Dresden: The beauty of East Germany!

At the Zwinger Palace in Dresden – Saxony!

So last week, I wrote about the best of Eastern Europe!

You responded to it quite well.

Unlike this post!

Ah well!

Writing about Romania is beginning to bore me!

However, the great thing about owning your own website, is that you can write whatever you want.

So I will!

Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official!

As you know, I have a new job.

I’m the Referent Interne Trainings or the Internal Training Manager at a lovely company called H&D International GroupH&D ITAS Infrastructure Services GmbH.

I’m responsible for:

  • Corporate English Training
  • Training Management
  • Quality Management
  • Designing inter-cultural training and workshops
  • Planning inter-cultural training and workshops
  • Implementing inter-cultural training and workshops

Yay!

Here’s my new office at H&D International Group – H&D ITAS Infrastructure Service – ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

And it’s in Dresden!

Marvellous!

But I live in Berlin!

Wow!

The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done. There’s just so much to dooo!

As you know, I’m a corporate person combining the world of style and travel, with business ventures.

And that has never changed.

Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe with excellent infrastructure in public transport, so I’ve been doing a lot of corporate travel from Berlin and throughout East Germany.

A lot!

Use my link and book your hotel!

As a result, international travel has been a little erratic and this blog has been a bit of a mess.

I’ve been living in hotels for the past 6 weeks, and the wi-fi has been absolutely horrendous.

Horrendous!!!

And coupled with early morning commuting at 03.15 in the morning in some places, let’s just say that Uber has been a godsend!

However, things have settled down, and I’m now on track.

So let’s get started.

Phew!

DRESDEN!

Victoria at the River Elbe in Dresden – Germany
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

Dresden is the capital city of Saxony, otherwise known as the Free State of Saxony!

It’s situated in a valley on the River Elbe, and is the second-largest city in Saxony, as the largest city in the region happens to be Leipzig!

Dresden is in Germany, but is just 30 minutes from the border of the Czech Republic!

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Frederick Augustus II of Saxony or Augustus II the Strong – the Golden Rider!

Dresden has a long rich history as the capital and royal residence of the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor.

It even had a connection to the monarchy in Poland!

Dresden was once known as the Jewel Box of Germany, because of it’s Old Town city centre which is crammed with baroque and rococo architecture.

Sadly, when the international community think of Dresden, they make no mention of German splendour and historical treasures, but rather the horror of the Second World War!

War is a terrible thing, and Dresden paid the price.

Towards the end of World War II, Dresden was pretty much flattened and destroyed, and became unrecognisable.

After the war, restoration work helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Dresden Cathedral, the Zwinger Museum Complex and the very famous Semper Oper.

 

After the re-unification of German, Dresden once again concentrated on the beauty of it’s history with impressive buildings such as the 1,000 year old  Frauenkirche, otherwise known as the Church of Our Lady! The church was destroyed during WWII and the ruins were left as they were, as a war memorial, for over 50 years!

Thankfully, a new church was re-constructed using the charred stones from the previous one, as a distinct reminder of what happened. In fact, in the mid-90’s, I too left a donation for the church to be re-built!

Outside of the Old Town, Dresden has a trendy New Town – Neustadt – a nearby Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Ore Mountains which borders both Germany and the Czech Republic, the Moritzburg Castle, impressive countryside around the Elbe Valley, etc.

And.

It’s.

A.

Waterside City with the River Elbe running right through it.

Hurrah!

Exciting Times in Dresden – Forgive the casual look. I was previously wearing heels!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – March 2018

Before I actually went for my job interview, I hadn’t visited Dresden in more than twenty (20) years!

Like Hamburg, I had of course, breezed through on my way to Prague, but I hadn’t stopped there for a very long time.

So once the job was in the bag, we decided to book a family weekend, and visit Dresden through the eyes of a tourist!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

Back to Dresden.

DRESDEN: THE BEAUTY OF EAST GERMANY!

Moritz Castle in Dresden – Saxony
Dresden: The beauty of East Germany!

A beautiful city. A Baroque Old Town. A garden suburb. A cultural metropolis, etc. These descriptions are just some of the names that Dresden has acquired over time.

But one thing remains constant – Dresden is truly one of Germany’s most beautiful cities!

So what to do if you’re a tourist?

This is what we did. Are you ready?

Read on!

  • The first thing you have to do is to go to the Old Town, enjoy the beauty and grandeur of the Baroque Old Town, and have a drink or two. We went in April and it was already burning hot!
  • Ramble through the baroque town houses and hidden corners. The Old Town is extremely small, and you really won’t get lost!
  • Admire the Frauenkirche, otherwise known as the Church of Our Lady
  • Go against the grain, and drink Saxon traditional beer at a traditional Bavarian establishment mere steps away from the Frauenkirche

We spent our first evening drinking and eating both Saxon and Bavarian fare at the very-German-looking-everyone’s-in-traditional-German-costume Augustiner restaurant!

It’s really nice, but very, very popular so either go really early, quite late, or reserve a seat!

Drink beer at the traditional Saxon / Bavarian Augustiner restaurant in Dresden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

Before it got burnt to the ground!

The Semperoper in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

We not only admired the building itself, but we even booked a guided tour, so that we could learn more about it’s magnificent architecture and richly decorated rooms. We paid €25.00 for a Family Ticket.

  • Go on a river-cruise. We weren’t able to book any, as it was too early in the season, but they should be well and running now!
  • Having said that, walking on the riverside is free of charge, and quite a lovely walk!
  • Have more beer. In fact, make sure that you sample, Dresden’s most famous beer – the Radeberger Pilsner!
  • Go one better, go to the riverside, and have your Radeberger lager at one of Dresden’s oldest breweries – Radeberger Spezialausschank built in 1848!
The Music Producer at the Fürstenzug – The Procession of Princes in Dresden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018
  • If you see nothing else, go gape at the Fürstenzug, otherwise known as the Procession of Princes. What a wonderful piece of art! It’s a 101 metre long mural, known as the largest porcelain artwork in the world! It was originally painted between 1871 and 1876, celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty – Saxony’s ruling family at the time, and has approximately 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles! The mural displays the ancestral portraits of the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings of the House of Wettin between 1127 and 1904, and it’s on the street. On a wall! You’ve probably passed it a few times and forgot where you saw it, but you can find it on the outer wall of the Stallhof or Stables Courtyard, of the Dresden Castle
  • Go to a riverside beer garden or Biergarten. See what I did there! And have a bratwurst and chips with a variety of sauces, while people-watching local Dresdeners playing ball, listening to music, or simply just chilling, with more local beer!
  • Have dinner at another famous historical restaurant and brewery – the Ball & Brauhaus Watze. It’s an 1838 establishment with 3 restaurants. We had dinner at the rather rustic Watzke am Goldenen Reiter or the Watzke on the Golden Rider! And indeed, right outside the restaurant is a very golden statue of Frederick Augustus II of Saxony or Augustus II the Strong – the Golden Rider, dressed as a Roman Caesar, riding a horse, covered in gold leaf! The restaurant also has a huge St. John’s (as in John the Baptist!) bell which is rung on the hour, in synergy with the bells across the road, in the tower of the Frauenkirche!
If there’s an open-air festival, join in! FilmFest Dresden International Short Film Festival.
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018
  • If there’s an open-air festival, join in! While we were there, Dresden hosted the FilmFest Dresden International Short Film Festival. In the Old Town. Right next to the Frauenkirche. Totally free of charge! They even supplied deckchairs to lounge on. How cool is that?
  • Drink some more traditional Dresden beer!
  • Wander around some more, and if you’re lucky, you might actually get to see some of the locals dressed in baroque attire. Mind you, as in New York and LA, they do expect a tip, if you want to take photographs!
  • Go on a walking tour, but don’t expect it to be a free one outside of “the season.” We really wanted to get to grips with what Dresden was about, so we booked a historical tour at the Official Tourist Information Centre, of the City of Dresden. It was €12.00 per person, with no concessions for children over 13! However, it was well worth the price

 

 

  • Spend a few hours at the Dresdner Zwinger, which is a beautiful Baroque Palace built in 1710, and used as an Orangery, the Court festival grounds. It now serves at a Museum Complex and houses the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister – the Old Masters’ Picture Gallery, the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon – the Mathematics and Physics Salon, and the Dresdener Porzellansammlung – the Dresden Porcelain Collection. It’s very pleasant to stroll in and has a very nice fountain too. The grounds are free of charge
  • Have lunch on your second day at the Kurfürstenschänke! The Kurfürstenschänk is another historical restaurant built in 1708. As you can see, Dresden has plenty of the like!
  • Order champagne
  • And if you really want to blend in. Drink more beer!
Drink German organic beer in Dresden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

I really could go on, and on.

Of course, nowhere is perfect, and one shouldn’t forget that as beautiful as Dresden is, it’s still in East Germany.

Unfortunately, East Germany has a history of xenophobia.

Dresden was always seen as an East German State that didn’t.

Until it did.

Sadly, since Germany opened it’s arms to refugees. (Oh, and just so you know. #RefugeesAreWelcome), there has been an alarming rise in right-wing populist activity spurned on by the right-wing party – Alternative for Germany – AfD.

As tourists, you’re all perfectly safe, and as an expat local who lives in the “right area” – read wealthy, gentrified,or bohemian parts of town, I’m alright too. But still.

As I told you last week, The British Berliner, aims to give you  a clear description of the places that I travel to, and my thoughts.

So don’t be scared.

Nowhere is perfect.

Except for Berlin obviously!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

But really, Dresden was a pleasant surprise.

And the food was fantastic.

More about that next week!

Stirl Apartments in Dresden

Here’s where we stayed:

We stayed at a lovely apartment called Stirl Apartments.

It cost just €85.00 per night. Not including the Tourism Tax of €1.30 per person. Per night!

We had actually planned to stay at the Old Town itself, but I forgot that I had pre-booked Stirl Apartment as a last cheaper resort, just in case we couldn’t get the Aparthotel Am Schloss, a mere five (5) minutes from the Frauenkirche!

Even though the Aparthotel Am Schloss, was far more expensive, I would have preferred it, for the mere fact that it was exactly where we wanted to be.

In the Old Town!

I’ll be writing a more comprehensive guide on Dresden very soon!

DRESDEN: THE BEAUTY OF EAST GERMANY!

The Easter Riding Processions are a special tradition in Saxony!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions, and the Dresden beer that I drank, are my very own!

Next week, more on Dresden!

And in a few weeks, I’ll be revealing my next summer trip!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Lady in blue uniform – Dresden. I can’t remember what it’s about. Does anyone know?
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE.

No siree!

You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Dresden: The beauty of East Germany!

Have you ever been to Dresden? Have you ever been to East Germany? Do you enjoy German beer? Let me know in your comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Advertisements

25 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, you’re my BFF!

The Berlin Wall after the opening of the Wall near Brandeburger Gate on November 11th, 1989!  Photo@ 25 Archiv Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung - Uwe Gerig. (www.berlin.de/2013)
The Berlin Wall after the opening of the Wall near Brandeburger Gate on November 11th, 1989!
Photo@ 25 Archiv Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung – Uwe Gerig. (www.berlin.de/2013)

You know how I love this glorious city right.

You know.

This city called Berlin.

I mean, I shout about it loud enough and it was just under a year ago that I introduced myself to you on this blog, when I wondered what the heck Berlin was all about anyway!

I mean, what’s the big deal?

I’ll tell you what the big deal is my good man.

It’s the fact that the city of Berlin. THIS city of Berlin, has been together in peace and harmony for 25 years.

That’s right.

25 years!

A few days ago was October 3rd.

October 3rd is the public holiday given to the German people to honour the Re-Unification of the two German States previously called the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or DDR (Deutsche Democratic Republic) otherwise known as East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD) otherwise also known as West Germany.

You are leaving the American Sector! Photo credit: © Owen Franken/Corbis
You are leaving the American Sector!
Photo credit: © Owen Franken/Corbis

WHY WAS THE BERLIN WALL SET UP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

It’s a little complicated but after WWII, Germany was split up and divided by the allies as punishment, and you only had to look at the city of Berlin to see who the Allies were namely: Great Britain, France, USSR and the United States.

It was not long before arguments and squabbling took place in the international political arena and simply put, the Eastern and Western Bloc decided to go their separate ways and an Iron Curtain ensued.

East Germany took it further and built a wall in Berlin, cutting a line through the entire centre of the city. This wall was supposed to prevent East Berliners and citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West, but the Wall was unable to stop the mass of people from fleeing. As a result, in 1961, the ruling Communist Party in East Germany began adding more border fortifications to the Wall, creating a broad, many-layered system of barriers.

In the West, people referred to the border strip as the “death strip” because so many people were killed while trying to flee. I have seen this death wall myself as I live in East Berlin and not 10 minutes away, is the main local park called “Mauer Park.” The suburb of Prenzlauerberg where I live, is enormously trendy and gentrified, and if you’re “in,” or want to be “in,” you strive to live here.

However, let it be noted that “Mauer” in German, means “Wall.”

With the downfall of East Germany in 1989, the Berlin Wall that the Socialist Party tried to use to maintain its power, also fell. The fall of the Wall marked the definitive end of its dictatorship.

The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989,

The Berlin Wall.
The Berlin Wall.

STREETS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL?

In May, I went on a brilliant walking tour with an organisation called the Real Berlin Experience Walking Tour in one of my favourite places, and where I first lived in Berlin – Kreuzberg. You can read all about it right here! In my post, I mentioned that Kreuzberg had the Berlin Wall running right through the middle of it and that during the happy confusion when the Wall actually fell, young people were leaving the East to go West, or leaving the West to go East.

In Prenzlauerberg where I live now, the same thing occurred. There is a street called Bernauer Strasse on which the Berlin Wall also lay. In fact, it was pretty horrid for all concerned, as you could actually see the other side of the Wall from your kitchen window but you couldn’t go to the Western side without being shot!

Smashing through the wall! Photo@ frizztext
Smashing through the wall!
Photo@ frizztext

Imagine the frustration, pain, and horror.

Many people tried to escape to freedom and found ways to be creative by sailing across in a hot air balloon, digging tunnels underground, pretending to have a funeral and lowering the “dead” person into a pit, hiding inside the seated lining of a Volkswagen car, etc. All for a life of freedom.

It’s easy to forget that this situation was only 25 years ago. Most of you reading this blog, are probably older!

SO HOW DID THE BERLIN WALL ACTUALLY FALL?

Read on…..!


2 May

Hungary begins dismantling the fortifications on the border to Austria.

People demonstrate against the election rigging in front of the Sophienkirche (church).


7 May

Local elections in the GDR. Opposition groups prove that the results were faked. People demonstrate against the election rigging in East Berlin on the seventh day of every subsequent month.


4 September

First Monday Demonstration in Leipzig. 1,200 people gather outside St. Nicholas’ Church. Their demands include freedom of travel and democracy.


9 /10 September

New Forum’s initial call-out becomes a signal for change. Further grassroots movements follow.


11 September

Hungary officially opens its western border for GDR citizens, risking a breach in its diplomatic relations with East Berlin.


30 September

West Germany’s foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher informs the East German refugees in the Prague embassy, that they will be allowed to leave the GDR.


3 October

The GDR government bans travel to Czechoslovakia without passports and visas, to stem the mass exodus. Special trains transport people from the Prague and Warsaw embassies to the West, through the GDR. There are violent clashes with police along the railway line, as well as in Dresden.


7. October

On the 40th anniversary of the GDR, several thousand people demonstrate in Berlin outside the Palace of the Republic.  In numerous East German towns and cities, similar protests are broken up by force.


East End Gallery: A Part of the Berlin Wall.
East End Gallery: A Part of the Berlin Wall.

9 October

Despite fear of military repression of the Monday Demonstration, 70,000 people take to the streets in Leipzig. The police, military and civilian forces do not intervene.


11 October

The single ruling political party calls for people to stay in the GDR, offering a “dialogue” concerning the country’s further development.


16 October

The number of people at the Monday Demonstration in Leipzig doubles. The security forces do not intervene.


18 October

Erich Honecker is forced to resign after 18 years in office. Egon Krenz is made the new secretary-general of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).


24 October

Krenz is also elected chairman of the State Council and the National Defence Council. 12,000 people demonstrate against his appointment in Berlin that evening.


30 October

300,000 people take part in the Leipzig Monday Demonstration.


4 November

The largest demonstration in the history of the GDR takes place in Berlin.


7 November

The government of the GDR, and the Council of Ministers collectively resign.


8 November

The Central Committee Politburo, the highest body in the GDR, resigns. West German chancellor Helmut Kohl links economic and financial aid for the GDR to three conditions: the opposition must be legalised, free elections must take place, and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) must renounce its claim to sole authority.


9 November

The Wall falls, prompted by a vague, but now famous, announcement of new travel regulations at a press conference. Tens of thousands of East Berliners rush to the checkpoints and force the border open.


22 December

The Berlin Wall is officially opened at Brandenburg Gate. The first concrete section is removed from its beams at 0.30 a.m.


23 December

The offices issuing passes for the GDR in West Berlin close for good. West Germans no longer need a visa, or have to change a certain amount of money, to enter the East.


1990 Chronology


31 August

The Unification Treaty is signed in East Berlin.


3 October

Germany celebrates the “Day of German Unity” also known as “Re-Unification Day.”


Climbing up the Berlin Wall. Freedom! Freedom!!
Climbing up the Berlin Wall.
Freedom! Freedom!!

25 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

It was the people who took to the streets en masse and courageously resisted a dictatorship, enabling both the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Peaceful Revolution. The 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall is again going to mobilise as many as people as possible.

Berlin is inviting Berliners, eyewitnesses who were here, and people of the world, to actively participate in the anniversary celebrations as balloon patrons, and to tell your personal stories about the Berlin Wall.

Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.
Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.

You, and I, are invited to be involved in looking back at the events of 1989, and reflecting on the connection to the present.

The stories, memories, and wishes expressed by balloon patrons for a peaceful world without walls, are going to be seen and collected at www.fallofthewall.com. The result will be a unique online gallery that commemorates and reflects on the Berlin Wall from today’s perspective. If you want to be a part of this unique moment, then please go to the website here.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Visualization of the LICHTGRENZE or Light Installations at Engelbecken  © Kulturprojekte Berlin WHITEvoid / Christopher Bauder, Photo@ Daniel Büche (www.berlin.de/2013)
Visualization of the LICHTGRENZE or Light Installations at Engelbecken
© Kulturprojekte Berlin WHITEvoid / Christopher Bauder, Photo@ Daniel Büche
(www.berlin.de/2013)

From the 7th to the 9th of November 2014, Berlin will once again be (temporarily) divided from Bornholmer Strasse to Mauerpark, and the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse to the Reichstag, past the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie to the East Side Gallery. 8,000 luminous, white balloons will mark the former course of the Wall. For more info about this: go here.

The highlight of the 25th year anniversary is a spectacular community event that will send all the balloons soaring into the sky. At the Brandenburg Gate, the Staatskapelle Berlin will play a live broadcast of the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with “Ode an die Freude” under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. For more info about this: go here.

Visualization of the LICHTGRENZE at Brandenburg Gate  © Kulturprojekte Berlin_WHITEvoid / Christopher Bauder. Photo@ Daniel Büche (www.berlin.de/2013).
Visualization of the LICHTGRENZE at Brandenburg Gate
© Kulturprojekte Berlin_WHITEvoid / Christopher Bauder. Photo@ Daniel Büche
(www.berlin.de/2013).

WHAT IF THE BERLIN WALL ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

As if!!

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards, 2014.
Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards, 2014.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the currywurst and bratwurst that I’m sure to be happily scoffing in the next few weeks, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so I will be returning to our adventures in Indonesia, and Qatar, in November.

As I told you last week, my huge surprise for you is that next week, I will be going to France! I can’t believe it. On my first (1st) ever press trip! My next post will be about Northern France. Yipee!

In October, I will be writing about the British National Theatre LIVE production. The next production coming up at Cinestar Berlin – Original is:

Skylight on: 30.10.14.

Frankenstein – Original Cast on: 13.11.14.

Frankenstein – Reversed Cast on: 27.11.14.

I’ll be participating in An Eat-the-world food Kreuzberg walking tour on 18.10.14. ‘So exciting. Yum!

DANIEL SLOSS – Live! with very special guest Jack Woodhead – is going to take place on 21.10.14 at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.

In October & November, Berlin will be celebrating and marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Following a smash-hit tour of the UK and Ireland, LET IT BE will descend on Berlin with a six (6) day exclusive showing of a celebration of The Beatles from 11.11.14 – 16.11.14 at the Admirals Palast.

October is going to be amazing.

Watch this space!
19-year-old guard Conrad Schumann on August 15, 1961 jumping over the barbed wire in his uniform while toting his machine gun. Photo@ artwork images - Klaus Lehnartz.
19-year-old guard Conrad Schumann on August 15, 1961 jumping over the barbed wire in his uniform while toting his machine gun.
Photo@ artwork images – Klaus Lehnartz.

Have you been to Berlin? Where were you in 1989?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post.

Share it! Tweet it! Like it!