Last weekend whilst I was hiking in Bohemian Switzerland, I also visited Dresden near the Czech border. I have been to Dresden before, but only for an hour and only to the historical centre. This time I got to see a whole different side of Dresden – one that I actually preferred.
Dresden historic centre has a very overwhelming gothic vibe that makes the centre feel very medieval. But in reality, the gothic buildings are really very new. During World War II the city was bombed and completely destroyed. The whole centre was rebuilt in the same way it was before – to preserve their history. Even though the whole of the centre is a reconstruction I have always thought it was a tremendous demonstration of spirit that they rebuilt the city – it demonstrates their willingness to carry on and despite such a devastating history, not let it ruin what had made the city of Dresden so beautiful and unique.
Unfortunately the whole area was packed with tourists. So I didn’t really want to stay long.
One of my friends had heard about a student area which was full of young people and vintage shops. So we went into the first tourist information shop and asked a young employee where the students go. After a short walk across the bridge from the historic centre we ended up in an area called “Neustadt” which is like a mini East London/Berlin. It is full of graffiti, vintage shops, hipsters, people selling their old stuff out of suitcases, and cute cafes and coffee shops. I was totally at home.
This mini alternative area is not very large and we soon ended up in a residential area that was like Germany’s answer to Hampstead. Massive houses, long, wide roads, an abundance of greenery, and lots of people walking their dogs.
After a lot of walking around we enjoyed a HUGE German beer in a biergarten and then sat on the bank of the River Elbe and watched the day wind down and the historic centre light up.