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"There is nothing like returning to a place that has remained unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have. " -- Nelson Mandela
|Episode 36--Germany: The Dresden Room|
@ Where`s Cherie?
Aug 05 2002 - 16:40 PST
|cherie writes: November 2000|
I've never been a fan of the way we punish criminals in the USA. But, I have also never been able to conceive of a better system. Until now.The ultimate punishment...send all crooks to Munich's BMW Museum. Excruciatingly painful, it gives the word "boring" an even more boring definition. Even the most devout car enthusiast would rather jump off the Empire State Building and get their eyelid caught on a nail.
We left Munich on a road trip listening to Torsten's tales of being raised in communist East Germany. It may be appropriate to note that Torsten is a "two-towel" guy. "Two-towel" guys are difficult to find, especially in Germany where the people tend to despise the American tendency to indulge in unnecessary excess. (I'm sure if the German's had it their way, everyone would drip dry.) When I ask a German guy for a towel, I usually receive the equivalent of a wash cloth. Torsten gave me two full-sized towels, which is evidence of the 23 year-old's mature understanding of female shower needs.
We were on our way to Dresden, a city razed by air-raids in February 1945. We arrived at sunrise, with the drizzle of dawn illuminating the city's puffed up cathedrals and sullen housing blocks. The former East German communist housing was the only innuendo of the city's darker past.
Since the city is still under reconstruction, we were able to see stunning examples of German scaffolding. Wandering the streets you can eerily feel Dresden's history--the city has the bustle of a new city and the calm of an old one.
We stayed in a "theme" hostel where every room was decorated like a different country. In short, two American women were staying in the African room in a German hostel. (Bonus: Turkish kabobs for dinner and Italian ice-cream for dessert.) We're secular.
While in Dresden, I couldn't help but think of Jean (who is addicted to anything sterile and anti-bacterial.) Jean could get lost for days in Dresden's Hygiene Museum. Craving bacteria, Kristi and I decided to go to a dairy where we became quite the cheese connoisseurs. Rule of thumb: the older and stinkier the cheese, the more expensive.
Dresden (on Cherie's top 5 most beautiful cities in Europe list) is blooming with palaces and gardens overlooking the Elbe river where paddle-wheel boats and steam ships meander the waterway like lost children.
Just outside the city is Saxon Switzerland where a 915 foot stone bridge looks like it grew out of the rocky outcrops. It overlooks the story book town of Rathen which is laced with streams, flowers and red-roofed A-frame cottages. Rathen made me want to twirl around and sing songs from "The Sound of Music."
It is also nice to know that everyone in Europe is a big supporter of the travels of Kristi and I. Everyone seems to be wearing CK shirts. I am sure CK stands for Cherie and Kristi, and to be honest, we are flattered.
Driving through the Bavarian Alps I learned something...just because every few miles there is an "Ausfahrt" sign doesn't mean that German is advertising its flatulence. "Ausfahrt" means "exit."
Neuschwanstein is the castle of all castles and was our next stop on the search for Never Never land. If you want to see the castle, but you can't get to Germany, go to Disneyland. Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle.
Ludwig II (he commissioned the castle) was a nutcase, but his parents should have expected it after they named him Ludwig. If you have a family member with an atrocious name (example: Ludwig?) don't name your kid after him--especially if he is destined to be King. (Ironically, Disney must have chosen Ludwig II's castle because of the similarities between Ludwig II and Tinkerbell; they were both fairies.) Not that there is anything wrong with that (Seinfeld.)
You have to admire the eccentric romantic for dreaming up the incredible fantasy of Neuschwanstein and then actually having it built. The hillside is nothing less than magical. The greens are a shade greener, and the blues are a shade bluer. Add a unicorn and a rainbow and the fairy-tale would be complete. It is places like this that I feel like I am living a dream.
Next stop: Snowboarding on a glacier in Austria.
(If you are not getting the pictures that come with these journals, write me a note, and I will put you on the picture list. If you don't want the pictures (or journals), let me know and I will take you off the list.)
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