Spending time with Karen and Rene, or Couch Surfing friends from the small town of Lauchhammer we discovered the raw history of this cities recent past.
Karen and Rene disparately wanted to show us Dresden and I wanted to get a taste of the German Autobahn. With a stop on the way planned we headed off from Lauchhammer for our hour-long drive to Dresden.
There was a grand lodge that our gracious host wanted to show us Schloss Mortizburg Castle. A beautiful Baroque German Castle built between 1542 and 1546 as a hunting lodge for Duke Moritz of Saxony.
The building has stood well and walking the grounds gave us a sense of what Germany would have been like in time now past. With horse drawn carriages and their owners plying for business at the gate we snapped a couple of pictures and headed back to the car for the remainder of our journey to Dresden.
Dresden, a city rebuilt after so much destruction. The British did to Dresden what the Russians did to Berlin. Bomb the hell out of it. However the allied forces made a better job at the time. The CBD was just rubble and ruin after the allied bombing from WW2. But in recent years and as time has mended relationships, painstaking efforts have been made to restore as much to original as possible.
Founded on the site of a Slavonic fishing village as a merchants’ settlement and the seat of the local rulers, Dresden was from the 15th century onward residence of the Saxon dukes, electoral princes and later kings.
The city has experienced both splendid eras and times of tragedy. It was above all during the 18th century a magnificent centre of European politics, culture and economic development, only to become a synonym for apocalyptic destruction just two centuries later.
For the people of Dresden, and for friends all over the world, it has always been a unique city, with a fascination, which has evolved throughout a turbulent history.
The Cathedral in the city square pays homage to its former days and in the rebuilding original stones from what was left after the destruction have been used in every effort to make this great monument breathe life again.
The city is now a vibrant mix of old, rebuilt and new, all placed in a harmonious fashion that allows easy walking access to all historical parts of the central city.
The cafe scene is here too and with little lane ways leading off in all directions, you feel free to loose yourself and then find your way again by spotting landmarks that dominate the CBD.
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area.
Our great friends Karen and Rene made excellent guides as this was the city of choice for them living just 40 minutes north in the village of Lauchhammer. A lot of villagers commute to Dresden for work as the now closed F60 Mine no longer offers the young people of Lauchhammer employment.
Dinner this evening with Karen and Rene was to be at Anno Domini a medieval themed restaurant. I was told by Rene you have to eat with your hands and there was no beer, only wine because beer in medieval times had not been invented. Oh and if you wish you could throw you bones on the floor.
Walking around between the tables were a goat and donkey. There was no power, just candles and all the staff where in themed costumes. The meals were massive; there would have been a kilo on meat on my plate! Our meals were only a fraction of what we would pay in Australia, $22.00 for the both of us.
Snapping photos and doing our best to gorge ourselves we looked at each other and all decided we would skip desert and regretted having afternoon tea in the city only a few hours earlier.
That evening we drove home in silence all to full and longing for bed.
The following morning would see us leaving our friends and heading to Germany’s capital city, Berlin for the day before catching a night flight to. Moscow.
It would be goodbye to Germany, our first love of Europe. We so much want to come back here. We have made friends that we hope to see again soon.