Germany, Day 16: Slow Train A-Comin’

Today we got up early and said goodbye Franconia, hello Saxony.  We were leaving Nuremberg for Dresden, but in order to get there we had to survive a 5 hour train ride (with a transfer in Leipzig).  We had the foresight to reserve seats on the train so we didn’t have to elbow anyone out of the way to get seats together.  After breakfast we taxied to the train station and stopped in at our favourite train station shop Yorma’s to buy some drinks, baked goods and gummies (we’re been really into gummies on this trip since we learned that the gummi bear was invented in Bonn by the guy who created the company Haribo).  The train ride was actually really nice as the scenery was gorgeous – green hills and mountains, slow moving streams and brooks, herons, gardens, church spires, sunflower fields all entertained us and made me think of Goethe and his Romantic poetry about the German countryside.  We transferred trains in Leipzig and had an uneventful 1 hour train the rest of the way to Dresden.  We grabbed a cab that took us to our hotel in the old town, dumped our stuff and headed out to explore prior to beer time/dinner.

Dresden is old/new.  As I’m sure many of your know, Dresden was firebombed and completely devastated by the Allies in 1945 and 25,000 people died.  75% of the old town was destroyed, including an important Lutheran icon to locals, the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).  I read somewhere that it is like the St. Paul’s for Lutherans.  The Church was reduced to rubble and because Dresden was in East Germany during the DDR days, the Church was not rebuilt until recently, construction being completed in 2006.  I was really excited to see this Church and was not disappointed.

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The inside of the church does not allow photos, so I will have to describe it – it’s light and bright, using a lot of lighter woods and white stone with a giant black and gold Baroque alter in the front and centre.  We soon discovered that we arrived in Dresden in the middle of their Bachfest, so if we’re up to it, we may try and catch an organ concert.  Also inside they have on display the original cross from the top of the church.  It fell and was covered up by rubble after the firebombing.  It’s a strong and somber symbol to the tragedy and heartbreak of war, as well as the resilience of a people who endured a horrendous event.  In a show of friendship, the man who forged the new cross for the cathedral in Coventry (a town in England that was flattened by the Luftwaffe) also forged the new cross for the Frauenkirche.

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We did a little more poking around, but as we have a whole day dedicated to exploring Dresden’s old town in a few days, we decided it was time for a sit and a drink.

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Dresden is historically a friendship city with Prague, so there is a lot of Czech and Bohemian influences in the city, including the beer and cuisine.  We found a pub directly beside our hotel (how convenient!) and Pa and I drank some Czech Pilsner, Pa and Ma had some delicious goulash and I had chicken and vegetables.  Soon it was time for coffee, cake, and boots off.

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