Showing Dresden Off to Others – Part I

Eight days there, but 10 would have been more reasonable than six.

I really think that, of all people, I’d be the one who would be willing to say that the place I went on my mission was terrible, ugly, and not worth visiting if, in fact, it was terrible, ugly, and not worth visiting. Ergo, I feel somewhat secure that it’s not just confirmation bias when I assert that Dresden is one of the coolest city’s that exists. I am so glad that, as yet, still next to no one who lives more than 100 miles away from it has any awareness of this. I love that it’s a real city, has interesting history, great architecture, and excellent museums, and also that it so quickly fades into the sort of bucolic, arcadian soft-beauty within 10 minutes of leaving downtown. It’s crazy relaxing for a big(-ish) city in a foreign country.

Sort of talked my brother and his wife into meeting me in Germany so I could take them on one of my OCD-planned tours of the place. I did pretty much nothing that I hadn’t done before, but it is the coolest town for just hanging out and getting the sense of what a lifestyle is like that’s not yours but that you’d probably be pretty okay with.

I dunno. I should one day probably write up a series of pages about what to do in Dresden. Meanwhile, here’s what I/we did, all compacted into one page two pages.

Day 1: Arrived in Dresden

Took the train from Bern with transfers in… a lot of places. I’m pretty sure Basel, probably Mannheim, definitely Frankfurt, and then another in Leipzig. The train station bratwurst in Leipzig was outstanding btw. The total trip took about eight hours. I should have taken pictures of the train stations I hadn’t been to before, but most of the Verbindungen were pretty tight, plus I never think to take photos of the every-day-type stuff that would actually add real richness and reality to my dopey travel blog.

Maybe next trip.

The perimeter of the Neustadt Bahnhof is pretty different than it used to be — it has stores, for instance — but was glad to see this old yellow sign still hanging on. And then the first time this trip crossing the Elbe:

Stayed in a hotel that first night that was located in the same building as that McDonalds that I got kicked out of with Seth and Shane that one time for snapping straws. Hotel was Best Western-branded, but really nice, really central, and for some reason really cheap for that one night. Window looked out on a nice little Hof and the Kreuzkirche.

Day 2: Killing Time until Garry & Judie Arrived

I killed a lot of it just by walking incessantly. I also went and found the Dresden Panometer, which I ended up going back to the next day with Garry and Judie BECAUSE IT WAS SO AMAZING. Well, or because it gives what I thought was a really good introduction to the city.

I hadn’t been to it before. It’s just a 360-degree painting of the city housed within basically a very old, large water cistern. They play around with the lights to pretend that there’s a night and day inside. It sounds hokey, but it was pretty effective. The painting aims to depict Dresden in… some year. Late 18th or early 19th century, pretty sure.

I think there’s a “thunderstorm” that happens also. Seriously, though, it’s all way better than it sounds.

Some time later that day I also took a picture of a Strassenbahn for some reason. Probably an attempt to capture a day-to-day moment and thus enrich my blog.

Probably also to emphasize that I didn’t rent a car there this time, except for three days around the weekend to facilitate getting out to Oybin and going to church on Sunday in Mittweida — poor train connections for both destinations. Just got a Wochenkarte and otherwise took trains everywhere. Was fantastic. And the driving in Europe, once you get off the Autobahn and rural highways, is never great.

Later, I went to the airport and hung out for dang ever as their flight was a little delayed, then they got trapped in the baggage waiting area because the baggage handlers wouldn’t handle baggage during a lightning storm.

Finished off the day by going to dinner with Garry and Judie. There’s a great sense of superiority one feels when one has been in Europe for four days already and meets someone newly arrived who didn’t sleep at all on the plane ride over and, thus, has been up for like 30 hours straight. Eh, Garry follows the blog — I guess I’ll hold off on posting the picture that goes along with that sentiment.

Day 3: The Innenstadt

Well, also the Panometer again, but we can kind of just skip over that the second time around. Although while there I did learn what a flea trap was. Back between the time when they stopped taking baths because they were unhealthy and the time when they started taking baths again because they were healthy, apparently people would walk around with flea traps around their necks. They were small boxes with flea attractants in them that would encourage the fleas to crawl off the person and into the trap. Saw some pretty ornate ones.

I guess when everyone else has fleas it’s not such a big deal when you also have fleas.

Here’s the Frauenkirche (from the inside):

Wir sind zurück!! Anyway, Judie found it too gaudy, but I thought I’d have no problem worshipping in it if it ever came down to it. Also went to the Zwinger and toured the Physics Salon with all the official state time pieces. On our way out of there, I took this photo that I was proud of.

But mostly because of my infatuation with four-cyllinder French hauler vehicles. I’m guessing French — that looks like a Renault, right? I dunno. It could be a Citroën or Fiat or even Skoda.

Day 4: Bastei

Next day, we headed south toward the Sächsische Schweiz near the Czech border. Just took the S-Bahn out of Neustadt, super easy. Got off in… Wehlen? Rathen? Whichever one we got off in, we got back on in the other one. So then took the ferry across the Elbe to the actual town, then commenced hiking what ended up being a pretty easy trail on a very nice.

The photo’s of the river part, heading down to the ferry. It’s not the trail. The trail was more legit than that. Plus, it led us to the Bastei Bridge. It was pretty crowded there and seemingly every German school was on some sort of field trip week that week or something. OTOH, we were the only ones who seemed to have taken the trail there so, again, a great opportunity for feeling superior.

Later, we took the train back to Dresden, but not before my brother got scolded by a guy at a snack bar for not having exact change. Some East German habits die hard.

Anyway, back in Dresden we went out to the Großer Garten. I love that part of Dresden — it’s somewhere where you look around and everyone there is a local just kind of relaxing and hanging out and enjoying some really beautiful surroundings as if that’s something they just do every day.

Not sure I’ve ever been on a trip where I took so many photos of other people taking photos. It was sort of on purpose, but also sort of what was available, and so I just embraced it. Pictured above: tourists.

I guess we’ll let this spill over onto a second page. Here’s hoping it happens within the next six months!






  • Shalini Chander

    I think you forgot about your original Part 1 of this trip, when you showed us Dresden in 2002. 🙂