Dresden
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Dresden Christmas Market
Every other year my wife and I travel to Europe for Christmas Markets. Why? To begin with, most of these markets are traditions stretching back hundreds of years, so each market takes on it's own distinct personality. This trip we visited Erfurt and Dresden, Germany, Prague, and Budapest. We always take the train since this removes weather as a factor in getting from city to city. Dresden actually has 4 different markets of different sizes and themes. We were fortunate to be here on the first Saturday in Advent (Dec 3), when Dresden holds it's Stollenfest. Stollen is a holiday bread made famous in Dresden. On this day they bake a gigantic 8'x 12' loaf and parade it through the city to the main Christmas market at Neumarkt. Quite a sight, and very entertaining. Dresden, itself, is a miraculous place. A pristine Renaisance city flattened by bombs in 1945, it has been restored almost completely. The centerpiece of all this is the Lutheran Frauenkirche (in the photo). The rubble from the bombing laid in a pile for 40 years. But, using the original stone, and newer replacement pieces, it stands again in all it's glory. If you've never thought about visiting Dresden, add it to your list. It has a skyline filled with spires, domes, imposing churches/cathedrals, and a unique castle. Layer on this the beautiful Elbe River dividing the Alstadt and Neustadt, and you have a lovely and memorable place to visit.
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