Here are 5 fabulous reasons to take a Viking River Cruise! Of course, I cannot imagine a reason not to take a Viking River Cruise because there are no negatives. My travel buddy, Suzanne, of Adventures of Empty Nesters, and I loved it! [Read more…] about 5 Fabulous Reasons to Take a Viking River Cruise!
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You must add beautiful Prague to your bucket list!
It is far beyond me to write a history of Prague, but I must mention a few things about the City of a Hundred Spires. The beauty of the city is undeniable, but let me say this: I didn’t see a tenth of what I wanted to see, there just wasn’t time. And, here is a travel tip: don’t go in summer! I will go back to this city and explore, but it will not be in the summer crowds. It was so busy there were moments I felt panicky! But, Prague, don’t worry, I shall return!
One of the most popular sights in Prague is the Charles Bridge, built in the early 1400s to honor Charles IV, or Karol Quatre. On the day we visited the bridge was so crowded, that when we crossed the street to get to it I could have lifted my feet off the ground and the press of the people would have carried me through. So, I really do not have fantastic photos of the bridge, but I did photograph some of the statues of the saints.
Hopefully most of us know the story of the Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, architect of “the Final Solution” and Reichsprotektor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia which were handed to Germany as part of the Munich deal of 1938. The Czech government in exile decided to assassinate Heydrich, who was known as the “Butcher of Prague”. His iron rule and cruelty won him the additional names of “the hangman” and “the blonde beast”. He went to Prague to “strengthen policy, and carry out countermeasures against resistance”. The British and the Czech government in exile developed Operation Anthropoid, a plot to assassinate Heydrich. Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik were two of the parachutists flown in to complete the operation. They were successful in that Heydrich did die at their hands, but they were hunted and killed at the Church of St Cyril and Methodius. After that, the Germans murdered their relatives, and the families of the other parachutists. The reprisals were of unbelievable violence against civilians. There are still bullet holes in the church, showing where they were killed. If you don’t know the story, you should buy or rent ANTHROPOID, the recent movie about the event. It is an intense film, and brings Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik to life.
There is a tour in Prague about Operation Anthropoid, and I didn’t have time to take it. Next time I am in Prague, it is one of the first things I am going to do!
Take a trip to the Bastei? Where, you ask, is that? And, what is it? Well, it is an amazing sight in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, which is in Germany. Only an hour from Dresden, it is well worth a visit! One can hike, rock climb, or just take in the incredible views. My travel buddy, Suzanne Stavert of Adventures of Empty Nesters, and I saw this incredible park when we did a Viking River Cruise in July 2018! I hope you enjoy the photos!
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Dresden is truly a city reborn. It was bombed to hell at the end of World War II, but Dresden has made a huge effort to rebuild, and they have created a miraculous city since Germany’s reunification in 1990. The East German government was not very interested in restoring historical Dresden, so much needed to be done.
Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony, wanted to create a capitol that would impress foreigners as well as fellow Saxons. He spent a fortune making Dresden a center for culture and art. Porcelain became a staple of Dresden until it moved to the town of Meissen, but Meissen is still Saxony! Dresden became known as the “Florence on the Elbe” (Elbe River) and it is easy to see why, as it is known for its Baroque and Rococo grandeur. It is a magnificent city and I highly recommend visiting!
By the way, did you know that Vladimir Putin spent 5 years in Dresden as a KGB agent? It’s true, and fascinating to learn about. He was in Dresden when the wall in Berlin came down, and Germany reunified.
Here are some of my favorite Dresden sights with commentary about the city.
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A royal visit to Moritzburg in Saxony, Germany! Augustus the Strong, or Augustus II der Starke, in German, loved his hunting lodge! (Stark….hmm, wonder if that relates to the Starks of Winterfell on Game of Thrones…..)
Winter Is Coming
Frederick Augustus II was of the House of Wettin, a dynasty of German royalty and nobility, and was incredibly strong. He got his nickname by showing how he could break horseshoes with his bare hands. He was known as the “Saxon Hercules”. In addition to being Elector of Saxony, he was elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. My travel buddy, Suzanne, and I loved strolling around his hunting lodge. I was sad we were not permitted to take photographs in the lodge. I have never seen so many stag “horns” or “racks” in my life, but happily there was also art, and beautiful architecture. The setting itself was majestic.
Augustus the Strong was instrumental in the production of Meissen Porcelain, one of the finest porcelains in the world. He “rescued”, or kidnapped, depending on the version, Johann Friedrich Böttger from Frederick I of Prussia. Bottger ended up in jail as Augustus the Strong tried to force him to tell him how to manufacture gold. Bottger never manufactured gold, but he did discover the temperature at which to bake the clay to achieve the finest porcelain results. Meissen Porcelain is still manufactured in Meissen, Germany, and Viking Cruises took us on a tour of the town, and of the factory. We watched artists creating the clay pieces prior to baking.
After our lovely visit to Meissen, we went to beautiful Dresden! Stay tuned.