Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dresden, Deutschland

Dresden happens to be only a two and a half hour train ride from Prague, making it the most convenient city outside of the Czech Republic for me to go and get my work visa. For some reason though the lady in HR kept telling me to go to Vienna or Bratislava which are at least 4-5 hours away. If you've ever visited a consular office then you know that they work very favorable hours, for them at least. Usually they are only open from 8-11 am. Meaning I would leave from Prague at night to make it to the other cities on time. Unfortunately the train ticket is pretty pricey whenever you head west in Europe. Wow, way to make a long story long!
OK so another country, another visa (we all know how much I love dealing with that, but luckily this time I had someone else do all the paperwork for me). When all is said and done, I will have gone a total of 3 times to Dresden; once to apply for both short term and long term visa, once to pick up the short term (takes about a week and this one is good until your long term one is finished) and then again 2 months later to pick up the long term. I didn't get to see much of the city the first time around. I literally arrived there, ran to get to the office on time, and then hopped on a train again to go back to Prague. The second time around I went about a week later and took advantage of a public holiday in Czech Republic. So I got there on Monday, bright and early on the 6 am train. It took me all of about 10 mins to pick up my visa and then I had the rest of the day to explore the city till Alex came to join me that night after he left work (Tuesday being the holiday-so stupid here how they don't combine public holidays with a weekend and make it a long weekend instead).

All things aside, Dresden is a beautiful city. It was hit really hard in a somewhat controversial bombing during the second world war but a lot of attention has been paid in restoring it back to its original shape. Its actually still in the process of reconstruction and the famous Frauenkirche church was just completed last year I think. It looked beautiful from the outside, but I was too lazy to stand in the really, really long line to get in. I spent pretty much the whole day walking around on my own but trying not to see everything because I would have to do it all over again the next day with Alex. I realized that I'm not a huge fan of traveling on my own, basically I get bored by myself and sitting down for lunch in a crowded touristy area on your own, kinda sucks. It was probably all in my head, but I swear people were staring at me.

The city isn't huge so you can walk it which I like. After about 6 hours of walking I found a very nice park to go and relax in before I checked into our hostel. Taking a nap at the hostel though was pretty much impossible because I kept hearing doors slamming. After Alex arrived, we went for dinner at this Mexican place (I know its weird to be eating Mexican in Germany but I had a craving). Unfortunately the food sucked and forking out euros for a crappy meal was difficult to do. I thought they might take it off my bill because I barely touched my quadruple deep fried whatever (blah), but no this is not Canada so pay up. We strolled through the historical part of the city at night but it wasn't as nice as Prague is at night, I think they might need more lighting!

Sleeping in the hostel was something of an adventure. The place was really clean and quite nice actually. We stayed in a 6 person dorm with bunk beds! What they fail to mention on the website is that there is a bar right across the street from it, that plays loud pumping music till 4 am. I thought I might lose my mind, after having only 4 hours of sleep the night before (I always get paranoid about oversleeping when I have to get up early). It just went on, and on and Alex commented that at least they were playing good music. At that moment, all I could think about was how I could have paid 20 more euros for this hotel room across the city.

I was a bit out of it the second day in Dresden from the lack of sleep but we still did a lot of walking. Pretty much saw everything in the historical district and even did a tour of the Semper Opera House. Its a really famous opera house for its acoustics I guess. I was amused with the marble that was painted by a guy so that it would look like wood. Because the Opera house burned down in a fire or 2, the architect felt it was better to use non flammable materials so they painted on wood instead of using real wood. Pretty boring job I'd say but it looked very believable. After that we walked through the park I had found the day before. Alex insisted on going all the way to the end of it to see this summer Palace which was so not worth it after the long 2 days I had had. Nap time in the sun then back to Prague! I realized later that I should have maybe done more of the galleries in the Zwinger Palace so maybe the next time I go I will check out the porcelain museum.

Oh and as for food, we did eat a bunch of very delicious bratwurst with mustard. More importantly though, or not, we found a Burger King! They don't have them here in Czech Republic so we downed some whoppers for dinner. Funny the little things you tend to miss.


At 3:47 AM, Blogger alexprague said...

The summer palace WAS totally worth it!


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