In part due to Covid-19, in part due to me being a person of habits, I haven’t had the chance to visit a new city in a very long time. Back in March 2020, my family and I booked tickets to Malta. The weekend we were supposed to fly out, the world entered into lockdown, one country at a time. Uncertain of what might happen, we cancelled our tickets, sure that we would get to visit in a couple of weeks after the two-week lockdown would lift. You know the rest, I’m sure 🙂
I start with this prelude to say, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a new city. A lot of my travelling is in cities I’ve been to before (regional gems in the Balkans, like Tirana, Ulqin, Thessaloniki; even Berlin I’d been to a good number of times before moving here). Where’s the novelty?
Enter that two-week free-travel deal for students that the German train authority announced – and I was ready to see a new place for the first time in forever. This time, I chose Dresden.
I chose Dresden because (a) I’d never been before, (b) it was relatively close, and (c) my dear grandfather had visited it back in his day and always talked about how beautiful it was. We even have a vintage Dresden picture book in my grandparents home that I (of course) never cared to look through, but I will next time I visit! Because, we live and we learn!
Dresden was absolutely mesmerising. The first impression, as the train was nearing the city was: wow, a lot of beautiful Black and Yellow hues and a lot of very unique architecture. From what I’ve gathered of Germany, there’s very regional aesthetics in how residential buildings look: the north is full of red brick, the south was full of flat facades and pointy roofs, Berlin is well … Prishtina 2.0. Dresden was very unique and very beautiful. See for yourself!
My second impression was that it was very quiet. I went with some university friends on a Friday, and for a Friday (and perhaps, compared to buzzing Berlin), Dresden was almost entirely empty. The historic city center was also entirely void of any commercial western stores like H&M and co. (They were still there, just a bit further away). I kind of appreciated that? It felt a bit disconnected from the buzz, and that’s something I used to appreciate in travelling (before globalisation and social media low-key ruined it for me).
I think originally, back in the day, travelling was meant as both an opportunity to see something new, and an opportunity to escape your reality. Nowadays, or at least for me, it’s always felt like, sure I get to see something new, but I sure cannot escape my reality, because there are constant reminders of globalisation (read: the same H&M stores) all around (and we’re always still connected to our realities by the email app on our phones).
What I mean to say is, Dresden felt different. Maybe it was the lack of commercial space shoved in the city center, maybe it was the quietness of it all … I don’t know. But, I really loved it, and I can’t wait to add it to my list of beloved travel-repeats again soon.
Thank you for reading!