All I knew of Dresden was a bit of its depiction by Kurt Vonnegut in “Slaughterhouse Five”, and it had been some time since I had read it. Dresden was significant because up to 135,000 civilians were likely killed during the air raids during WWII. The Allies (Britain and USA) dropped approximately 1247 bombs on the city. Some historians argue that the Dresden bombings and killing of its civilians were revenge for the Axis bombing of Coventry, England. The city rebuilt and has since been come to be known as “Silicon Saxony” for its new age technology. Though it has been many years since the bombings, I still wondered if travelling Americans could face any resentment for the actions of the past. My qualms were ill founded, thankfully.
Dresden was a sleepy city with an Old Town and a New Town that were the primary allure for tourists. The Old Town consisted of blackened Gothic churches and the palace. One of the main squares held an “Altmarkt” or Old Market, where semi-permanent buildings and tents were set up to host local vendors, beer gardens, and serve as a meeting place for locals. It was there that we found another recipe to try later. A man was serving a panini with a feta/cream cheese spread with pickled and olive oil marinated red peppers, black and green olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. He was patient and friendly, asking us where we were from. When we answered, America, then more specifically Texas, he replied, “Wild West!” with a laughing finger gun motion. We laughed and nodded, thanking him for the food. Everyone seemed friendly and life was considerably slower moving than in Berlin.
The New Town was more modern with shops and an interesting street with modern drainpipe art to contemplate with a coffee or beer. We listened to the metallic resonance of water drops ping as they dripped and slid down the cylindrical funnels, making their way to the dirt speckled cobblestones below.
We spent the final afternoon in the park where the locals bicycled, roller skated, and picnicked. Renovations were taking place on the royal palace. A solitary swan navigated the royal pond in search of food. Dresden reminded me very much of a sleepy city. While it was a short visit, it was a good one.