A day in Dresden

Dresden Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 17 › view all entries
Rolling down two steel lines into Saxony we came next to Dresden. The first port of call, atypically I am guessing, was the Deutsches Hygeine Museum, which was surprisingly (and somewhat dissapointingly) not about German hygeine at all. We had a long list of other museums we intended to visit, but in the end we were so enchanted by Dresden that we used the perfect weather to wander around the beautiful buildings and the vibrant city life. The Neumarkt in particular was unspeakably gorgeous, tall new buildings built in replica of the ruined square, all drenched in light like warm syrup. Frauenkirche is one of the most beautiful Churches I have seen, built up high as a peaked dome it combines grace, symmetry and warmth like no other.
Why can't more buildings be built like this? The Church was only rebuilt in 2006 (East Germany left the bombed ruin of the old Church as a war memorial), so there is obviously the skill to still build with graceful stone.

Each time we turned a corner in Dresden we came across a breathe-taking scene - the murals ofStendehaus (the Royal Stables), the spires of Hofkirche or the courtyard of Zwinger. In a way I think it is fitting that the Germans, who have come closer to fully dealing with their history during World War II than any other nation, have given us a restored Dresden as a subtle reminder of the atrocities performed by the Allies. The incomparable extent of Nazi atrocities tends to be interpretated as a blank cheque for the Allies being the "good guys". Hitler being so unspeakably horrific, the countless war-crimes, murders and rapes committed by the Allies get swept under the carpet.
Perhaps the sight of Dresden restored, a visual depiction of what was lost through needless destruction, teaches us that war is rarely if ever good versus evil. WWII may be the closest exception we have to characterising war as two greedy violent foes, uncaring of who is crushed by their contest, but only because the Axis decended to new levels of brutality, not because the Allies ascended to new hights of civilisation.

On the walk back to the train station the streets were full of sporting displays and participation events for less common sports such as racketball, kendo, pole-dancing, taikwando, chess, gymnastics, fencing, trampolining, jousting and frizbe. I love the way European cities are full of shared public spaces and shared public events, with everyone taking advantag of the communal atmosphere.
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photo by: aloneinthecrowd