Last night after dinner we said goodbye to our Berlin guide, Olaf. This morning at breakfast we were greeted by our long-time Prague guide, Kamila, who came to Berlin to accompany us to Prague, and who will stay with us through our Poland part of the trip. Olaf and Kamila and our Polish guides are people we have worked with for many, many years and we consider them friends and family. Each year we return, seeing them again, is like coming home especially after not seeing them for 3 years due to COVID.
Our first stop would be Dresden in southwest Germany. 2016 was the first year we had stopped in Dresden, as in prior years we had traveled by train from Berlin to Prague, and we loved the city and decided to make this an annual visit.
Since it was raining all day, our local guide in Dresden, Cossimo, took us on a city tour by bus where we got to see several residential neighborhoods and to understand how this city was reconstructed after the bombing in 1945.
After lunch at a beautiful Dresden restaurant, the Sophienskeller, we took a walking tour and learned the history of this region.Dresden was a traditional medieval city, first mentioned in 1206, and was the capital of the principality of Saxonia, now the state of Saxony. Dresden has a population of about 500,000 and is famous for its Christmas market, the historic young men’s choir, Cross Choir, dating back to 1300, and is the city where the first European porcelain, Meissen, was manufactured and is still considered among the best in the world. One hundred fifty years ago before the unification of Germany, Dresden was the capital of another kingdom or principality, Saxonia, [now Saxony] which was one of 30 units or principalities that Germany would have to unite. They were never very powerful but the Saxon kings had a taste of culture and therefore Dresden became one of the most beautiful baroque towns in the world.
The interesting thing about the town today is that everything has been rebuilt. We learned that in February 13-15,1945, shortly before the end of the war, the Allies (Britain and the United States) bombed Dresden, reducing almost everything in the city to rubble. Why did the Allies decide to do this so late in the war when it was already apparent that Germany was eventually going to lose the war? These were the questions that lingered throughout the day.
Olaf and Kamila, Olaf’s Berlin guide and Kamila’s Prague guide, have been working together for many years. They visited Dresden, a baroque town with a population of 500,000 and famous for its Christmas market, Cross Choir, and Meissen porcelain.
Today on Day 4, both Berlin and Dresden were visited. Dresden was very interesting to learn about and to see how it was all completely rebuilt. I enjoyed seeing more images on the town, seeing how amazing it is, and how it was all completely rebuilt. I liked to see how they had changed their travel plans after years because of how amazing the city of Dresden is. And I also enjoyed hearing about the places where they ate.
It was interesting to learn that Dresden was destroyed by Allied bombings so close to the end of the war. It makes you wonder if there ever are any good guys in war. However, the rebuilding of Dresden shows the strength of community in the world.
The fact that Dresden was obliterated by Allied airstrikes so close to the war’s end was interesting to learn. You start to question whether there are ever any decent guys in battle. The reconstruction of Dresden, however, demonstrates the power of global society.