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Adventures With Robin

Your Go-To Travel Source

Welcome! This space serves as a platform for travel agent Robin Norell to share her trips, experiences and expertise with you. Exceeding your customer service expectations is Robin’s primary goal. Having worked for Disney for 2.5 years, she knows how to make your vacation magic. 

Robin has visited 25 countries (Caribbean, Europe, Asia) and 31 states, and has been on 26 river and ocean cruises (so far), visited Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris multiple times, and she is happy to share her travel experiences and knowledge with you to make your vacation the best it can be.

Robin has been awarded the distinguished certifications of CLIA’s (Cruise Lines International Association) ACC (Accredited Cruise Counselor) Certification, as well as earning her CTA (Certified Travel Associate) certification, has completed the College of Disney Knowledge, and continues to learn more about the travel industry every day.

Excelling in administration and customer service, she takes care of all the details, leaving you free to relax and enjoy!

Independent Vacation Planner

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March 27. Dresden

Wednesday March 27


Another day, another train ride, another city! After breakfast at my hotel, I took an Uber to the train station and boarded the 10:59am train to Dresden. This time I had the first class seats – it was in the same part of the train car, but it was a seat with a folding table in between me and the row I was facing. Because of confusion on my plans, I actually had two seats, which was nice because my backpack and purse sat on the seat next to me.

It was a quick 2 hour ride, and I arrived in Dresden. No Uber here, so I walked out of the train station and (after going in circles for a bit) found the taxis and rode to my hotel.

Our favorites in the Marriott family are the Autograph Collection hotels, and this one was more than I expected. The room is very spacious, with a separate room for a sink and toilet, and a sink and large whirlpool tub/shower. There is a couch and chair and desk, so very uncomfortable for my mobile office.

The bedding in Europe is different than in the US. They use duvets instead of a flat sheet and blanket or comforter on top of you. And once again I have separate duvets for each half of the bed – I prefer the nice big duvet that doesn’t slide off you in the night, but I’m sure this is easier to wash

Speaking of wash, one of my plans here was to do laundry, but there is no self-service laundry nearby and the hotel prices are high. So I washed out a few things, and decided to wait until Prague, where I’m sure it will be less expensive.

When I originally planned my time here in Dresden, it was literally to just stop – work, sleep, laundry, and just take a break from the “on the go” schedule. A couple of weeks ago, I realized I would probably regret it if I didn’t explore a little, so I found a Segway tour through one of my suppliers for Thursday afternoon. It said it was in German, and my supplier required booking for a minimum of 2 people. So I paid the $132, figuring that maybe I would get lucky and it would be a private tour and they could speak some English.

On Tuesday morning in Berlin, when we were at the restaurant for breakfast, I got a call from a number in Germany. I answered and they asked if I spoke German. I answered that I didn’t very well but I have a friend, and I handed the phone to Ines. She spoke with the Segway tour guide, who called to find out more details about my plans. By the end of the call, the guide had changed my tour to Wednesday after I arrived (the weather was going to be better than on Thursday afternoon), it would be just me and she would print out material in English that I could read when we stop, and I could just let her know when I arrived and was heading her way.

So I got to the hotel around 1:30pm, charged my phone (which hadn’t charged last night for some reason) and answered a few emails, then went to the front desk and asked them to call her and let her know I was on my way (30 minute walk). The guide and her husband were waiting for me by their van, with 3 Segways. After a quick demonstration to show them I knew what I was doing, we were on our way.

Dresden is not at all what I was expecting. I knew it was pretty much totally destroyed in World War 2 by allied bombings.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1994-041-07 / Unknown authorUnknown author / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

I really thought it would be a little charming but mostly new. Instead it is a re-created old city!

Our first stop was at the Semperoper, the Dresden Opera House. This beautiful building was originally built in 1841, and was destroyed by fire in 1869. Then during WW2, it was destroyed again, and was reconstructed and reopened exactly 40 years later. It closed again in 2002 after substantial flooding, but opened again later that year. This building is determined to survive whatever comes at it! Lars told me to stop and he took my picture in front of it.

The Semperoper is in the Platz Neumarkt (New Market Plaza). As I looked around the Platz Neumarkt, it felt like I was in a city from the 1700s. Then my guide showed me what the same area looked like as recently as 1992. In one photo of what is now (again) a square, there was a field with animals.

After WW2, the Communists who controlled this city largely tore down the remains of the buildings. But between 1994 and 2005, after the fall of the Communist and the reunification of Germany, the city underwent a major reconstruction.

My guide explained that this area that looks so old is actually the “new city.” The real “old city” is the one that was built across the river. But this is now called the old city, and across the Elbe River is the new city. You can see large buildings across the river – mostly schools and museums. There is a large grassy area in front that is a public park – that is the land that was created when the rubble from the demolished buildings was moved in to the river.

We then stopped at The Procession of Princes – this 335’ long mural was originally a painting done from 1872-1876, and in the early 1900s it was painted onto 24,000 porcelain tiles to increase its longevity. The porcelain tiles did indeed protect it – they can withstand temperatures up to 1000 degrees Celsius, so it survived the fires from the bombs. The mural depicts Saxony’s history of rulers (35), plus scientists, artisans, craftsmen and farmers.

One of the most famous buildings is the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) – it has one of the largest domes in Europe. It was built in the 1800s, but destroyed in WW2. For 50 years it lay in ruins, but it was rebuilt with around 4,000 original stones.

The Royal Palace (this was the capital of Saxony) and Museums were also rebuilt. Fortunately much of the shell survived. The museum is one of the oldest public museums in Europe, and has one of the largest collections. In 1723, the Saxony Elector Augustus decided his private collections should be open to the public, so he turned one of his private chambers into a museum.

My guide took me inside and showed me the courtyard – amazing! We didn’t go into the museum, but I’ve seen photos and the collection of things on display is incredible.

There is a “bridge” from the palace to the building across the street (now a hotel). My guide explained that this was for August to have access to his mistress, of which he had many. She told me that he had over 300 children with his mistresses. I repeated it in German to make sure I understood correctly, and she confirmed, over 300!

Then we went to the Zwinger – it was built in 1709 as a festive area, garden, and orangery. In the 19th century, turned into a museum complex. They are still working on this renovation – the entire grounds in between are still rubble but they are working on transforming into the large park it once was. My guide took me to one end, up the stairs, and then around the corner and down another set of stairs to a beautiful small courtyard with a fountain (no water currently running) and amazing statues.

Our tour time was about done, so we headed back to their van. I needed a rest room and asked where to find one, and they let me use the port-a-potty in their van. Then I walked back to my hotel.

By the way, don’t think all those facts were understood in German by me – I understood enough of her German (she spoke slower, and didn’t understand her husband’s German much at all) to get by on the tour, and then looked up a lot of facts when I wrote this.

From my window, I can see a Chinese restaurant, so I went over and asked if I could get food to go, and they said yes. I ordered and took back to my room to work.

The mixed blessing of the time difference in Europe – my mornings are nice and quiet as the US is still asleep. But my evenings are busy because it’s only afternoon in the US.


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Robin is an Independent Travel Planner who has been awarded CLIA's (Cruise Line Industry Association's) Accredited Cruise Counselor Certification and The Travel Institute's Certified Travel Associate designation. Her excellent service is yours at no cost - she's paid by the suppliers (hotel, cruise line, etc.), nor does she charge a fee for services. She may even save you money over booking it yourself, as she follows all the specials and will get you a better price after you book with her. When you are planning a family vacation or celebrating a special occasion through travel, you want the best experience possible, and Robin is ready to help you! She provides excellent customer service, and your happiness and satisfaction is her top priority. With the knowledge gained by her extensive travel experience (25 countries, 31 states, and 26 cruises so far) and customer service experience (2.5 years employed at Walt Disney World Resort), she's excited and ready to help you plan new adventures!

Location: Alexandria - VA
Phone: (567) 307-3476
Toll-Free: (866) 779-4830



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