Dresden Part One

      4 Comments on Dresden Part One

We only meant to stay in Dresden for a few days before driving onto a campsite at Wrocław in Poland, which according to the CamperContact app is open all year round. However, when we checked with the campsite we discovered that it doesn’t open until 1st April, so as we really like it here in Dresden, we’ve decided to stay here until then.

The stellplatz we’re on is great. It’s literally 10 minutes walk from the Altstadt, but it’s nice and quiet. The staff at the hotel reception which manages the stellplatz are friendly and very helpful. We have electricity, and there’s a service point as well. There are quite a few vans here – there must have been over 30 last night – as the schools seem to have broken up for Easter.

Most people will know that Dresden was heavily bombed at the end of WWII. In February 1945, 85% of the city was destroyed. The Altstadt on the south side of the River Elbe (where the 16th and 17th century buildings were situated) suffered the most. As there was no money to rebuild this during the communist era, the area remained a bomb site (though the Catholic Church did fund the rebuilding of the cathedral). The Neustadt to the north of the river wasn’t as badly damaged, and this area was rebuilt. After the Berlin Wall came down, money started to become available, and most of the Altstadt has now been rebuilt to look just as it did pre-WWII. This work will be completed in a couple of years time, when the last couple of buildings are finished in Neumarkt.

So what have we been up to? The first thing we did was to go on a walking tour around the Altstadt to get our bearings. Our guide was really good, and it was interesting to hear all about the history of the city.

We bought a one day pass for the trams and went all around the Neustadt, taking 14 trams over the course of the day. It reminded me of when I was a kid and would go all over London on a Red Bus Rover ticket, jumping on buses not knowing/caring where they were going.

There’s an opera house here which looked great from the photos. They do guided tours for €11, but for the same price you can go to see an opera. As neither of us had ever been to an opera before, we booked tickets to see the Barber Of Seville. We enjoyed the experience, but it’s not going to become a regular thing!

There are lots of stolpersteine here, and there’s a supporting website telling where they all are, and the stories about the people they’re commemorating. We’ve spotted some whilst just walking out and about, but we’ve also gone looking for them in residential areas away from the main streets – it’s a great way to see the real city.

Today’s been a nice day, so the van’s had a big spring clean inside. It needs a bloody good wash outside as it’s filthy, but most of the taps we’ve seen recently have been switched off/frozen, prohibit the washing of vehicles or charge €1 for a few litres. Hopefully we’ll find a tap when we get to Poland.

After having eaten out so much in Budapest, we’ve mainly been having ‘van food’ in the evenings, though we have eaten out a couple of times – at a traditional German Bierhaus, and at a Turkish restaurant recommended by the Turkish lady at the reception (it’s the best way to find a decent restaurant where the locals go!).

Over the next few days we’ll be getting another one day pass for the trams, and going to visit the Stasi prison museum. Dynamo Dresden will be playing at home against Nürnburg next Saturday, but it’s a sell out so I’ll have to give that a miss.

Mike

The cathedral

Zwinger – this was built to be Dresden’s version of Versailles

The bells on this clock are porcelain, made a few km away in Meissen

Russian notation from 1945 saying that this building had been checked for unexploded bombs and mines

 

The reconstructed Schloss (castle) – parts of the gallery are original 16th century architecture

The Fürstenzug (Procession of Princes) mural that survived WWII as the tiles are made from Meissen porcelain which could stand the heat from surrounding fires

It’s 102 metres long!

Part of the original dome from the Church of Our Lady on Neuplatz – this couldn’t be reused for health and safety reasons!

The Schloss (castle)

The Semperoper opera house

Back in the land of ampelmänchen…

… they have girly ones here too!

Some communist era artwork has been retained…

…we spotted this on the side of a school whilst walking round the houses

… and this

Remembering the peaceful revolution of 1989 – the local people held protest meetings inside the cathedral

The Altstadt from the Neustadt

A street sculpture

A lairy statue of Augustus the Strong

Hauptstrasse in the Neustadt

Remains of a church altar after 1945

View of Dresden from the hills

The Nazis tried to blow up this bridge (known as the Blue Wonder) in 1945 to stop the advancing Red Army, but were thwarted by two local men who risked their lives to cut the wires on the explosives

A bombed out church – it reminded me of St Dunstan’s in the East in the City of London, a Christopher Wren church which was bombed in the Blitz, and left to stand as a memorial

Shrapnel damage to the church

A few of the many stolpersteine we’ve seen

4 thoughts on “Dresden Part One

    1. Mike Post author

      I’d say definitely worth visiting again. And it’s still cold here, but getting a bit warmer!

  1. Tina Waddle

    Love the bombed out church. Bet you’re gutted about the game..Kev would be too.
    What do you class as van food? Did you ever make the stuffed onions? Any chance you could take a photo of the recipe and see me it via Facebook messenger?

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Yes it’s a shame about the footie, I haven’t been to a pro match since August back in the UK (and that was Leyton Orient!). There’ll be another time.

      I will be adding a Van Food page to the van life section of the blog when I get the chance. It’s basically whatever we can cook on three tiny rings (that we can’t fit three pans on at the same time) and an oven which doesn’t get very hot. One pots and tray bakes feature heavily!

      We haven’t had a go with the stuffed onions yet. I’ll send you a couple of screengrabs later.

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