Another planned 85-90 km day that turned into a 105+ km plus day. But no complaints here. Weather wise it was a day made for riding the Elbe with temperatures pushing just above 20 C , a moderate tail wind and stunning blue skies. We set off earlier than usual as we wanted to arrive into Dresden with plenty of time to spare in which to explore the old town and buildings by the river .
Our first stop was about 2 minutes after we started riding. The memorial, riverside, that marks where the allied forces met the Red Army back in 1945. The narrative in the stone doesn’t mince words either about who exactly overcame who.
As mentioned earlier in this trip, if you cycle in Europe April-June you’re sure to see a few Rapeseed fields. You might even be lucky enough to secure some blue sky too.
Cobblestones. The bane of any cyclists life and right up there with pot holes as a pain in the arse to deal with. Literally. The first half of today’s ride was littered with cobblestone sections. One moment you’d be flying along a smooth piece of tarmac and the next the teeth and spine would be taking a beating . We couldn’t quite figure out the reasoning for these junctures of cobblestones but came to the quick conclusion that whoever planned them clearly doesn’t ride a bike. Entering a town is another place you’ll see plenty of them. Almost a demarcation of the town lines in a sense . You’ll come off some pleasant bitumen and as you enter the town you’re hit with street loads of cobblestones. Not pleasant to ride on and doth not make for a happy cyclist either .
The double whammy. Cobblestones AND steps. At least someone in the council planning committee for the cycle path thought about how cyclists might get their bikes up and down these steps.
The good news was the restaurant was open. The bad news was that we had to get a ferry over to it. On what was the shortest ferry ride I have EVER taken we learned the ferryman spoke pretty good English , loved Brighton in the UK, wasn’t that enamoured with Sydney and it cost us €2.50 each which made it the single most expensive ferry of all we have taken. Still, a pleasant way to get to our lunch table. The total crossing time? 57 seconds.
The view from the lunch table made it all worth while.
Shortly after lunch we passed Meissen which certainly isn’t the ugliest town I’ve passed on any of the big 3 rivers cycled in the last 14 days.
Our destination for the day was Dresden and having hit the city limits around 5 pm and against a tidal wave of commuter cyclists going the other way on the cycle path we immediately made our way across town to our hotel.
This wasn’t it.
It would be fair to say that Dresden had its fair share of attention during WWII. Specifically towards the end in 1945 when it came under concerted attack from over 1,200 allied aircraft over 3 days in February of that year that effectively left the entire city in ruins and during which more than 30,000 people lost heir lives.
One of the first building targeted was the Frauenkirche. It lay in ruins until the wall came down and then between 1993 and 2005 it was meticulously restored to its former glory. As were quite a few other buildings and still are (under going renovation).
There’s a three day jazz festival ongoing. I am guessing the hot air balloons we saw over the city skyline are associated with the jazz agenda.
Dresden currently has a population of 600,000. It’s the capital city of Saxony. It was first established in or around the year 1210. It has a long history as the residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony. Today it is known for its cultural and educational presence as well as being the hub for technological industries . Hence it’s nickname “Silicon Saxony”.
The city ranks in the top 5 most visited cities in Germany with over 4.5 million overnight stays last year.
Tomorrow we press onto the Czech Republic and Prague.