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Trip Report Down the Elbe River

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Last two weeks in July DW and I cruised on the Elbe River. And a good journey til the end. (Note: no food and hotel guidance in this report since a cruise ship). Starting in Prague which we'd been to before we once again toured the Castle and then Old Town with the unique town clock. Not enough time here but we'd enjoyed Prague once before.

Next day crossing into Germany through the forested Sudetenland. Walked through picturesque Litomerice with lunch at a former brewery. A detour to the Bastei, quite impressive rock promontories and valley below. I saved the lives of several women at this bathroom stop because I brought some required Euros. The area we were approaching is Swiss Saxony with a history of its own.

Further on we boarded the MS River Allegro operated by Grand Circle. We started out taking advantage of a surge from a water release up stream. The Elbe River is relatively shallow so not heavily ladden barges. A rocky shoreline gave way to pastoral scenery and the weather was great. About 9 p.m. we docked at Dresden.

Morning walking tour of Dresden. We had headsets which are great as you can hear every word of the guide even when some distance away. And I do wander some taking pictures. Actually before our walk the local guide talked about her life before and after Communist rule. Dresden was subjected to WW II bombings which leveled much of the city. DW read "Slaughterhouse Five" but I read Frederick Taylor's book "Dresden" which deals with the myths of unnecessary destruction of this historic city February 13, 1945. It should be noted that there were crucial military targets here and Nazi Germany wasn't ready to surrender but then launching V2-rockets.

A lovely day for a walk Modern Dresden is mostly rebuilt and in the area up from the river many buildings once in ruins emerged from the rubble. Wide open spaces with parks. Passing a very modern synagogue we come upon Frauenkirke (Church of Our Lady) painfully reconstructed using the original stone blocks. Passing along the wall of the stables we viewed a remarkable 336 ft mural of porcelein tiles depicting a royal procession of past leaders. Then passing by the famous Opera House reopened 1985 with a performance of the very von Weber opera heard the day before the bombing.

In the large Zwinger Palace we have green areas surrounded by baroque buildings. These originally erected by Augustus the Strong in the heyday of Saxony. A lovely place with many strolling families on this Sunday. At one point we heard a 78 year old woman describe the bombing and aftermath. The family hid in a shelter and then her father emerged to aide the wounded but was killed in the second wave. She remembers as a young girl the great efforts to pile up the rubble.
(more later)

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