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Autumn 2016 Travels in Europe: The Saxon Alps?

Monday, October 10, 2016

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Our comfortable train ride from Prague to Dresden took us along the Elbe River and through what is called the Saxon Alps (there are no Alps in Saxony) because of the unusual rock formations that make up the high rolling hills. The ride was smooth and the scenery was pleasant, what more could one ask for?

The baroque beauty of Dresden is uplifting. Sometimes the ambiance of a place hints at a certain character and the fine buildings of Dresden say, “culture.” Walking into the old city, there is the immediate sensation of history, planning and beauty. Wide squares, cobblestone streets, architectural integrity and quality of building are immediately evident. We saw an entire city block under an architectural dig in order to save every brick and stone from past centuries that could be reused in rebuilding the block exactly like it was prior to 1945 when Allied bombing (resulting in a fire storm) completely destroyed the city. Workers with small trowels and whisk brooms were painstakingly uncovering items for future use. Since the fall of the Communist hold on East Germany about 30 years ago, Dresden has been recreating the historic city, block by block.

We could not withstand going to the Frauenkirche, the magnificent Lutheran Church that is the icon and emblem of the city. A stunning and worshipful space, the baroque atmosphere is a tranquil mix of pastels. The altar and organ are a brilliant display of statuary in pastels, white and gold. We were able to watch a short film in the media area about the history of the church and the rebuilding efforts that resulted in the church as it stands today. We left the church emotionally moved and inspired.

We ate our evening meal in a wonderfully warm and Saxon-decorated restaurant. The cheese soup was excellent and the roast boar, veal liver, hunters meat loaf and rosti (fried potatoes in a cast iron skillet) with fried eggs were a treat. It was new beer, both dunkle and wheat, both refreshing none the less. We look forward to our days in this glorious city. WEG


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