BERLIN, GERMANY
(Including Dresden)





(Map of Germany)

WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2011:

It was a 95 mile drive to Dresden from Prague.


All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

Dresden, the capital of Saxony, is situated halfway between Prague and Berlin.
We arrived in Dresden in late morning, an intriguing stop rich with history.
Sadly, Dresden is best known today for its destruction in World War II.
American and British pilots firebombed the city, killing more than
50,000 people and destroying 85 percent of the historical center.
We had around an hour to explore the city's beautiful old town on our own before lunch.
I walked along the Elbe River and Brühl's Terrace which is often called the Balcony of Europe.
Dresden, Germany on the Elbe River Finance Ministry on the Elbe River in Dresden, Germany Hofkirche & Catle Square

Dresden's Theaterplatz is a beautiful square framed by some of the city's most important
landmarks such as the Zwinger Palace, the Hofkirche and the Semper Opera House.
Semperoper (Saxon State Opera) Zwinger Palace/Semper Gallery & Statue of King John Semperoper (Saxon State Opera)

The Zwinger Palace (Der Dresdner Zwinger) was built in Baroque style and served as the orangery,
exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court. Today it is a museum complex.
Zwinger Palace Courtyard Theaterplatz Furstenzug

Augustus ordered up the Lutheran Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in an attempt
to match the mighty Catholic domes of Venice and London. Completed in 1743,
this was Germany's biggest Protestant church (310 feet high).
We had lunch at the restaurant beside the Frauenkirche before driving to Berlin.
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

The video below is 15 minutes long and covers my short stay in Dresden.

It was a 120 mile drive to Berlin after lunch.


We arrived at our hotel in Berlin around 3:30.
The video below is 3 minutes long and covers my accommodations in Berlin.

At 5:15 we had a very interesting tour with an outstanding local guide, Burkhardt.
From the bus we passed by an aircraft used in the Berlin Airlift.
Our first stop was at The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial.
The site is covered with 2711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.
Next we visited the Memorial to the German Resistance.
It was here that Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and other members of the
failed plot that attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler were executed on July 20, 1944.
In the central courtyard stands a statue of a naked man marking the place where the conspirators were executed.
Aircraft used in the Berlin Airlift The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe The Memorial to the German Resistance

Our last stop was at one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall still standing.
The 103 mile long, 12 foot high wall encircled the former West Berlin from 1961 to 1989.
The Berlin Wall Me at the Berlin Wall Our guide, Burkhardt, at the Berlin Wall


MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON JULY 27, 2011
We left Prague this morning and continued our journey north. About two hours north of Prague we stopped in Dresden, Germany. Dresden was in East Germany prior to the reunification.

Hofkirche & Catle Square

This city was almost completely destroyed during the bombings of World War II.

Zwinger Palace/Semper Gallery & Statue of King John

Even though the buildings look quite old. They were all reconstructed after 1945.

Semperoper (Saxon State Opera)

I think the building above is the opera house. We didn't have a guide in Dresden. We were given 90 minutes of free time to walk around prior to lunch.

Dresden, Germany on the Elbe River

After our German lunch at a local restaurant we continued on to Berlin where we will be for the final two nights before boarding the ship on Friday. We got to our very modern hotel, the Concorde, at 3:30. This evening we took a very interesting tour with an outstanding local guide. We drove past this DC-3 used in the Berlin air lift.

Aircraft used in the Berlin Airlift

We visited the Holocaust Memorial which consists of some 700+ concrete blocks of various sizes.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

We visited a memorial to the resistance against Hitler. Below is the where those involved were shot by firing squad. If you saw the movie Valkerie (spelling?) this is where the final scene really took place.

The Memorial to the German Resistance

Next we visited one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall. There were really two walls separed by the death strip where you were shot if making it past the first wall.

The Berlin Wall

We had an excellent guide. It was very interesting listening to his own personal experiences. Below is some ugly guy standing in front of the wall.

Me at the Berlin Wall

We have another tour of Berlin tomorrow morning and then we'll have the rest of the day to explore on our own.

Tim





THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2011:

It was a pretty dismal day on Thursday. We had a morning tour of the city.
Our first stop was a Checkpoint Charlie. This was the name given by the Western Allies
to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.
Our next stop was at the Brandenburg Gate.
This former city gate is one of the most well-known landmarks of Berlin and Germany.
Our last stop was at Charlottenburg Palace. This is the largest palace in Berlin and
the only royal residency in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family.
Checkpoint Charlie Brandenburg Gate Charlottenburg Palace

After our morning tour of the city I had my afternnon free.
Since it was still raining I decided to spend the afternoon in the shopping area around my hotel.
The Concorde Hotel is located just off Kurfürstendamm, known locally as the Ku'damm,
it is one of the most famous avenues in Berlin and Europe's largest shopping area.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is also located on the Ku'damm.
The Ka De We is the largest department store in Europe.
Hotel Concorde New belfry of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Ka De We, Europe's largest department store

This was the last night of the eight day land tour prior to the cruise.
We had our farewell dinner at a barbecue restaurant in Berlin.
The owner of the restaurant liked to pull gags on his patrons,
like pretending to spill hot soup on them.

The video below is 24 minutes long and covers my 2-day stay in Berlin.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON JULY 28, 2011
Kind of a short report today. After three days of nice weather it rained all day again today. This morning we had a morning tour of Berlin. Our first stop was at Checkpoint Charlie.

Checkpoint Charlie

Below is the famous Brandenburg Gate. It is the only gate still standing in Berlin.

Brandenburg Gate

And the most famous site of all is below. The hotel window that Michael Jackson dangled his baby from.

Berlin hotel that Michael Jackson dangled his baby out of

After the morning tour I walked around the neighborhood where our hotel is located. This is the busiest shopping district on the continent of Europe. I walked through Europe's largest department store, the Ka De We. The grocery store on the sixth floor is amazing.

Ka De We, Europe's largest department store

I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel. This evening is the farewell dinner for this 8-day pre-cruise tour. Below is a picture of my hotel.

Hotel Concorde

My next email will be from the ship.

Tim

The video below is 32 minutes long of my brothers visit to Berlin in 2015.


Click on the arrow above to continue to the next adventure, Emerald Princess!

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