Picture 1: The Frauenkirche
Even though April looked sad in this picture, I promise we were all very excited. The reason for her face is probably the terrible wind and rain we had to deal with the entire time we were in Dresden. Had Dresden been any less breathtaking on its own the weather would have ruined the trip. However, we were delighted to finally see the object of our 212 studies. German 212 is the class that focuses more on literature and developing our reading skills and in this class we read the German classic: As ich ein kleine Junge war (When I was a Young Boy), by Erich Kaestner. This book is so good at describing how beautiful Dresden is and how much of an effect World War II had on this city. At the very end of the war, Germany would not admit that it was going to lose and just kept drawing out the fighting on both sides wasting lives for no reason. The Allies knew they needed to do a massive attack somewhere to prove that Germany could not win the war. So, the chose not a city that had huge industrial importance, but instead the beautiful and historically important city of Dresden. The city was not important to the war effort, but was held in high esteem in every German's heart. The attack went on for days and the city was completely razed. The Frauenkirche (behind us) was one of Germany's most beautiful churches (which is saying something), and it fell to the ground after being fire bombed. The history gets only more interesting for this church. The whole time the East was occupied by the Russians they left this beautiful church in rubble. They left is this way to constantly remind those living in East Germany that the West is their enemy. It wasn't until the '90s the church rebuilding effort finally began and it was completed in 2006. The beautiful church behind us has only been standing for 5 years. What do I think is most interesting? They were able to salvage a few of the original bricks from the first church and figure out exactly where they are supposed to go in the new church. So, if you look closely you can see that there are black spots on the white church, those are the original bombed bricks of the Frauenkirche.
Picture 2: Pragerstraße
This is one of the most famous shopping streets in Germany. There a ton of stores and more than one mall. It was also the way we had to walk through every day to get to the places we wanted to visit. I bough my Hausschue (slippers) here and we found (get this Katie) a "T.K. Maxx" I don't know why, but it is not T.J. in Germany...very strange. I also found a Mountain Dew in the Hauptbahnhof that is at the end of the Pragerstrasse. I also loved the stark contrast from the glaring communist buildings housing the capitalist giant: McDonald's.
Picture 3: The Weather
We tried to take this picture three times. The first time, the wind blew so fast the camera fell over. The second time, I forgot to set the timer. The third time was this. The wind blew. Braden squinted. Maria screamed. April cried. I, being the model that I am, posed perfectly through anything. I think my training with the yearly Mother's Day pictures came in handy here. But honestly, the weather was really awful. Those umbrellas you see in this picture...only one still works. The wind was very intense.
Picture 4: The City from Above
Maria and I decided we were going to spend the 8 Euro (like $12) and go to the top of the Frauenkirche and see what we could see. Granted, as you learned from picture 3, the wind was a bit scary and I was convinced I was going to drop my camera, but I didn't. It was worth every penny. From the top we could see the Elbe River flowing through the city, the Zwinger, our hotel, and the majesty of this wonderful city. It was one of those moments in life where you think the world is truly a beautiful place. This is one of the most beautiful cities I'd ever been to and being able to see the enormity and the beauty of it was so great. Behind Maria and I is the Zwinger, the art museum of Dresden and one of the 1,000 places to see before you die. See picture 5.
Picture 5: Der Zwinger
Although you can't read it, this is a very important sign. You see, we went to Der Zwinger on Sunday and decided that we only wanted to get acclimated to the city and see the sights more the next day, Monday. So, Monday morning we came back to Der Zwinger and went to open the doors and found this sign. This sign was also very visible on Sunday as well. It reads: Der Zwinger is open every day of the week, except Mondays.
Dresden was a WONDERFUL city. The highlights from the Prague trip will be up soonish