Time to tick another country off the list. I've officially been to Germany!
Maybe it was the lack of TEFL or the beautiful weather or a couple special people but Dresden couldn't have been any better. Only a two-hour bus trip from Prague, Dresden is directly north of the city and lay only about 30 minutes inside the German border. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect other than another European city situated by a river. I had known that Dresden was bombed to pieces in '45 but learned much more about that during the 48 hours there.
We started out our German experience with a serious language issue with a taxi driver outside the bus station. He was trying to charge us 115 euros to go 15 minutes which was clearly a mistake or maybe he was just really bad at ripping people off. Thank God for information desks, as a nice gentleman helped us navigate the tram system and we got to our hostel for only 2.20.
Dresden has an open air theater right on the river during the summer. The stage overlooks the river and the main part of Old Town. Luckily it was going on while we were there, however it was a ticketed concert so we enjoyed the sounds without the view.
Also, let's comment on these open container laws here in Europe. They're ahhhhmazing. Yes, I'd like to walk around drinking my beer before I check into my hostel. Yes, I think I'll drink a beer on my way home from work on the metro.
Back to it, we spent Friday night dancing our butts off at this club called Downtown, little did we know it, we'd end up there again the next night.
Saturday brought on thoughts of the drunken 2am kebab the night before. But also, "what should we see today?" Anna had dreams about the famous painting by Raffael that's housed in the Zwinger in the heart of Dresden so we hit that up first. Let's be clear, before Anna informed us otherwise, I thought the painting only consisted of the two star-gazed cherubs you see on postcards and in old ladies' homes across the U.S. NOPE. The two famous cherubs are only a small part of a much larger painting of The Madonna. The idea that someone, somewhere, decided to take a small portion of the work and mass produce it is a bit weird to me. Who decided that only that part was important? (I'll be doing some research and getting back to you on that one.) But seeing the painting in real life was amazing still.
After a classic German lunch of beer and sausage, we hit up a walking tour around Old Town. Although we were tired from a long day of walking, this was more than worth it. Basically what I learned is much of what we see today of Old Town is a reconstruction from after the bombing in '45. It looks similar to what it did back then and what materials could be salvaged and reused were. The guide had photos of what the city looked like in the years after. I hadn't known this but also the famous Slaughterhouse Five from the so-named famous novel by Kurt Vonnegut is in Dresden and can be seen from part of the river overlook in Old Town.
The rest of the day consisted of what else but beer (mass beers, I might add) and sausage. When in Germany, right? And more dancing at Downtown. And, yes, more drunken Kebab at 2am.
Successful first trip to one of the two lands of my ancestors. Can't wait to head back to Dresden but first, the real German experience celebrating turning another year older at the biggest drinking festival that ever existed - Oktoberfest.
Get your dirndls and lederhosen ready, kids.