I know, I know, it's almost been a week.
Dresden Travel Blog› entry 13 of 13 › view all entries
August 5th, 2008 – by: Polar15
I wish I had my mother's gift of flowery vocabulary, and ability to bring to life words on a page. Unfortunately she's not here and I have the task of trying to tell all of you how amazing this city is. I'm sure that most are familiar with the firebombing of Dresden during the last months of World War II and the account of Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five. While we were in Liepzig, I decided that I wanted to find a copy of his book so I could try to get a better perspective on what Dresden was and how it has changed. Thankfully it was a quick read and I tucked the book into my backpack about 30 minutes from the Dresden Hauptbahnhof.
Stepping out into the world from the glass and steel of a train station into the reality of a city is always a great beginning to an experience.
After walking about a mile through a huge shopping district, I found what used to be known as the Florence on the Elbe. Not only was my first impression of the city shattered, I was in awe of the amount of work that had been done in order to restore the city to its once beautiful self. A little history lesson for those not familiar with Dresden. The city was once the seat of power for the Elector of Saxony, August the Strong. August just happend to be king of Poland as well. During his reign he did as much as he could to promote Baroque arts in Dresden by bringing in sculptors, musicians, artists, and architects.
It was during World War II that the Germans were being pushed back towards Berlin and the Allies decided that in order to hasten the end of the war there had to be something done to help the advance of the Russians from the Eastern front. Several strategic targets were selected, Dresden being one of them, and on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of Febuary 1945, high explosives and incindiary bombs rained down on Dresden. The destruction of the Altestadt was almost complete. Over 90% of the old city burned to the ground killing tens of thousands.
Now, sixty years later, Dresden has risen out of the ashes like a pheonix. It is an amazing experience to walk among the beautiful Baroque structures and listen to street musicians who perform classical works.
And just so you remember it is Germany, one night I sat at a restaurant on the old city wall overlooking the Elbe listening to a three piece jazz band playing The Girl from Ipanema and Take Five while dining on Sauerbraten and drinking Cuvee Sachsen.
I made sure to get plenty of pictures at all times of day for everyone. I really hope I get to spend more time there while I'm in Germany.
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