Victoria here. Before I go into raptures about my recent visit to England, I will wrap up our preceding couple of weeks on the continent.
My first awareness of the city of Dresden was by reading Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five about the firebombing of Dresden near the end of WWII. Vonnegut was an American prisoner of war and present for the bombing.
Little was left of the city after the attack. Here is a picture I found, also available in many places as a postcard, showing the ruins.
It is hard to believe today that once the city had little left intact, as it has been beautifully reconstructed mostly in the original styles. As in Berlin, the guides made sure our group of American and British tourists knew the story and that the US and UK carried out the bombing, but they always added the attacks were in retribution for the bombing of Britain by the Germans and other war atrocities.
Below are a few views of the city which I found lively and prosperous today, full of fascinating art.
from the Elbe
A bit farther down the river, we visited the Worlitz Garden near Dessau. Prince Leopold Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817) traveled through Holland and England when he was hardly more than a teen. He loved the architecture and gardens he saw and created his own Landscape Garden and mansion in the Georgian style, completed in 1783. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, a little bit of Capability Brown and his cohorts in Germany. For more information, click here.
To the delight of Ed's suffering foot, we took a boat ride around the lakes and canals, which looked like many gardens we've visited in Britain.
The guides pointed out the resemblance of the Landhaus to another famous house built about the same time in Washington, D.C., but I could find no specific information that the architects of either one consulted the other, just chose the currently fashionable neo-classic style for their buildings. The Landhaus was the work of Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff (1736-1800); the White House was built by architect Benjamin H. B. Latrobe (1764 – 1820).
The White House
A few days later, we left the River Elbe and the MV Clara Schumann and bussed to Potsdam, on the outskirts of Berlin, where we toured the Neues Palais, vast structures in acres of parks, worthy of several more days browsing.
We made a stop at the palace where the Potsdam Agreement was drawn up in 1945, making plans for the governance of Germany. To my utter surprise, it looked like a slice of Shakespeare's England.
When we arrived in Berlin, we had to say farewell to our Cruise Director Stefanie who had so capably guided us all the way from Prague. She is charming and witty and we thank her very much!
Here are a few views of our trips through Berlin...only a little truncated by Ed's malady. We did manage to see quite a lot as he soldiered on despite his pain.
Berlin is in the midst of another great boom in building....crowded with every teenager in Europe and from Japan, at least those who weren't in London!
Deutscher Dom, now a museum of German history, on the Gendarmenmarkt
By the time we flew from Berlin to Heathrow to whirl through our seven days in London, Ed's toe blisters were excruciating and even with many layers of bandages and padding, always hurting. As I e-mailed to Kristine, at least we had avoided the cholera!
Coming next: London, Cambridge, Houghton Hall, Holkham Hall, and more London