Is Dresden as bad as it sounds?

Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 07:36 PM
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Is Dresden as bad as it sounds?

I need your help! My wife and I are traveling to Dresden next month on business. How safe is it for her to travel alone - day trips to Berlin, etc? Can you recommend some ideas to keep her busy in Dresden during the day while I work? We've heard some bleak comments made about the city and would appreciate any info you can share with us.

Many thanks,
Old Jan 23rd, 2000, 12:26 AM
Ben Haines
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Is Dresden as bad as it sounds?

I don't know how it sounds where you are. But your wife can travel haoppily by train and so on around Germany. You can have official advice, as the consuls of four countries hear of scams, thefts, and dangers, so give good advice. This is found
from Australia on
from Britain on
from Canada on, under "Travel Reports"
from the USA on
Some experienced American travellers find the American site over-cautious. It is therefor useful to check all four sites.

The bleak news is that for two nights in 1944 a huge Anglo-American bomber force roatred over the city, and dropped s many bombs that the tarmavcadam of the road surfaces caught fire. The city burnt in a huge flame, which took up all the oxygen: some people were not burnt, nor caught in melting tar, but were suffocated. Some went into the river to get away from the fire: I'm told that allied planes machine-gunned them. So around this historic centre stand ranks of postwar Soviet apartment blocks and shopping treets, thoroughly dull.

The good news is that the Germans took out thei pld plans, drawings and photogtraphs, and rebuilt the whole royal city centre. Nobody has burnt the paintings, sculpture, and china: it's there to see. For ideas on visits you just go ino, then enter "Dresden Travel" and see what's on offer. There's plenty. For small day trips you could use the same system to look at Leipzig and Saxon Switzerland. And I like Halle, but not everybody does.

After you check the web sites, would your wife or you please write if I can help further ? For example, has she a particular taste or interest or profession ? Welcome to Europe.

Ben Haines, London

Old Jan 23rd, 2000, 01:57 AM
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Dresden is one of my favourite German cities after Halle, the home of Handel. Dresden is historical outistanding - make sure you spend a day or more wandering around the old city. Check out the royal castle, the Zwinger museum and the ruins of the church of Our Lady. There is lots more to see and do in Dresden which I prefer over Leipzig anyday. Visit the Dresden Opera House and take in an opera. Day trips out of Dresden are a good idea and at this time of the year the weather is usually very pleasant and warm - on my first visit to Dresden in March I didn't need a jacket. There are some beautiful small villags outside the city eg Priesen (pronounced Pie - son) - some have good bars and wine shops - they are over the river from the main city. Meissen - home of Dresden china - is also an easy day trip from Dresden and you could take a tour of the fine bone china factory (available in English). Visit the castle and tour the town, make sure you see the bells ring on the church in the town. Lots to do in both Dresden and Meissen without travelling far however Prague is also an option (direct train from Dresden) although it could be done in a day perhaps an overnight trip might be a good way to end off your trip and take in the sights of Prague. Berlin is also an option but I would advise against it - long trip and the city is a building site at present. In Dresden, Berlin etc don't take any chances that you won't take at home. High unemployment and an influx of immigrants have resulted in some racial attacks in former East German cities. I lived in the former East for several years and over the years I noticed that one of the bad things about the opening of the former DDR has been the growth of crime. Dresden and Meissen are both places I have taken friends from other parts of Europe and the States to visit and they enjoyed thenselves. Bring a good pair of walking shoes and visit the tourist office on arrival. Otherwise enjoy the trip.


PS Ben Haines delighted that you shared my appreciation of the wonderful old typical East German city that is Halle. While not beautiful in a scenic sense it is a typical DDR city.
Old Jan 23rd, 2000, 08:10 AM
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Actually, rebuilt Dresden is very nice and in my opinion, underrated. Make sure to visit the "Grunes Gewolbe", which is a collection of jewelry. I have seen few things so elaborate.
Old Jan 23rd, 2000, 12:19 PM
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The old Dresden Fortifications underground are a good half days tour and very interesting. Do follow Cathy's advice and try and visit Prague for a couple of days if you've not been there.
Old Feb 2nd, 2000, 05:13 AM
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Dresden is beautiful. Don't miss it. If your wife is adventurous, she can take a train to Prague in a few hours. A beatiful train ride through Bohemia. There also may be a package tour if she wants company. We left in the morning and came back in the evening, but there is much to see in Prague to warrant spending a couple of days.
Old Feb 2nd, 2000, 06:11 AM
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Dresden is a fascinating city, more a symbol of resilience than bleakness. I recommend taking the train to Weimar and Erfurt, two of my favorite nearby towns. Both are astoundingly rich in history and beauty. I traveled alone in that area with no problems.
Old Feb 3rd, 2000, 12:30 PM
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Dresden is a delight, again...after its rebuilding. The art and jewelry collections are marvelous. The old city center core is compact and easy to get around in. The architecture is like from a fairy tale. I loved it! I only had about 30 hours there (including sleeping time, alas) and it wasn't enough for me! I wish I had a business trip there, lucky you!

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