire storm. With the city virtually emptied of men who were away fighting the war, the task of clearing the rubble was left to the women. Much of the debris was carried away to the western fringes of the city and stacked in a pile that came to be known as the ‘Mountain of Fragments’.

Dresden fell under the control of the Soviets after the end of WWII and eventually became a part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). There was little or no reconstruction during the Cold War period, but following Reunification, efforts were begun to raise funds to rebuild Dresden’s much loved historic building, the Frauenkirche (The Church of Our Lady). The GDR had left the rubble as a memorial to the war. The new Church was consecrated in November 2005.

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

Both Anil and I were aware of the near total destruction of Dresden during the war, and for that reason, it never occurred to us to visit the city. However, one evening we were listening to a travel podcast and the host was interviewing someone who mentioned that most tourists take the train directly from Berlin to Prague and never think to stop in Dresden.

He felt that this was a big mistake, for in his opinion; Dresden is an enchanting city that is not to be missed. The fact that most of its historic buildings have literally risen from the ashes makes it a special place indeed. We looked at each other, and instantly agreed, that we would just have to take the ‘road less travelled’.

We chose a hotel in an outlying residential neighbourhood, not too far from the city centre. We stayed, what we feel, is the minimum length of time needed to get a ‘feel’ for a city, three nights. We arrived early enough in the afternoon that we were able to explore the historic centre and walk over the old bridge across the Elbe River before having a terrific dinner in a restaurant whose description in theLonely Planet caught our imagination.

We spent the following two days exploring the fine sights of the city and returned for a second meal at the same restaurant. We smiled when we read the following poem on the menu, meant to reflect on the fact that the foods they serve come from the four corners of the world:

Come, we want to fry pieces of the good bread of the North,

in the good oil of the South, as the fathers already did,

We will drink from the good wine of the West to forget,

sip by sip, the dear misery of the East.

By Robert Gemhardt


On our last afternoon, we headed to see a series of courtyards, which had been decorated by different artists, each with their own creative style. It was a refreshing change after seeing so many historic buildings, blackened by the soot from the firestorm in 1945. We particularly loved the blue courtyard with the unique water sculpture that deals with heavy rain and delights at the same time. We enjoyed Dresden, and left with smiles on our faces, something we didn’t expect considering the not-so-long ago past.

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