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Day 6 (Dresden)

May 15, 2012

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Another day, another new city to explore!  While Berlin was wonderful and I enjoyed all that it had to offer, I thought the one thing that lacked was architecture.  Don’t get me wrong, they had buildings of course.  And they had big buildings.  But… no offense… it lacked grandeur!  A sprout like me with Austrian roots loves the gothic, the baroque, the stately architecture that is one of the defining elements of Austrian culture.  With our walking tour of Dresden, I marveled at how wonderfully quaint and picturesque the city was.  I also marveled at the Frühlingsmarkt (Spring Market) located in the center of the city.  I marveled at it very much.

Speaking of picturesque… here’s the bad news.  I have hardly any pictures.  I’d love to say that there’s some crazy reason behind why I do not have any pictures (e.g. I gave it to a professional photographer and let him keep the photos, it got stolen by a garden gnome), but alas, I think I accidentally deleted them.  My b.

Here are some basic facts about Dresden.  The whole city was firebombed in 1945 and left in ruins, and I mean big time.  Here are some examples (and no I obviously couldn’t have taken these pictures) :

Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1994-041-07 / CC-BY-SAAttribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-60015-0002 / Löwe / CC-BY-SA

Above left is an aerial image of the city’s destruction.  Above right is a picture of the Frauenkirche in 1958– more about that later.  (Both photos are properly attributed).

Reconstruction of the city began in 1956.  Think about how much effort that took– the rubble was transferred to meadows near the River Elbe where they still remain today (covered with dirt and grass).  Walking around the streets of Dresden today can sometimes be misleading if you don’t know the history.  Parts of the city look no different than other Baroque cities in Europe– the buildings, the row homes, the churches all seem to be from another era.  When the Dresdeners rebuilt the city they built it in such a way that it would once again appear as it did before World War II.

The Frauenkirche was a major stop on our walking tour, and for good reason.  The picture above of the cathedral in 1958 was still in ruins.  In fact, the ruins remained that way up until 1995!  Everyone, including people elsewhere in Germany and the world, had different ideas about what to do with the site.  Many people, including my professor and tour guide, voiced concern about rebuilding the site.  The rubble had come to stand for the symbolic “don’t let history repeat itself” idea.  Since much of our tour was about memory of the Holocaust and World War II, we learned about the significance of leaving the rubble as a reminder that the atrocities committed during World War II should never again happen.  Today however, I think most people are very happy the cathedral was rebuilt, and for good reason– it’s beautiful!

Attribution: Gryffindor

After our tour of the city was finished, I think almost everyone raced back to the center city to have at it at the Frühlingsmarkt.  And who wouldn’t?  Everything I have ever wanted in life was in that markt: bratwurst, beer nuts, ice cream, dingsbums— the dingsbums!!  They’re little trinkets and things, good for looking at while stuffing your face with delicious ice cream.  Oh how I wish I still had those photos!!!  Below is a picture of something I ate the night before called a jause.  It’s a heavenly dish for meat eaters of everything you could ever want (salami, ham, bologna, hard salami, liver pate, prosciutto, wurst, etc).

Jause

After our lunch break we all heaved ourselves onto the bus (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one up a few pounds from lunch) and sat there for another eight hours as we crossed into Poland.  And that my friends, will be the start of another post.

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