We made the short hop up the Elbe River to Dresden this morning. We had a bit of an adventure checking out of our stellplatz in Meissen. As I said when we checked in it is quirky. The first thing is they hand you a key and insist you lock the gate every time you enter or exit. Each day there were 10 to 15 campers there and we each had a key to the gate and everyone did their duty to insure each others security. To get the key you have to leave a €20 deposit at the municipal swimming pool which looms over the aire. There is a nice clean bathroom on site but again the instructions are clear, lock the door every time you use it. One morning I was in doing my thing when one of the maintenance guys came by and locked the door while I was in there, fortunately I had my key. The parking is a free for all and there is only two electrical posts so everyone is running a 100 foot electrical cord from their vans to the power post. This became a problem when the maintenance crew showed up to mow the grass, but we all pitched in and shifted cords around to clear paths for the mowers. Finally, in the middle of the aire is an immense abandoned pool from the communist era that has trees and bushes growing from it, everyone seemed to need to hop the fence to get a closer look at it like an archeologist. All of the eccentricities made it kind of charming and a memorable place to stay. So as we were leaving I needed to return my key and retrieve my €20, when I walked in there were 50 people in line to check in for the pool, with 2 people at the desk to handle them all, so half an hour later I got rid of the key and we were on our way to Dresden.
The air in Dresden lacks the quirks of Meissen and is quite packed, (apparently due to an American Football game that is being played tomorrow between two German professional teams) but it is an easy walk to the center of town. After settling in we headed to town. As we neared the city center we discovered that today was gay pride festival weekend in Dresden (actually it is a 4 day event)and we had found the staging ground for the parade. We hung around to see the beginning of the parade and it was quite entertaining. Dresden has a large and proud gay community.
Next we walked thru town to look at all of the sites. They are nearly all rebuilt following a controversial fire bombing of Dresden by the RAF during WWII which caused a fire storm in the city killing around 20,000 people and destroying the old town.
The buildings are impressive, particularly the old palace of the Elector of Saxony. The Cathedral was rebuilt but they had a hard time finding matching stones for the walls that collapsed so you can clearly see the old and new stones. Most of the buildings in Dresden are quite black, I am not sure this is by design, but am guessing it is a result of pollution, as a few of the buildings look like they have been recently cleaned and are not black.
We wandered around the old town for a few hours before crossing the bridge to the new town for a beer and curry wurst. After our beer as we were crossing back over the Elbe the gay pride parade came down the riverfront and since they seemed to be taking the same path we were taking to François we walked along with them for a while before stopping for one more beer as it was hot.