So last week, I wrote about the best of Eastern Europe!
You responded to it quite well.
Unlike this post!
Writing about Romania is beginning to bore me!
However, the great thing about owning your own website, is that you can write whatever you want.
So I will!
As you know, I have a new job.
I’m responsible for:
- Corporate English Training
- Training Management
- Quality Management
- Designing inter-cultural training and workshops
- Planning inter-cultural training and workshops
- Implementing inter-cultural training and workshops
And it’s in Dresden!
But I live in Berlin!
As you know, I’m a corporate person combining the world of style and travel, with business ventures.
And that has never changed.
As a result, international travel has been a little erratic and this blog has been a bit of a mess.
I’ve been living in hotels for the past 6 weeks, and the wi-fi has been absolutely horrendous.
And coupled with early morning commuting at 03.15 in the morning in some places, let’s just say that Uber has been a godsend!
However, things have settled down, and I’m now on track.
So let’s get started.
Dresden is the capital city of Saxony, otherwise known as the Free State of Saxony!
It’s situated in a valley on the River Elbe, and is the second-largest city in Saxony, as the largest city in the region happens to be Leipzig!
Dresden is in Germany, but is just 30 minutes from the border of the Czech Republic!
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Dresden has a long rich history as the capital and royal residence of the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor.
It even had a connection to the monarchy in Poland!
Dresden was once known as the Jewel Box of Germany, because of it’s Old Town city centre which is crammed with baroque and rococo architecture.
Sadly, when the international community think of Dresden, they make no mention of German splendour and historical treasures, but rather the horror of the Second World War!
War is a terrible thing, and Dresden paid the price.
Towards the end of World War II, Dresden was pretty much flattened and destroyed, and became unrecognisable.
After the re-unification of German, Dresden once again concentrated on the beauty of it’s history with impressive buildings such as the 1,000 year old Frauenkirche, otherwise known as the Church of Our Lady! The church was destroyed during WWII and the ruins were left as they were, as a war memorial, for over 50 years!
Thankfully, a new church was re-constructed using the charred stones from the previous one, as a distinct reminder of what happened. In fact, in the mid-90’s, I too left a donation for the church to be re-built!
Outside of the Old Town, Dresden has a trendy New Town – Neustadt – a nearby Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Ore Mountains which borders both Germany and the Czech Republic, the Moritzburg Castle, impressive countryside around the Elbe Valley, etc.
Waterside City with the River Elbe running right through it.
Before I actually went for my job interview, I hadn’t visited Dresden in more than twenty (20) years!
So once the job was in the bag, we decided to book a family weekend, and visit Dresden through the eyes of a tourist!
Back to Dresden.
DRESDEN: THE BEAUTY OF EAST GERMANY!
A beautiful city. A Baroque Old Town. A garden suburb. A cultural metropolis, etc. These descriptions are just some of the names that Dresden has acquired over time.
But one thing remains constant – Dresden is truly one of Germany’s most beautiful cities!
So what to do if you’re a tourist?
This is what we did. Are you ready?
- The first thing you have to do is to go to the Old Town, enjoy the beauty and grandeur of the Baroque Old Town, and have a drink or two. We went in April and it was already burning hot!
- Ramble through the baroque town houses and hidden corners. The Old Town is extremely small, and you really won’t get lost!
- Admire the Frauenkirche, otherwise known as the Church of Our Lady
- Go against the grain, and drink Saxon traditional beer at a traditional Bavarian establishment mere steps away from the Frauenkirche
We spent our first evening drinking and eating both Saxon and Bavarian fare at the very-German-looking-everyone’s-in-traditional-German-costume Augustiner restaurant!
It’s really nice, but very, very popular so either go really early, quite late, or reserve a seat!
- Drink German beer
- Visit the Royal Palace, otherwise known as the Dresden Castle!
- Have brunch near the museums
- And while you’re at it, if you’re into museums, get yourself a Dresden Museums Card
- Visit as many museums as you dare. Museums such as the Albertinum, the Historic and New Green Vault, the Dresden Armoury with the Turkish Chamber, the New Hall of the Giants, the Coin / Mint Cabinet, the Cabinet of Prints, and the German Hygiene Museum. Yep! And many more.
- Go on a pony and carriage trip. There were loads of them about, and they’re really cute!
- The most famous opera house in the region is the Semperoper. It’s also home to the Semperoper Ballet, and at one time, was the most beautiful opera house in Germany!
Before it got burnt to the ground!
We not only admired the building itself, but we even booked a guided tour, so that we could learn more about it’s magnificent architecture and richly decorated rooms. We paid €25.00 for a Family Ticket.
- Go on a river-cruise. We weren’t able to book any, as it was too early in the season, but they should be well and running now!
- Having said that, walking on the riverside is free of charge, and quite a lovely walk!
- Have more beer. In fact, make sure that you sample, Dresden’s most famous beer – the Radeberger Pilsner!
- Go one better, go to the riverside, and have your Radeberger lager at one of Dresden’s oldest breweries – Radeberger Spezialausschank built in 1848!
- If you see nothing else, go gape at the Fürstenzug, otherwise known as the Procession of Princes. What a wonderful piece of art! It’s a 101 metre long mural, known as the largest porcelain artwork in the world! It was originally painted between 1871 and 1876, celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty – Saxony’s ruling family at the time, and has approximately 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles! The mural displays the ancestral portraits of the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings of the House of Wettin between 1127 and 1904, and it’s on the street. On a wall! You’ve probably passed it a few times and forgot where you saw it, but you can find it on the outer wall of the Stallhof or Stables Courtyard, of the Dresden Castle
- Go to a riverside beer garden or Biergarten. See what I did there! And have a bratwurst and chips with a variety of sauces, while people-watching local Dresdeners playing ball, listening to music, or simply just chilling, with more local beer!
- Have dinner at another famous historical restaurant and brewery – the Ball & Brauhaus Watze. It’s an 1838 establishment with 3 restaurants. We had dinner at the rather rustic Watzke am Goldenen Reiter or the Watzke on the Golden Rider! And indeed, right outside the restaurant is a very golden statue of Frederick Augustus II of Saxony or Augustus II the Strong – the Golden Rider, dressed as a Roman Caesar, riding a horse, covered in gold leaf! The restaurant also has a huge St. John’s (as in John the Baptist!) bell which is rung on the hour, in synergy with the bells across the road, in the tower of the Frauenkirche!
- If there’s an open-air festival, join in! While we were there, Dresden hosted the FilmFest Dresden International Short Film Festival. In the Old Town. Right next to the Frauenkirche. Totally free of charge! They even supplied deckchairs to lounge on. How cool is that?
- Drink some more traditional Dresden beer!
- Wander around some more, and if you’re lucky, you might actually get to see some of the locals dressed in baroque attire. Mind you, as in New York and LA, they do expect a tip, if you want to take photographs!
- Go on a walking tour, but don’t expect it to be a free one outside of “the season.” We really wanted to get to grips with what Dresden was about, so we booked a historical tour at the Official Tourist Information Centre, of the City of Dresden. It was €12.00 per person, with no concessions for children over 13! However, it was well worth the price
- Spend a few hours at the Dresdner Zwinger, which is a beautiful Baroque Palace built in 1710, and used as an Orangery, the Court festival grounds. It now serves at a Museum Complex and houses the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister – the Old Masters’ Picture Gallery, the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon – the Mathematics and Physics Salon, and the Dresdener Porzellansammlung – the Dresden Porcelain Collection. It’s very pleasant to stroll in and has a very nice fountain too. The grounds are free of charge
- Have lunch on your second day at the Kurfürstenschänke! The Kurfürstenschänk is another historical restaurant built in 1708. As you can see, Dresden has plenty of the like!
- Order champagne
- And if you really want to blend in. Drink more beer!
I really could go on, and on.
Of course, nowhere is perfect, and one shouldn’t forget that as beautiful as Dresden is, it’s still in East Germany.
Unfortunately, East Germany has a history of xenophobia.
Dresden was always seen as an East German State that didn’t.
Until it did.
Sadly, since Germany opened it’s arms to refugees. (Oh, and just so you know. #RefugeesAreWelcome), there has been an alarming rise in right-wing populist activity spurned on by the right-wing party – Alternative for Germany – AfD.
As tourists, you’re all perfectly safe, and as an expat local who lives in the “right area” – read wealthy, gentrified,or bohemian parts of town, I’m alright too. But still.
So don’t be scared.
Nowhere is perfect.
Except for Berlin obviously!
But really, Dresden was a pleasant surprise.
And the food was fantastic.
More about that next week!
Here’s where we stayed:
We stayed at a lovely apartment called Stirl Apartments.
It cost just €85.00 per night. Not including the Tourism Tax of €1.30 per person. Per night!
We had actually planned to stay at the Old Town itself, but I forgot that I had pre-booked Stirl Apartment as a last cheaper resort, just in case we couldn’t get the Aparthotel Am Schloss, a mere five (5) minutes from the Frauenkirche!
Even though the Aparthotel Am Schloss, was far more expensive, I would have preferred it, for the mere fact that it was exactly where we wanted to be.
In the Old Town!
I’ll be writing a more comprehensive guide on Dresden very soon!
DRESDEN: THE BEAUTY OF EAST GERMANY!
This article is not sponsored, and all opinions, and the Dresden beer that I drank, are my very own!
Next week, more on Dresden!
And in a few weeks, I’ll be revealing my next summer trip!
That’s it for now.
See you next week!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!