Friday, December 19, 2014

Photo Diary: Dresden, Germany

During my very last week abroad, only one city remained on my "places to visit" list: Dresden, Germany. Dresden is supposedly one of the prettiest cities in Northern Germany, and since the bus ride from Berlin to Dresden is only a few hours, I knew I'd regret not visiting.

My final exams were scheduled before those of my friends, so I travelled to Dresden alone after completing my finals. Of course I wish some of my friends could've gone with me, but I actually don't mind traveling alone. I lived by myself in New York City this summer, and I find that exploring a new place on your own is a great way to gain confidence and independence. Plus, I'm able to do the things that I actually want to do, on my own time and without having to compromise.

Dresden was just as beautiful as I expected, full of old churches and rustic buildings. I kept thinking that Dresden was like a larger, more modern version of Nuremberg. Much of the city was actually destroyed in World War II, meaning that nearly all of the infrastructure is reconstructed. The most famous reconstruction is the famously beautiful Frauenkirche in the city center.
Dresden is home to the oldest Christmas market in Germany, so its no coincidence that my visit was in December. The market, called the "Striezelmarkt," was founded in 1434 and is located in front of the Frauenkirche in the city center. The vendors sell traditional, stereotypically German things like wooden decorations, hand-painted ornaments, lace cutouts. Of course, food carts were stocked full of bratwurst, Lebkuchen, candied nuts, Gluhwein, and bread.

A few other smaller markets were also popped up around the city. My favorite was the market in front of the Dresden castle, where vendors dressed up like they were from the 1400s and made their goods in front of the crowds. If you want to see more pictures of the markets, check out my Christmas market post by clicking here.

One day is definitely enough time to see all of Dresden's major sights. I recommend taking a day trip, if you like beautiful architecture and quaint European cities.

One of Dresden's Christmas markets
A sign inviting lovers to kiss under the mistletoe

Every Christmas market has a pyramid, and the one at Dresden's Striezelmarkt is the tallest in the world. Figurines twist and turn, rotating around the pyramid.

Dresden's city center

The beautiful Semperoper opera house

The Zwinger Palace