Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

City Rises from the Ashes; Looking for Perfect City Break, LEE RYDER Discovers Dresden Offers an Ideal Escape

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

City Rises from the Ashes; Looking for Perfect City Break, LEE RYDER Discovers Dresden Offers an Ideal Escape

Article excerpt

GIVEN the opportunity to visit Dresden, I admit my first instinct was 'would it be as good as Berlin?' By the time I'd spent four days there I wondered why it had taken me so long to go.

Dresden is more accessible than you might think from Newcastle.

A two-hour flight gets you to Prague with regular trains to Dresden taking in the countryside and the stunning backdrop between the Czech and eastern German borders.

The flight packages and very reasonable train prices in eastern Europe make the trip affordable a especially if you book in advance with Sitting on a train and taking in the scenery as it rattles through the countryside was a wonderful prelude to the sights of Dresden.

While taking in Dresden's splendour it is perhaps easy to forget the city's turbulent history which, of course, includes being virtually flattened in one of World War Two's most controversial attacks.

The city burned for days and thousands of civilians were killed.

A trip on the city's tourist bus the "Stadrundfahrt" is a real eye opener as it gives you the full flavour of seeing how the city has been regenerated since 1945 but also a chance to look at some of nooks and crannies that show what Dresden was like before the war.

One of the most poignant monuments is the Trmmerfrau statue which translated means "rubble woman". The statue of a woman holding a pick hammer marks a major turning point in the city's history and recovery. Dresden's Frauenkirch, the church of our lady, is another example of the gritty determination of its citizens.

It lay in ruins for 45 years during communist rule but when Germany was unified and the Berlin Wall came down, it was the start of a series of facelifts for Dresden.

It was reconstructed after being destroyed in World War II and was completed in 2004.

Today seven million tourists have poured through its doors to witness its resurrection.

Like the Frauenkirch, the Semperoper - Dresden's opera house - has a history of recovery. Built in 1841 it suffered fire damage in 1869 and took nine years to rebuild.

A long history of premieres since have included works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.

Each year on February 13 - the date the bombing began - tens of thousands congregate to commemorate the event.

But Dresden is a real example of a city that offers both old and new. Lying on both banks of the Elbe, a range of bars tempt the weary pedestrian.

But the best way to take in the sights is via the 22 stops of the Stadtrundfahrt.

The city centre offers all of the major high-street brands while for sports fans the chance to see Dynamo Dresden in Germany's second tier is also on offer, with tickets easy to score.

Dresden is a place to relax and enjoy.

The first thing I was told about it was to take in the choice of wines. …

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