Interior of the Dresdner Zwinger

We visited the Aha cafe, choosing the vegan breakfast for two, an ample variety of bread and rolls with vegan cheese, marinated vegetables and varied savoury and sweet spreads. After that, we only needed fruit at lunchtime.

Our first call was the massive Zwinger complex, mostly destroyed by the carpet bombing of 13–15 February 1945. Reconstruction, supported by the Soviet military administration, began in 1945. Parts of the restored complex were opened to the public in 1951 but work is still ongoing. Work in the central area was suspended when archaeologists found Roman artefacts.

We also visited the ornate Frauenkirche, also destroyed by the allied firebombing of WW2 but reconstructed between 1994 and 2005. The reconstructed buildings are a patchwork of recovered smoke damaged original stones and newly fabricated blocks.

In the evening we crossed the bridge into the neustadt and walked along a wide boulevard lined with shops and apartments to a road junction, after which the character changed from the classical and corporate mix to bohemian. Lots of graffiti, both artistic and the usual ugly sprawls, and bikes the dominant transport. Lots of bars with predominantly young people socialising over a beer. Our destination was Scheunecafe where we ate well. The owner told us it originated in the nearby Scheune building which was a local centre for the arts. A group of young Indians had suggested opening a cafe which became the first Indian restaurant in the city but eventually was one of many. To maintain their originality they transformed it into a vegetarian restaurant. It moved out when the Scheune had to be rebuilt and is now in a separate building.