See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dresden - Neustadt and Altstadt. City navigating; War Treasures Reunited.

Dresden, Germany. Baroque facade.

If you are on a motorway or secondary road and get off to visit a city, look for the signs for "Centrum," or its language equivalent. Aim and go.  Skip the maps, the streets, the landmarks. Just get in the middle of it by following the Centrum signs.

Most cities direct traffic to the old town by prominent signs, expecting the new town to be near enough not to require a poster. That works. We aim for the old town sections anywhere. Once there, find any hotel, go in and get a local placemat sized map; and perhaps even stay there. But just get in the middle of it all.

For Dresden, look back at the New York Times "Going to Dresden" in the travel section 10/24/06, at page 13. That is the kind of cartooney map that is the best help when you are starting out. There, the Elbe running through, new town on one side, old town on the other and some bridges. In 2006, the article says that Dresden turned age 800. Nearly fire-bomb flattened in just days, WWII. Think of the history we collectively trashed.

The NYT article says that 300 years ago, a great treasure, known as the Green Vault, was gathered in Dresden by Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony- a part of the Holy Roman Empire in its day - see him on his white steed at The treasure included a 41 carat green diamond and diamond-encrusted swords. All stolen after WWII, and just now put back together at the Royal Palace.