Doing Dresden (Part one)

The first thing that has to be said about Dresden, is that this city is just ludicrously beautiful. I mean, if Dresden were a person, it would be Zoolander – it’s that really, really ridiculously good-looking. I can’t remember the last time I was this wowed by a city; I basically spent two days walking around grinning idiotically at how lovely everything was. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

20150214_155232[1]This time round, I actually made my bus on the intended day. I boarded and unfortunately sat opposite a woman with the mother of all colds, who had no qualms about blowing her nose at a window-shattering decibel level. I was rather relieved when we pulled into Dresden a couple of hours later and I got to leave Foghorn Helghorn behind.

I’d managed to find a room online for just €50 for two nights so I headed off in the direction I expected it to be in. After a couple of wrong turns and a few helpful Germans, I eventually arrived. At a yoga studio. Hmm. I called the number on the booking form and was told that yes, I was in the right place but that the owner wasn’t home right now. Why hadn’t I answered her text?

What text? I cast my mind back and remembered an odd message from the night before. “Lindau. When you will arrive my flat?” I’d just assumed that I’d given my number to some randomer in a bar and made some plan that I had no intention of keeping. For once, I hadn’t. This was of small comfort to me now though, as I had to wait for half an hour for the lady of the house to get back.

So, I did what any self-respecting German would do – grabbed a beer and drank it while I waited outside the building. A classy start to the weekend. Finally, a little slip of a woman of about 70 showed up and let me in. With a steely look in her eye, she non-jokingly told me she’d prefer it if I took my shoes off. Great, I was going to be staying with the female equivalent of Hermann for two days…

But the room was lovely, with its own balcony, and as nobody else was there that weekend, I’d have the bathroom and kitchenette to myself. There was even a comforting picture of a bear who’d ripped a young girl to pieces to help me settle in.

Not bad for €25 a night.
Not bad for €25 a night.
?
?

I freshened up a bit, and went out in search of sausage. I found it in the lovely Gänsedieb, a restaurant located right in front of Kreuzkirche, where the booming of the bells made my head throb. I opened the menu and the first thing that caught my eye was “Cup of goose fat to go” – what new sort of German madness was this? I decided against cups of fat, and went for some Merlot and a sausage – this had never let me down before, and it didn’t now.

One sausage to rule them all...
One sausage to rule them all…

After a second cheeky glass of Merlot – for the cold – I set off in search of a bar. My original plan had been to stick to the old part of the city for the first night, but it was more restaurant-y so I hopped across a bridge to the new part of town. This actually took quite a while as I kept on stopping to look back at the view.

Wow
Wow

I hit a couple of bars on Alaun Straße, but the ease with which I get talking to people in Berlin was nowhere to be found. People nodded or smiled politely, but there was no more contact than that. So, in keeping with the theme of sausage, I decided to visit the gay bar, where at least I knew the music they were playing.

I sat at the bar and almost immediately got chatting to a friendly Dresdener who asked me if I knew this was a gay bar. I glanced around at the guys gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes and the drag queens starting an impromptu karaoke session on stage, and said that yes, I had an inkling. It turned out my new buddy worked for a brewery so we had plenty to talk about. He gave me some pointers for the next night as well, and it was 7am by the time I got back to my room.

I was up at the crack of eleven, feeling a little groggy, but otherwise not too bad. I grabbed a cheese roll and a cup of tea on the way into town and then headed for the old part of the city. As it turned out, I’d unwittingly chosen the 70th anniversary of the Dresden bombings so the police were out in droves, obviously expecting trouble. Putting a slight feeling of unease to one side, I walked on – and then repeatedly stopped to pick my jaw up off the ground.

20150214_134748[1] 20150214_135156[1]It was a stunning day, and I made very slow progress as I walked around, stopping every few seconds to take yet another photo. I eventually made my way to Zwinger Palace, which instantly took my breath away. The truly incredible thing is that 70 years ago, all of this was razed to the ground – 15 square kilometres were wiped out in Allied bombing raids, the city burned for five days and between 20,000 and 25,000 people lost their lives. Zwinger Palace was among the first buildings to be reconstructed and I think the Germans did rather a fine job of it.

Of course, some people were easily distracted by other things…

Boys will be boys
Boys will be boys

I was soon, however, distracted by the most miserable-looking bride on earth. The weather was perfect, her husband looked alright, she was having her photo taken in the middle of a fairy tale – what on earth was the matter? Ah, she was Russian. Her husband should probably get used to that face.

Why so glum, chum?
Why so glum, chum?

Stay tuned for part two…

Dresden Tourism website

Advertisements

107 thoughts on “Doing Dresden (Part one)”

  1. Love it Linda! I’ve not been to Dresden for years what with the nude bathing and everything LOL. I did do my British civic duty though and donated some money to the very awesome cathedral that was utterly destroyed in WWII. You can trust that the Germans would actually spend the money on real building re-construction rather than constructing someone’s pocket LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow. My (German) hubby has ALWAYS wanted to go to Dresden and tried to sell it to me. But I’ve always been like – naaah, there’s nothing to see, nothing to do. Just another German town. It’s not even on global city map (blush). Maybe after your posts I will have a good news to him 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dresden is my favourite city on earth and now you know why! Did you get a chance to see inside the Frauenkirche? It only reopened a few years ago having been totally destroyed by Ally bombing in the war. They rebuilt it using the stone the Dresdeners were able to salvage in the aftermath. It’s pretty special! If you head back in the summer time Pillnitz Castle is pretty and I think Semper Oper is also worth a look if memory serves me correctly! Reading this post has made me pine for Germany again! Glad you are enjoying it!xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laura! I really am – Dresden was a fantastic surprise 🙂 The Frauenkirche was closed to the public on the day I was there unfortunately, but it’s certainly very impressive from the outside – they did a stunning job of rebuilding it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OK, I’m trying to figure out whether the Zoolander reference was ironic or if you really think Ben Stiller is a dreamboat when he puckers up like that 🙂 The photos of Dresden are stunning. And much of this was built since the war? I thought the area had been bombed very heavily, but the buildings look older.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, well, it’s just a line from the movie – I’m not particularly overwhelmed by Ben’s good looks! This part of the city was bombed to rubble, but they tried to rebuild all of the old buildings exactly as they were – or as close as possible anyway! It’s really amazing…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aaah, I so want to go to Dresden!!

    “People nodded or smiled politely, but there was no more contact than that” -> finally you’ve discovered what the rest of us have to put up with 😉

    Goose fat… Gänseschmalz. It is literally lard. Goose lard (well, more like dripping). Germans spread it on their bread… Jan loves it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh, no thank you! I couldn’t believe they sold cups of the stuff! I thought maybe it was a warm drink 😉
      Yeah, I reckon if I’d had a week or so there, I could have broken the Dresdeners down 😉 In a couple of months, I’d own that place 😉

      Like

        1. We do have enough impressive architectural sights here. With geese –unless you’re rich or live deeply in the country– virtually none. The more supply – the less interest.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Hey, if you would really agree to post me some goose fat, I’d actually ask you to. 🙂

              I’ve searched for it online, and while a typical jar of it costs about 2 euros, the postage, if at all available, is always like 16–18 euros (from Germany – i.e. it’s some sort of an express postage I don’t need). If you can beat this, I could compensate the costs. 🙂

              Like

                1. It looks like a normal glass jar with white thick stuff inside. Oh, and it says ‘Gänseschmalz’ on the label. 🙂

                  But sure, do ask!

                  Like

    2. They have a similar kind of lard in Vienna, but it is pork lard used as bread spread. I tasted a bit out of curiosity but could not stomach it – it was too lardy/fatty/raw tasting for me. My friends (Scottish and English) love it. I think they have lived too long in Austria 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

                1. But that’s the whole point! You put it on rye bread, and maybe crush some garlic on it and add some chopped scallions, and you’ve got yourself a nice snack!

                  Eating it without anything may be sort of fun, but it isn’t gonna last: it’s just grease. It’s the same as eating butter without anything else. 🙂

                  Like

  6. “really ridiculously good-looking” – – I admit I loved that movie! Dresden looks wonderful…your photos are beautiful (even the wedding photo, because you can’t see the Russian bride’s unhappy face)…Need to add it to my travel list…….YOU need to add northern Italy to YOUR travel list…..we could have a lot of fun together! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! Maybe next year 🙂 I think this year will be all about Germany! I want to take a few more short trips before the summer and then hopefully take a few weeks and travel around during the summer – there’s a lot of wine country out there 😉

      Like

      1. Yes….I imagine Germany must be wonderful and really fun in the summer. When it is warm, I am sure everyone is out and having fun from the second the sun rises until late evening. So enjoy, but I will look for you next year 🙂 Actually we will be in Munich for Easter…..so if you happen to get down south during that period, let me know….and if you want, you can even come to LegoLand with us…ha, ha, ha….I feel certain that is your big dream! ha, ha, ha, ha

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh Diana, you know me so well! If I *like* it even half as much as I *liked* Disneyland or Cadbury World, we’re onto a real winner there 😉 I don’t think I will be in Munich at Easter unfortunately! It’s a bit far for a weekend break and I’ve got a wedding in Ireland the weekend before which will pretty much wipe me out! But soon… 😉

          Like

            1. There’s a photo of me looking like the most miserable woman on earth 😉 I was teaching at a summer school at the time – even the kids were disappointed in it 😉 It’s somewhere near Birmingham, I think…

              Like

  7. Merlot and a sausage – sounds like a perfect evening to me! But 7 am? Sheesh! I can’t stay up past midnight anymore – must be getting old. They city does look beautiful – looking forward to Part 2.

    Like

    1. Ha, you may have spoken too soon on the stamina bit – wait for part two 🙂
      And it’s nice to go somewhere that’s worthy of a few wows! Certainly beats the crap out of any of my travels in LV 😉

      Like

    1. We have been watching “gomorra.” We had to put the Italian subtitles on because we cannot understand the Neapolitan dialect…well….hubby can….me? nothing…still the dialects are kind of fun to learn and then use in a different city…bumblepuppies is right….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think I need to work on my basic German before I start confusing people (more) with dialects! I’ve picked up a couple of Bavarian expressions from my flatmate though 😉 My Berliner students are totally baffled when I bust ’em out 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s pretty easy to be a vegetarian/vegan here – at least in Berlin! And especially in the area I live in! Though of course, I always find my meat 😉
      Foghorn Helghorn came to me in a moment of inspiration 😉

      Like

      1. Hey, I’m just describing what’s on the picture! 🙂

        Who knows, maybe Goldilocks is an addict now, and will do it for porridge, and the picture is just stark social commentary?

        Liked by 1 person

              1. And I think it might have been the room of an insane artist relative, who killed him/herself there in a particularly grotesque manner, that picture being the only one left that hadn’t been smeared with blood. 🙂

                Did you check under the mattress, or behind the armchair? The clues must still be out there, you know! 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  8. That car….I literally uttered an “mmmmm” of longing….I mean, I’d rather not have the roadster since they’re typically heavier, but I’ll take nearly any newer Porsche 🙂

    But every time I read about your lovely exploits (complete with booze!) I feel closer and closer to you 🙂 And the food doesn’t look so bad, either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really good! I didn’t eat enough over the weekend though – I’m a terrible foodie 😉
      The car was pretty stunning alright – I just thought it was funny that these guys were surrounded by this amazingly beautiful palace, and fixated on a car instead of it 😉 Men, eh?! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It would have worked if she’d been Latvian either – I was almost expecting her to be! She’s probably mad she’s not pregnant yet 😉 Or he didn’t spend enough money on the wedding… 😉
      Sausage and Merlot – the perfect combo!

      Liked by 1 person

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s