Dresden an einem Tag: my whistlestop tour of Dresden.
Or Dresden in a Day to those of my readers to don’t speak German :). Malvina, my most discussed flatmate on this blog, was only supposed to be here for the winter term. She has university commitments back in Romania that she should be getting back to but she had blissfully ignored this fact for romantic reasons. She would love to spend next year at the art school in Dresden and we had agreed to go a while ago. All of a sudden, she is going back to Romania and this was the last opportunity we would have to go. Technically, the course has already started back home and she really can’t miss any more.
So, yesterday, my alarm went off at 5am. It was painful. We both got ready and headed for the station, planning to get on the 6.28 fast train to Dresden. Unfortunately, we didn’t realise how expensive it would be without a Bahncard. Malvina went to get a Subway while I bought my ticket. When she came back, we plugged in the same information without a Bahncard and it was extortionate. We decided that she should get on the 6.45 instead and get regional trains and I would meet her at the station when she arrived.
While we were sorting this all out, someone stopped me and asked if I was a native English speaker. She then asked if I was a teacher here in Erfurt as she is trying to set up a union for the English teachers in Erfurt. I apologised as I am not going to be here for much longer but insisted that I would help while I could and that I have quite a lot of links to other Erfurt schools through the other assistants.
Having said goodbye to Malvina and explained what she needed to do train-wise, I got on my train and headed to Dresden. It was far too early and the stress of sorting out the tickets meant I was desperate for a cup of tea. I stood up from where I was sitting and immediately saw Caroline, the lady who spoke to me. I apologised for not being the best to talk to as she had caught me at a bad moment. She offered me the seat next to her and we talked for the whole way until I got off at Leipzig to change. She is a lovely girl and apparently lived in Brentwood for a while! It was a funny coincidence and we plan to visit Leipzig together at some point before I leave.
At Leipzig, I had a wait of about 40 minutes so I went to the cafe where Anne, Dave and I had breakfast on my first morning in Leipzig back in October and finally had my cup of tea :). It was nice to remember that morning and how excited I had been to step off the train and see Dave waiting at the end of the platform with a huge smile on his face. After my cup of tea, I couldn’t resist going to the bookshop where I picked up a wonderful little book about Dresden called “Dresden an einem Tag“. It had a map at the back which I thought would be useful and described 34 of the sights and marked them on the map. I had an hour and a half to wait for Malvina to arrive and I decided I would try to see as much of the city as I could in that time, staying reasonably close to the station.
I quickly made my way to the city centre. It was breathtaking. I fell in love with the city instantly and knew that, unlike when leaving Altenburg, I would not think that this could be the last time I would see the city. Having found my way onto the map (why is that always the way?!) I navigated the city quickly and easily and found that most of the things I wanted to see were quite close together. In an hour and a half, I got between the station and the city and back and saw almost 2/3 of the sights in the book and everything, bar one thing, that I particularly wanted to see. I barely stopped to take a picture, instead just slowing my pace slightly and the shoes which have never previously given me any discomfort gave me blisters on the bottom of my feet from my exaggerated pace. No regrets, it was worth it!
On my way back to the station, I heard cheers. They got louder and louder. I saw football scarves and fans. Where was it coming from? Was the stadium nearby? Then I saw the riot police and realised the noise was coming from the station itself. What is it about German football matches that always requires riot police? The thing is, it wasn’t all the away fans arriving that was causing the problem. I can’t tell you who Dresden were playing yesterday. All I saw was a sea of yellow and black and red, the colours of the Dresden team scarves everywhere. As I tried to get into the station, I had to wait as the police were marshalling fans out of the station in such a way that people didn’t get crushed. It was early and the fans weren’t rowdy so it was quite exciting! I’m glad we missed the fans on the way back though.
As I have already said, the main reason we were in Dresden was to see the art school so when Malvina arrived, that was the first thing we did. She had the address but no idea where that was and the road wasn’t on my map. We consulted the nearest map we could find and got on our way. We were led a while away from the city centre and it didn’t have quite so much of the charm as what I had already seen. It didn’t change how much I loved the city though and even though the building was closed when we arrived, we were able to see inside through the windows and it looked stunning.
The sun was up and we were pleasantly warm and toasty. We crossed the river to see what beauties held the other side, had ice cream and headed back across to the old town.
This one’s for Ramona, to prove I’ve been to Dresden ;).
By now, we didn’t have much time left. We were rather limited for choices of trains and as the regional option took 4 hours, in order to not get back in the middle of the night, we unfortunately had to leave sooner rather than later. On our way back to the station though, we went into the Kreuzkirche. It was absolutely beautiful. It had been almost completely destroyed during the war but had been rebuilt simply and beautifully, retaining as much of the original building as possible. What struck me particularly was the modern cross which hung over the altar. It was unlike anything I had seen before and was breaktaking.
It was a whistle-stop of Dresden. We didn’t really do anything, just wandered around and looked at the city, trying to soak up as much of the atmosphere as we could. I am so glad that we found the time to go before she leaves, despite the fact that I’m going to Munich on Friday. She is one of the people I have got on with the most during my time here. She is a great girl but the truth is, our time together has largely been spent chatting in the kitchen. Our kitchen is just a corridor with no table or chairs so conversations never last long there, with most of us avoiding spending time in there as much as possible. I am so glad that we had the chance to spend some proper time together. It was a lot of fun and I hope we get the chance to do it again :).