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River Elbe at Dresden, Germany 


The steamer company's base is the city of Dresden, famed for its magnificent architecture but latterly more notorious for the almost total obliteration of the city centre by Allied bombing raids near the end of World War II. Many questioned why this beautiful city was targeted when it was so far away from the western front and with Germany increasingly likely to lose the war. The city was rebuilt mainly in "socialist" style after the war, consistent with the city's place in the German Democratic Republic, but the historic centre was slowly rebuilt as funds allowed to replicate much of what was lost. The renaissance of Dresden after many years of rebuilding was epitomised by the very rapid reconstruction of the iconic Marienkirche, seen overlooking the Terrassenufer quayside, left soon after completion in 2004, once Germany had been reunified in 1991.
The "Blaues Wunder" or Blue Wonder Bridge at Loschwitz, now a suburb of Dresden,is a remarkable survivor of the early years of steel bridge-building, and is the destination for short cruises from the city centre. Slightly longer cruises take tourists to Pillnitz Castle
Paddlers cross paths off Prossen. With so many paddlers in service it is possible to get good photographs of two steamers sailing in close proximity both from aboard ship or from the riverbank.
The village of Kurort Rathen sits amidst some spectacular scenery. Some passengers have just disembarked. Others await a paddler going upstream, and one can just be seen in the far distance.
Another view of Kurort Rathen. pretty villages and small towns line the riverbanks to complement the fine scenery.
Bad Schandau railway station is on the opposite bank to the pretty little town of Bad Schandau. Although there is a bridge, it is a very long walk for foot passengers, so there is a passenger ferry which shuttles across and calls at the blue landing stage.


The paddle steamers no longer routinely run south of Bad Schandau through so-called "Saxon Switzerland" and across the border into "Bohemian Switzerland" as an economy measure. Only one service latterly went to the Czech town of Decin, but this day trip took passengers through the most spectacular part of the river. Special charters are organised to visit Decin and, on occasion, Litomerice. Independent boat owners do continue to serve Saxon Switzerland.

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Elbe - Dresden