After our German language intensive, we had a week off. I opted for a weeklong IES-sponsored bus trip to Prague and Dresden. It was my first visit to Prague and my first time in former East Germany.
Prague was freezing but beautiful. I hustled through the main tourist sights by day and longed for a tripod by night. The city is spectacularly lit in the dark, and I found myself shooting night scenes by hand. The Jewish Museum and Cemetery was by far the most interesting thing I saw in the city, together with a tour of Terezin's small fortress
outside of town.
Dresden, a German city utterly destroyed by the Second World War, has been undergoing a dramatic reconstruction since its emergence from communist rule. The reconstruction of the iconic Frauenkirche, completed in 2005, is the most potent example. Left as a ruin throughout DDR rule, reconstruction began in 1992, seamlessly integrating standing parts of the ruin with new white limestone. It is now the center of a completely reconstructed town center. The reinvestment and recovery of Dresden is unique in the former DDR.
While in Dresden, we made visits to the Semperoper and a Volkswagen luxury automobile factory. The final days of the trip were spent in Weimar (where I took no pictures but very nearly died a violent death in a crosswalk) and the Wartburg castle.