If a question came up in a game of trivial pursuit about Dresden prior to this trip, I would of been able to answer 2.
1. It is in Germany
2. It was heavily bombed in the Second World War (Probably known from a war film)
I had no intention of staying. Many of the former East German towns I have passed through have been unfortunately unremarkable and more unfortunately in need of some basic repairs. I had no reason to think otherwise of Dresden and my expectation was poorly constructed and typically eastern style apartment blocks, broken windows and graffiti.
Being pleasantly surprised is a great feeling and today wandering through the streets of Dresden I would of been mistaken for thinking I was walking through a romantic Italian town like Florence. I am no architect or really have much interest for large highly ornate buildings but Dresden really does have them all and not only that but the charm, richness of culture and sophistication that you might expect from such a place.
I can now double what I know about Dresden.
3. It was actually a UNESCO heritage site until 2009 when it became the second place ever to lose its status because a highway bridge was built 2km from its centre.
4. It is known as Florence on the Elbe
Experiencing Dresden for just a short amount of time has reminded me of the benefits of travelling by bicycle. I doubt if I would ever have organised a specific visit here. I don’t really have any natural attraction to the place or its historical blurb of
“stunning Baroque architecture, like the famous Frauenkirche and the Semper Opera House or glamorous buildings like the Royal Palace and the Zwinger Palace, dating back to the wealthy Wettiner dynasty and Saxon King” (Extract lifted randomly from a page of a lot of personally meaningless letters)
It will, however, be a place that despite my limited knowledge I will be able to talk of warmly and express the enjoyment I had wandering the city.