By Don Heimburger • Photographs courtesy Don Heimburger
Calmly cruising down the Elbe River on the breezy second deck of the 230-foot-long Leipzig steamship a few miles east of Dresden, I am reminded of what this scene may have been like in the Middle Ages. Thinking about the long history of the opulent palaces next to shore—and seeing them pass by in their splendor— will do that to you.
It’s a sunny spring day and I’m on a leisurely, four-hour journey to the grand Pillnitz Palace with a return to Dresden’s city center. I’ll stop at Pillnitz Palace and Gardens (first mentioned in 1335) for lunch and a walk through this beautiful complex which sees thousands of tourists annually, many of them via Elbe cruise ships. The elegant Leipzig (captained by long-time pilot Andreas Weber), was reconditioned in 1992-1993 and stops at a nearby pier to let passengers on and off for Pillnitz, and I head for a quick lunch before exploring.