We travelled South from Binz through the former East Germany to an overnight stop near Frankfurt an der Oder. Next day,after an early start we arrived at our accommodation near Dresden during the morning with a view to visiting Colditz in the afternoon. We were staying in Radebeul on the outskirts of Dresden at the Weingut Ulf Grosse which is also a winery and restaurant.
After unloading our bags we were off to find Colditz. However, enquiries with the owner of the winery, as to the location of Schloss Colditz, only created puzzlement. Various pronunciations faired no better. Our German and her English failed miserably. Surely it was famous enough for her to know where it was. Never mind, we decided to reluctantly trust in the Sat Nav.
I have to confess that I have had a long but tempestuous relationship with the Sat Nav. We have both learnt over the years not to entirely trust each other. Consequently I affectionately call her "the bitch" and in return she stops talking to me. Usually she times the bouts of silence at critical moments,such as busy city centres with complicated one way systems. So, it was with some trepidation that the three of us, April, The Bitch and myself set off in search of Colditz. (At this point, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I am not in any way whatsoever inferring April is a bitch, I am referring to the Sat Nav).
Now, we may all think Colditz is a big tourist attraction. Some of us may have seen the film, watched the TV series or even read a book about the escapes by the Officers who were held there in the Second World War. Schloss Colditz is certainly big. It stands over the town of the same name and dominates the skyline. But as for it being a tourist attraction the Germans seem to prefer to keep it pretty low key. Not one sign to the castle entrance could we find. They seemed to be putting as much effort into keeping us out, as they did in trying to keep the prisoners in.
The Sat Nav told me to go up a very small residential street. Surely not I said, and ignored her. Twenty minutes later we were still wandering around the town. It was at this point that "the bitch"exacted her revenge for ignoring her directions. Silence broke out. The message was clear. Find your own way.
So it was, we back tracked to the residential street in the hope she would forgive me and speak again. Silence. I continued on. Into another street. This one smaller than the first. Past a row of private garages and through a startled residents garden. Finally, a clue. two British bikes and a couple of cars. A cobbled path to a large gate, a dozen sentries and the words of" Lilly Marlene" being drowned by some British Officers singing "White Cliffs of Dover" We were there. We had made it. Now to find the escape committee......
Seriously though, if you get the chance, go to Colditz. It's well worth it. (Just don't upset your bitch).
Take the two hour tour and learn about all the escape attempts and "daring do". I won't go into that here ,and spoil it for you. In any case there are some great books about the prisoners and indeed if you are a member of NAM ( you know who you are) read Michael Sutherlands great article in the club newsletter about his visit last year. It inspired our visit. Instead, here are some pictures.