Tandem tour 2013 – Dresden to Dessau

Route Dresden nach DessauWe arrived in Dresden 1530 on Sunday 18 August. We got off the train one stop short of Hauptbahnhof (Dresden Neustadt) in order to make way to a campsite situated to the North of the City marked on the Bikeline guide in Wilschdorf (and checked the night before online). It proved not to be there. We had to continue on to a site located to the south of Moritzburg (Bad Sonnenland). There we pitched, showered and ate at the onsite restaurant. Just in time (most campsite restaurants close by 2100). We also took breakfast on the site before our first real day of pedalling.

Monday 19 August was the only wet day that we had. Even then it was not too bad. We DSCF0264sheltered away from the worst of it at a café in Meissen (having decided not to go back into Dresden). The castle and cathedral (right) huddle together for safety.

We camped for the second night at a site to the north of the small town of Strehla. It is a town of one restaurant, one hotel, a zoo and a massive outdoor swimming pool which also hosts the DSCF0269campsite (left). The campsite is spacious – but the showers are not very private – there are no doors to the cubicles and one is also exposed to a seating area adjacent to the Sanitär. The restaurant was unexpectedly good, however.

A bit of overnight rain cleared and we got on our way following the Radweg to Lutherstadt Wittenberg through Belgern, Torgau, Dommitzsch (where we crossed by ferry) and Elster. Lutherstadt Wittenberg is where martin Luther had nailed his theses to the door of the church. After a very late arrival in the dark, we checked into a recommended small hotel (Am Alten Anker) and decided to have a day to explore the town and nearby Dessau, the second and final home of the Bauhaus.

Lutherstadt Wittenberg is a bit of a tourist trap and its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at nearby DessauDSCF0274 adds to this. We visited the Luther House where he lived with his wife, a notable business woman in her own right, for many years. The museum in the house is, as small provincial museums go, breathtaking. the artefacts are not many, but they are treasures. The life of the man and history that he made are documented in large panels in German and English.

The room (right) was one of my favourites – the altarpiece at the end has Luther as close to God as possible. The man had quite an ego as well as guts to go to Worms to face the wrath of the Pope.

DSCF0279On the same day we took in Dessau. We took the train (35 minutes) and headed to the Bauhaus which is close to the station. The really iconic Bauhaus buildings are located in Dessau, now part of the university in the town.

The museum – constituting only two rooms – is in the basement. One room focuses on artefacts, the other on teaching and ‘philosophy’. The Bauhaus is one of the few institutions whose history is perhaps best told through the minds behind it (easy when it was so short-lived). Figures like Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Josef and Anni Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Breuer, Marianne Brandt and Paul Klee, to name a few. There is in the second room a large biographical graphic that locates these figures in history from birth to death, from place of birth to places of career, etc. The Bauhaus was dissolved by the Nazis who regarded it as subversive and ‘un-German’. There is a chilling photograph of the Bauhaus buildings in ruins with some satisfied Nazis celebrating a job well done.

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