Entry 3, Dresden Trip

Anna Miesner

After getting off a four-hour bus I was stoked to start exploring Dresden. The trip was educational and the whole 12th grade participated. In German school, each grade is split into different classes, and at my school, there are three. My class, 12b, had a day-by-day schedule with coordinated free time that was different from classes A and B. 

The first day we arrived at our hostel at around 2 p.m and the next hour was spent unpacking and setting some stuff up in my shared room. Later in the afternoon, I got an hour of free time to explore Dresden with some classmates. 

A photo that one of my classmates took during our tour of Dresden.

We ended up visiting a shopping center in Dresden and the nearby Wilsdruffer Vorstadt, which is an old power plant turned into a cultural center. Despite the rainy and foggy weather, the inside garden area was beautiful and crowded with tourists. While walking around Dresden I learned that the bikers are the most dangerous people when you are sightseeing. When they get going, they don’t tend to stop, weaving seamlessly through crowds and traffic. I was almost hit by bikers while walking at least five times on the first day. 

That night I joined another class in a walking tour of Dresden, which was somehow even more beautiful at night. The tour guide that night was dressed in medieval German clothing and fake weaponry to go along with his tour. My favorite part of the tour was the Neumarket which was surrounded by famous landmarks such as the Martin Luther Statue, Frauenkirche and the Fürstenzug.  

A system of tunnels that leads to the shopping center.

The next day the rainy weather continued and my class visited the Volkswagen Factory and Verkehrsmuseum. Unfortunately, the pouring rain and restricted photography at the museums meant that I didn’t get many photos of the inside. 

Wednesday, my class gave presentations about the surrounding historical buildings for school. My group visited the surrounding areas including the Kreuzkirche which is one of the tallest churches in Dresden. 

One of the students in my class giving a presentation about a nearby statue.

The view from the top of the church was very beautiful and a great way to overlook Dresden with the 360 railings. The photo below is a view from the top with the Fraunkirche in the middle.  

In the afternoon, we visited the Dresden Zoo via the dreaded straßebahn which runs throughout the city. The system is pretty simple, for someone fluent in German, with a punch ticket system making it easy to get off and on different carts quickly. None of my classmates were familiar with the system, so they used the straßebahn app to navigate which routes and carts to take. Despite the app, my group got a little lost and ended up being late for the zoo tour. 

I really liked the zoo as well, luckily the weather was less rainy during our trip there so I got to visit some of my favorite attractions including the petting zoo and the botanical area with the sloth that hung from the ceiling. 

The rest of Wednesday was pretty uneventful, with plenty of free time I decided to get some much-needed rest and prepare for tomorrow. On Thursday, our last day in Dresden, we went on what Germans like to call a “light hike” – which in reality was six miles in the rain – to the Basteibrücke. It is a beautiful natural rock formation about 1,000 feet in the air, which later became a tourist attraction once a bridge was built there in 1824. The Basteibrücke is next to the Elbe River, and you have to take a ferry to get to the other side where the hiking trail starts.

With all the fog, the hike and view were mystifying. The forests in Germany have long and tall trees that seem to reach to the sky, surrounding our path with red leaves from the beginning of fall. Hiking back was one of my favorite parts of the trip and I would definitely visit Basteibrücke again. 

With the hike consuming the majority of our last day, I spent the rest of the evening packing and trying to revive my feet. I recommend that if you do visit the Basteibrücke that you don’t hike in AirForce 1’s like I did, but rather buy yourself a decent pair of hiking shoes. 

I was sad to leave Dresden the next morning at around 9, I felt like I had only explored a fraction of the city and its history while there. Nonetheless, the trip was amazing and it really made me appreciate the lack of communal showers at my host family’s house. 

Now that I’m back home I’ve entered the least pleasant phase of adjusting back to a normal schedule after being on vacation for a week. For the following two weeks, I have no school, due to a few German holidays, so I will be traveling to Berlin with my host family on the 30th. I’m extremely excited to stop in Berlin and see a few essential landmarks on my bucket list such as the Brandenburg Gate and the remains of the Berlin Wall. I don’t know yet exactly how long we will stop in Berlin, but I will cover the itinerary more descriptively in the next entry. 

– Bis Später, Anna