Three weeks before leaving for our two and a half week long interrailing trip and we still hadn’t managed to book some of our accommodation. We wanted to go from Vienna to Munich but then still had some days left over to fill before hitting Berlin. On a whim, we saw that Dresden was close enough to Berlin, so we thought why not stay there for a couple of nights and see what it had to offer?
A wander around quickly showed the city centre to be pretty accessible and we came across a small independent fairtrade cafe called, Aha, which had an envious breakfast menu. I ordered a Saxony soup with sausage and an elderflower spritzer, which I would highly recommend. Unsurprisingly our diet whilst travelling around Germany largely consisted of different variations of sausage dishes.
The good thing about Dresden is that all of its major attractions are in close proximity so we were able to wander around easily and come across other city attractions relatively quickly. After our food, we wandered into an enclosed courtyard with elaborate fountains and a building called the Zwinger. A palace built in Rococo style which was largely destroyed during the Dresden bombings but then rebuilt after the war. If you’re travelling on a budget this area known as Inner Alstadt (Inner Old City) is a great place to go as you can wander around for free whilst seeing all of the big sights.
What I found important when travelling was allowing myself some down time from walking around everywhere to relax and just take in the city. I found swimming to be the most relaxing thing to do after walking around all day and getting very sweaty in the summer heat. Our host in our Airbnb suggested that we go to “Grosser Garten”, the biggest park in Dresden where they had an outdoor swimming pool. This was the perfect afternoon activity to recuperate before travelling to Berlin the next day. It was a quick tram ride away and the area is great just for a walk around or train ride on their park railway which costs €6 for a round trip.
In the later afternoon we found ourselves in the Neustadt of Dresden, which is the alternative section of the city. We decided to look at the bars and restaurants it offered and came across a Doner Kebab House on Rothenburger Strasse which offered cheap halloumi kebabs. These were insanely large and meant we could make two meals out of them if budgeting was needed. A cheap and filling meal is a great thing to come across when travelling and it was welcomed greatly!
After a busy day, we decided to do some relaxing in the Neustadt area of Dresden and sat in its central park, Alaunplatz. The youthful area of Neustadt has such a community feel and we sat amongst the many people and bought a couple of Radler’s to enjoy the evening, costing about €1.60 each. Radler became a popular drink during our travels around Europe and is very refreshing after sightseeing all day. The German people’s enjoyment of social drinking is somewhat different to the drinking culture in the UK, so it was enjoyable to sit and enjoy the last hours of sunshine.
8:00pm – 10:00pm
We decided to return back to our Airbnb and get an early night’s sleep as we had to be up early to travel to Berlin the next day. Our host’s father offered us some cigarettes which we declined and also some Middle Eastern coffee which was an experience to say the least! That aside, the great thing about Airbnb is the ability to be able to meet local people who live in the area and also gives you some insider tips on places to go and places to avoid. It also gives you an idea of what it would be like to be someone who actually lives in the area and you get to stay in areas that you wouldn’t necessarily have originally thought to visit.
Dresden’s uniqueness is that it isn’t like the other major European cities such as Berlin or Budapest and isn’t overrun by the “tourists”. Most people travelling here try to avoid being lumped in with that bracket. It was a welcoming, quiet and beautiful city which is enjoyable as it gives you a break from these busy cities but also offers you something which can’t necessarily be found in them. It feels like your own place which others aren’t aware of which is something people travelling often always want to find.