We made it! And yes, that excitement was exactly how I felt as we drove into Dresden.
Why? Well, this was a trip that honestly almost didn’t happen. I had a scratchy throat a few days before but it wasn’t terrible so I still was pushing to go – we really hadn’t done anything all of November so I was restless. But the morning of I was very scratchy, I felt like I had really deep tonsil nodes, and my throat had a very particular Strep look.
Yep. We went to the med center and after hours of waiting, my doctor said it was a minor infection and I was at the tail end of it. I was told to keep drinking some warm water and honey, rest when I can and avoid staying outside for longer than three or four hours at a time if it was cold. But then he said the magic words: “but if you can handle that, there is no reason you shouldn’t go. that isn’t that far away.”
Best. Doctor. Ever. I almost cried I was so happy. Yes, we left well after noon and would have to skip one of the quick day trips I’d planned on taking onto Dresden, but I had doctor’s approval to go.
I’ll be honest, Dresden doesn’t really make most people’s ‘must see’ lists when touring Germany, and it really doesn’t make most peoples lists for the wider European vacation. With all the history found in Germany, this bombed-out city just doesn’t have the same draw — literally ‘new town’ is older than ‘old town’ because of how completely decimated the city was during World War II.
Because this was the first German excursion for Ryan and me – really our first adventure as a married couple since we both moved here separately – we chose Dresden because of an inside joke started in high school. We had a marriage project and our fake son was named Dresdyn (yes, I know it’s spelled differently; it’s a family thing). Almost a decade later and now married, how were we ever supposed to resist?
We road tripped north to Dresden and the weather was already starting to act up – we are pretty sure we ended up driving through the literal eye of the storm – you know, like the eye of a tornado, clear in the center but all around us was ugly gray and fog. That should have been our warning: It rained pretty much the whole time we were there but seeing as it was the end of December and therefore, winter, this shouldn’t have been disappointing or unforeseen.
Still, I made us get up early and head out…. apparently so early that nothing was open for hours after stepping out in the wet and cold. While this made Ryan confused and laugh, I loved being out that early.
I loved walking around Dresden and looking at all the architecture – nice since, again, we couldn’t go in anywhere for a little while. Just wandering around was my favorite thing to do and means it’s what we did pretty much our whole visit. I am not sure I relaxed or stayed inside as much as my doctor had wanted, however, I did go inside more than I would have normally so I think I did a fair job of following orders!
As I said, ‘new town’ was technically built before ‘old town,’ but looking at the architecture you wouldn’t know it. Like a lot of Germany, the Baroque style is very clear but I always forget the slightly older, almost gothic-looking style of the buildings that get worked into the style.
One of the places we did choose to pay for was the Frauenkirche and the Climb to the Dome – a platform that gives you amazing views of the city around you. This is a bit of a climb with a small elevator ride, a few staircases, but mostly a steep but steadily sloping circular walkway that leads up to the 67-meter high platform. It’s a tough climb (Children under 6 years old are apparently not allowed because it is too difficult), but I loved that you are circling the dome and getting views out of the building as well as the frescos and seating within the church. We were well timed and on our way down we watched a procession heading down the center aisle as an event was in progress.
We also managed to time this – surprisingly – with the end of one of Dresden’s Christmas Markets. Now, this was not our first Christmas Markets; I think we’d been to 4 or 5 in 2018 alone, so we more or less knew what we were getting into. The adventure is always getting one of the mugs that have the correct year to add to our growing collection.
I just love Christmas Markets and honestly can’t wait for the Easter Markets to start. German Markets feel much less ‘produced’ than those I found in London. That isn’t to say that you don’t have to watch your spending – especially a few drinks in! – after all, they are markets, but they really feel much more like local markets rather than tiny carnivals that are more flash than substance.
The last things we did was cross the river to try to find some of the cool street art that I have seen in posts about new time. Unfortunately, this is when it really started to rain more and the wind picked up. Ryan was also a little skeptical about the look on that side of the river – it was much more urban and with no clear path where to go to see what I wanted. In the end, we walked along the river and then crossed back into old town with nothing much gained.
Still, I really did love Dresden and it was amazing learning how differently Ryan and I travel when we haven’t planned things out very specifically. I’d love to go back and see everything when it isn’t all gray and gloomy, but that may be the Californian in me!
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.