June 1945 in Dresden

"In the evening we stop outside Dresden, and have to get out. We march for over an hour in the direction of Dresden city centre. We can take a tram for the last bit. And now we are in the middle of an utterly destroyed city. What now, where to? We search for an acquaintance of the Berlin woman. All gone. Aunt Anna’s relatives - - all gone. "

13th July - Decin, Dresden

The hotel feels cold. We leave early and quickly. I begin to feel some loose connection to the train station, enjoy mapping out the spaces here with a pencil.
"We stand in the middle of the street. And here an old dear sees us and takes us with her. She lives in a half-destroyed rear house, in one room. There are bed bugs! And yet, I am so happy to have a roof over our heads. It turns out far nicer than we expected. The neighbour has more room, and she takes me with the two children."
"The children get a bath, their nappies are washed, and then I’m allowed to sleep in a bed with them. I donate coffee beans, that I thankfully still have from Bockls."
Of course she did not walk here – she took the train. But these were the landscapes she moved through, and the bodily actions through space make me drink in the place, the landscape, the sense of place in different ways than just thought would allow for.

We find our hotel, and slowly begin the sense of hand-over, of goodbye, of moving from one companion to the next. Later, Steph joins. Joyful meandering through the city.

We all contemplate the sense of history in this city. Considering where it was bombed. What was left. Where the gaps are. What has filled them.
A beautiful, beautiful bus ride along the river, out of the town.

We arrive, and our walk takes us very quickly onto the river path. Only 10k today. But the most beautiful walk yet.
The evening brings a soothing sense of calm. And also heat slowly fading – a welcome change from the hot afternoon!

We think a lot about my grandmother, the three of us. How she would have felt, arriving here. A new friend in tow, an ally to protect her on her journey. But also the scenes she would have witnessed, the destruction.
We think we can feel this history in the new town - the empty spaces, feel dead. Emotionless. Blank erased space. Null. This is the part of the city that was bombed into ash.
The riverbank speckled with industry and castle-like buildings.
We arrive in Decin, and enjoy some time in the sun with food, before the train moves us on to the next stop – Dresden.
Dresden Train Station