It’s rainy and grey in Dresden this afternoon. And I’m quite glad for it.
I’ve been so busy adventuring these past few days that the rain has come as a welcome excuse to just stop, sit down, drink a beer and write.
I have so much to tell you all!!
So, let’s talk quickly about Dresden. It’s such a unique city.
In 1945, Dresden was almost completely leveled by a 2 day bombing raid. All of it’s beautiful baroque, gothic and renaissance buildings were destroyed.
When reconstruction began; instead of building something modern where the original buildings had fallen, the Dresdeners devoted years of work and millions of euros to recreating each historic building.
I am so incredibly grateful that they did!!!
Stepping into the Aldstadt, where most of these buildings are located, is like going back in time. It’s so beautiful. And a testament to the will of humankind.
I’ve been staying in the Outer Neustadt. This is where Dresden keeps all of it’s alternative sub cultures, greatest bars and coolest people.
The streets are lined with tiny wine bars, cafes, record stores and handmade clothing shops. (Yes. I’m in heaven) There are bikes whizzing around, young families strolling and young people sauntering. This area has a wonderfully infectious attitude of relaxation. Kids play in the streets, young women stroll confidently around at night. People do as they please; so if you’re not hurting them they won’t hurt you.
When I originally arrived in Dresden I wasn’t sure how to feel about it.
It seemed very cool, but people were less friendly and welcoming than those I had encountered in London and Prague. I was feeling grumpy and misplaced.
(03/10/12) I wandered into the Aldstadt, chanced upon another fair, checked out the Green Vault (Royal Treasure Chamber) and found myself a little uninspired. However, it was a stunningly beautiful day so I took my iPad to the park behind my hostel and flopped into the green grass to do some reading. I was there for about 10minutes before a young German boy came over and started speaking at me, rapidly. I spluttered “Ich kann keine deutsch sprechen” and he replied (in sweetly broken English) “do you smoke weed? I cannot find my friends and I don’t want to smoke by myself.”
I was totally shocked and completely delighted.
I said ‘thanks but no thanks’ to his offer of the freshly rolled joint, but I told him that he was welcome to sit with me. We sat in the afternoon sun, chatted about Dresden, Germany, Nazism and how shit we both were at speaking a second language. My lovely new park friend (whose name had waaay too many syllabus for me to understand, let alone remember) took me on a walk at sunset from the Neustadt to the Alstadt. He told me a little about the history of each building we passed and he explained that, right now he doesn’t know what he wants to do in his life. All he knew for sure is that he wants to work with people. Because people are always good on the inside.
(Dear Universe, that was such a lovely experience. Keep them coming if possible! Love Steph)
We eventually parted ways so that he could attend this illegal techno rave and I could get back to my hostel for the “free communal dinner!!”
The dinner was lovely. It was traditional Czech fare with a massive side helping of converstaion. The room was full of Germans and Australians and Americans and we all reveled in having new people to talk to.
Pranav, who I mentioned in a previous post as ‘the guy who was hitting on the 19 year old’, joined us for dinner and asked if anyone was keen to see this band called Black Dynamite. When he described them as a “black guy Pearl Jam” I couldn’t say no!!
A small group of us headed with Pranav to ‘Rosies Bar’. It was an underground diner style bar, with random nicknackery stuck on the walls.
At Rosie’s I got to talking with the drummer from Black Dynamite. His name was Gavin and he was a total champion!! He was a chef/musician who toured internationally to pay his tuition fees for Uni in the US. I can now confirm for you all that talking late 80’s/early 90’s hip hop with a hilarious African American is one of the best things in the whole world.
Their set was amazing!! Kinda hardcore. And each band member was a prodigious player. Praneev and I drank beers, chatted and organised to meet today so he could show me around the Neustadt.
Ok, that’s a lot of text. I’ll leave it here for now.
Pictured – A bright light skyline and my first Dresden beer