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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Dresden: The Allies Didn’t Flatten the Whole City After All

Dresden Buildings not bombed

When you read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse 5” you come away with the idea that Dresden was firebombed by the Allies (WWII) out of existence. A bit of retaliation for all that Hitler had done to civilians in the countries he had declared war against. Of course, killing civilians is a war crime, but since the Allies won the war, “to the winners go the spoils” as the saying goes … “and we’ll wash all OUR murdering under the rug” out of expediency to put the world back together. Of course, that only begat contemporary Western war crimes against … oh, forget the history, shan’t we?!!!

Dresden has a bit of its Old Town (Altstadt) intact, namely a few churches and state buildings along the Elbe River. This part of town is quite pretty, and has all the European flair found in the non-bombed out cities across the continent. Across the river (and basically all compass points reaching from Alstadt) you’ll find modern buildings like you see all over America: glass & concrete-fab structures that have all the appeal of chewing gum scraped from the bottom of a shoe.

Dresden goth-punk-loserWhen I traveled through Berlin, I had hoped to see those German Aryan metal-head punkers, but never came across them. I guess they’ve all moved to Dresden. Some freaky looking boys and girls who seem to base this look on a way of life, not just typical “rage against the machine” bullshit that you outgrow after nine months. Fucking losers. Good visual entertainment, though.

Dresden saurerbraten mit beerGermany being what it is, and me being a gourmand, I found a little tavern and ordered saurerbraten mit dumplings, und steamed vegetables, und unten gewaschen ihm mit zwei heffeweissen (dunkel) biers. Wundervoll! The pork tasted like it was roasted over a campfire, the dumplings were moist and tender (I’m going to look for dumpling recipes and become a dumpling cooking king!). The beer went down like water.

Then I went over to the Czech embassy and got the paperwork going for my long-term visa. Piece of cake. And SPEAKING OF CAKE (or in this case, strudel), I stopped for coffee and a sort of poppy-seed & honey strudel concoction. Yum! I’m glad I walked about five miles today. Worked off all those calories.

Dresden is also a shopping city, especially for Czechs, as it’s just across the border. There are duty free shops, giant malls (with wickedly cheep cheese and wine shops), sidewalk markets, etcetera. I picked up jeans, 2 shirts, 2 turtlenecks for $75. Also got a couple art pieces, which may turn out to be the nucleus of a collection that tracks where I’ve been/lived. Kitsche stuff but nice.

More on that Coldplay concert soon.

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