Don´t mention the war

Trip Start Aug 18, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Camping in Dresden hostel

Flag of Germany  ,
Thursday, September 14, 2006

I arrived in Dresden from the south, having followed the river Silber for most of the morning. This approach meant that my first impression was of closed roads, detours, tramlines being laid and others being dug up. Dresden, it seems, is still being built. I headed for the old-town centre, looking for the tourist information office. Not knowing what it was, I checked out the Zwinger, a stunning palace built for Augustus the Strong. It is a vast square (almost a park, really) with lawns and fountains, surrounded by baroque buildings covered with intricate carvings and sculptures. The old-town has a lot of this, the churches (catholic and protestant) the castle, the opera house, all make for a distinctive skyline and beautiful old-town.

I crossed the river Elbe to the new-town to find my hostel which turned out to be fully booked. The friendly proprietress, Leanna, rang another place to find me a bed, but they only had expensive (20Euro) beds left. I flashed her my most endearing smile, and mentioned that I couldn't help noticing her beautiful garden. She let me stay in my tent, but use all the hostel facilities, free of charge. Legend. The next day I explored the new-town through, miraculously, successfully following a self-guided walking tour I picked up at the tourist info centre. The new-town had been comprehensively rebuilt and renovated (as the guide-leaflet pointedly observes, 'at great expense') and gives the best impression of Dresden before 1945. The view from the Church of the Magi is well worth the 1.5 euros and 150steps. I can't show you why, as my camera battery died taking a photo of the bells on the way up. Typical.

I didn't meet many people in Dresden, partly because of staying in the tent, so felt that I'd seen and done everything I wanted to in two days, and was happy to move on by the 15th. Dresden felt slightly schizophrenic overall. Partly characterised by historic buildings, stunning architecture, tourists, and partly by still delapidated buildings, ongoing building works, and beggars. Also, although I didn't see this side, it is apparently a centre of scientific research and development, with the invention of the bra, toothpaste tubes, filter cigarettes and milk chocolate to its credit.

Dresden was also a significant milestone for me, as it was the point at which the current plan, (F-658.9) merged with plan A, formulated all those months ago. Plan A was to set off the day after graduation, catch the next ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and pedal from Amsterdam to Berlin, to Dresden, to Prague...

This wasnt quite the way it panned out, as you may have noticed, but is still honoured in the description of the trip as Newcastle-Newcastle, and now Im back on track!
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