Arrived in Germany yesterday and it is very different to previous trips to the Berlin area, very flat and rural . The accommodation is also very different, small rooms with ensuite! Very posh. Food is a bit better as well, though I have only experienced one dinner and one breakfast so far.
Anyway, today we had a very early start to go into Dresden which was a bit of a schlep on the trains (over two hours!) but it was worth it. We had as our guides a couple of guys from the youth organisation with whom we are working and they were very good at getting us around and showing us the various sights etc.
We started off by visiting the HQ of the organisation and meeting with the director and other staff who told us something about the history and ethos of the organisation and their desire to welcome more international visitors from the UK in future – so maybe we’ll be back in the summer???!! Which would be nice as the weather has been pretty bad today. Still we got a nice lunch then it was off round Dresden.
First stop was a museum of cameras, optics and animation. Some of the earliest lenses and camera were made in Dresden and the exhibition featured a whole section on various animation techniques – very useful stuff for the would-be animator! Also a good opportunity for me to bore everyone with my extensive knowledge of carbon-arc projectors – did I ever tell you I used to manage a cinema? Hey, wake up Doug!
Dresden was a ancient medieval city but was bombed heavily during the war and much of the old city was destroyed by fire. During the GDR era most of this destruction was just left or replaced by utilitarian socialist style buildings. Since re-unification though there has been an attempt to rebuild the centre of the city in the medieval style. The remaining parts of the central Protestant church had been rebuilt and we were able to see inside this and then go up to the top of the main tower (lift part of the way – phew!) for a view of Dresden and the surrounding area – an interesting mix of old, new and new old! Our hosts were a bit sceptical about rebuilding the city exactly as it had been as it seemed like a kind of Disneyland copy and they would have preferred something more representative of the current generation. All the same it is an interesting and pleasant city despite the cold and rain.
After another nice meal – pizza or pasta depending on your preference – it was then time for the long trek back to base, changing trains at what appeared to be a train station straight out of Scooby-Doo, dark, deserted, creepy old men and a group of pesky kids! But the day wasn’t over, there was one more very special event to celebrate as it was someone’s special day!! I can’t say exactly how old he was, no-one is really sure, but it was Mr D’s birthday and a special homebaked cake was awaiting our return (€5 special offer at Aldi). Sometime later we all shuffled off to bed (separate rooms obviously), while Doug rocked gently in his chair by the fire, slippers on puffing contentedly on his pipe at the end of a perfect birthday.