Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
5 days from only €599pp
Selected departures from July to October 2013
On this intriguingly varied tour, we visit two of Europe’s great cultural cities, Berlin and Dresden, both having endured violent interludes in an otherwise glittering history and now returned to their former glory at the heart of the new Europe of the 21st century. The outpouring of joy and energy that accompanied the fall of the Berlin Wall now staggeringly over twenty years ago, has rekindled Berlin’s legendary vibrancy and the city throbs with new life whilst doffing its cap respectfully to the lessons of the past. Here iconic locations abound from the spy stories of checkpoint Charlie to the magnificent avenue of Unter den Linden with its thriving cafés and magnificent museums, the great monuments of the Brandenburg Gate and the instantly recognisable Reichstag – symbol of the new Germany. Dresden is perhaps more sedate yet equally revelling in its renewed splendour, its architecture, opera and museums a cultural jewel reborn as a beacon for hope and peace. Before the last war it was Germany’s most beautiful city due to its amazing art treasures and imposing baroque buildings. After huge bomb damage, it has now been almost completely restored after one of the world’s most extensive such projects ever undertaken, spanning over 60 years, but the results are magnificent.
The Zwinger Palace, opulent residence of the Kings of Saxony, houses one of the world’s most extensive art collections; the Semper Opera House is stunning, and probably the finest of them all, the Frauenkirche, is the final major building to have been rebuilt. But our tour is much more than two cultural cities, magnificent though they are. We experience the traditional Germany of small towns and picturesque villages too, rolling countryside plus reminders of the former East Germany even the occasional ‘Trabant’ – and, as you would probably expect, these distinctive cars are rapidly becoming collector’s items! Another face of Germany is medieval Meissen where the most stunningly beautiful porcelain is crafted by highly skilled artisans in the only factory in Europe where the processes are still completed entirely by hand. Finally and in complete contrast we visit Colditz Castle, the famous Second World War Prisoner of War camp for serial would-be escapees including the legless fighter pilot Douglas Bader. This tour contains some fascinating insights to Germany, its vibrant and remarkable cities; striking countryside; and its past, present and future.