Day 30 – Dresden

We had made the decision early we would just head to Moritzberg castle then on to Prague. There was really nothing other than that in Dresden that we wanted to see.

Ros tried to put the Castle into the GPS, but it couldn’t find it, so we had to go into Dresden proper to get directions.

We were there early so getting around town was easy enough (although they were setting up for a Marathon) and by following the GPS to the tourist information centre, we found Dresden Castle by accident.

Of course, we went in for a look.

It was incredible and amazing. We spent some time walking the walls and gardens and just having a look around. We were all imagining ourselves growing up and living in this castle and hanging out in all the enclaves and gardens.

This was by far the best castle we had visited to date. We still couldn’t read any of the plaques and we didn’t really get the story of the castle or its history, but we really enjoyed the experience just the same.

After an hour or so, the info center was open, so we got directions and pushed on to Moritzburg and Mortizburg Castle – Germany’s oldest castle.

This too was impressive. On an island in the middle of a large lake, it was all freshly painted and renovated. In its day, it was mostly a hunting lodge and retreat so it had no walls or fortifications (although it was built on the middle of an island and did have four towers for protection).

We left Moritzberg, and headed on towards the Czech Republic. It was a beautiful day in Germany, with a clear blue cloudless sky. We went through a tunnel and crossed into the Czech Republic, where it immediately changed into a cold, wet miserable day. The weather change was incredible and something I’ve never seen before.

The difference between Germany and Czech was considerable. Where Germany was modern, and industrialized, and looked and felt like a developed state, the Republic was old and run down, and very much every bit the “Old Communist Russia” I grew up with.

The trains were old, the cars were old, the weather was grey, the difference between the two countries was so stark – even though we were less then 20k’s from the border.

We went to Terrizin – which was a Ghetto Town and Prisoner camp under the Nazi regime. We did a couple of laps of town, then visited the “Small Fort”.

A Fort built in the mid 1500’s which in itself was very impressive, was turned into a concentration camp by the Nazi during WWII. We did a tour and learned about its history under Nazi Germany. The Small Fort was a particularly harsh place and was considered one of the worst places to be posted.

Whilst it was not an “Extermination Camp”, the occupants (prisoners) were constantly tortured and bastardised. Most simply died of starvation, exhaustion and other disease. The guards there were particularly tough, to the point they executed 52 people 3 days after the war was done.

After the fort, we continued on to Prague. Ros had picked out a nice “Open All Year” Camp ground which when we arrived was closed. We found another and checked in. We’re the only ones in the entire park.

On the trip from Terrizin, we had had great discussion around the Nazi’s, WWII and Extermination Camps and we decided to head to Auschwitz. We check our plans, and realised we are running out of days (even for what we had originally planned, let alone adding Poland), so we cut a few locations, and added Auschwitz.

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