We walked out of the train station and could not find a street sign anywhere, but there happened to be signs for our hostel! We followed the signs and it took about 3 blocks, ending right at the front door! Very convenient. This hostel is Dad's first and only dorm experience on this trip, and thankfully it is really nice. Only one other girl staying in the dorm, and there are big lockers that fit our backpacks nicely.
At least we finally get to use the locks we have been carrying around... And we got to use the travelling sheets that we brought because you had to pay to rent linens. All very "backpacker-y."
We went back to the train station to try and figure out the German trains for the next week. There were really great little machines that told you the timetables and prices for every train in Germany, but the tickets are still pretty expensive.
We settled on a train to Berlin, but we plan to try and take some buses after that. We also found out that you can make seat reservations on the machines, which will be convenient for the Eurail pass. Hopefully there are neat little machines like this everywhere-- doubt it.
After the ticket fiasco, we headed down to Old Town. Dresden was pretty much destroyed during WWII, so there was a really interesting contrast between old and rebuilt buildings in Old Town.
There was a huge church that had obviously been there for decades, then a new looking church right next to it. Overall, the Old Town is very different from any we have seen so far, but no less beautiful. We were starving so we cruised around pretty quickly, mainly to see where we should visit after dinner/in the morning.
There were a TON of bugs everywhere though, especially on the bridge across the river.
We didn't get any bites, but they were flying around in swarms. Every time I opened my mouth to say something, I was in grave danger of swallowing a few dozen knats. I took a picture of them that turned out pretty well. Multiply that many bugs by gizillion.
We had dinner at a HUGE hall called Wenzel Prager Bierftuben.
What a name... They served a ton of different beers, so I got a little sampler of three different kinds. We ordered a pretzel to share because we were really hungry, and it was easily the best pretzel I've ever had in my life.
Not only was it freshly made, but it was FILLED WITH BUTTER AND GARLIC! Whoever came up with that idea deserves a prize.
Then we ate a bunch of Goulash and dumplings filled with smoked pork. Delicious. The bathrooms in the restaurant were totally amazing. I took a video of the toilet because it was so cool.
There was a plastic wrapping completely covering the toilet seat, and you could press a button to make it conveyer around to bring you new, clean plastic to sit on. It was the anti-christ of the toilets in Ukraine.
Then we went back into Old Town to take a bunch of pictures at night.
Once again, we were not disappointed by the lighting in the square and along the river. It was absolutely beautiful. Also, it takes a really long time to eat in Europe, so it was pretty late by the time we even got back to Old Town.
Every restaurant expects you to eat a 3 course meal with a number of drinks, so the waiters behave as though you have 4 hours to kill at dinner. I wish we DID have that much time... but we don't and we were exhausted, so we headed back to the hostel after about an hour.
The next morning, I woke up really early to Skype with Jenna, who comes in less than a week! Very excited.
Then I caught up on sorting pictures while I waited for Dad to wake up. In order to Skype with people back home, I have to wake up at 7 AM to talk to them at 11 PM the night before, so it makes for an unusually early day. Dad and I headed back to Old Town to grab some breakfast.
We got fresh pretzels and coffee at a little market, then wandered around looking at all of the arcitecture. Like I said before, Dresden has really old buildings and really new buildings (still being built), so the town is a bit bizzarre.
Half of the buildings make up a really quaint, clean, colorful square. Then there are old buildings black with soot surrounding the new. Very cool. We went into an old fairgrounds that was in the process of being restored. There were flowers and fountains everywhere, and the arcitecture was really cool.
We went up onto one of the higher walls to look at it from above, and there were a bunch of nice sculptures. While we were looking at the square, we saw this weird little trolly with a bunch of people sitting on the edges of it, looking like they were peddling a bike.
Upon closer look, the people were sitting around tables with a bunch of kegs, powering this trolly by peddling. Sounds like an difficult act of coordination to me. I took a video of it... posted below!
We climbed up way to many steps in a clock tower to get a nice view of the city. The views were really nice; we lucked out with the light. By the time we climed up and down, we were really thirsty and stopped in a cafe to try and find some orange juice. We ordered the thing on the menu that sounded the most like orange juice, and ended up with a big caraffe of carbonated orange lemonaide.
It was really good! Then we found another Easter market to get some food.
Dad got a bratwurst, and I got some bread thing with roasted brie and salami all over it. Delicious! Then Dad got some fries smothered in cheesy hollindaise sauce... easily the LEAST healthy food ever prepared, but very tasty!
I'll be very sad when these Easter markets disappear.
Then it was time to head back to the hostel, pick up our bags, and walk to the train station to continue on to Berlin! We took the S-bahn from Dresden Neustadt to Dresden Haufbahnhof, then got on an EC train from Dresden Hbf to Berlin Hbf.
Once we get there, we apparently need to take another S-bahn train to Berlin Alexanderplatz, then get on an M4 tram to Antonplatz, then walk a few blocks to the hotel.... wish us luck!
As a side note: the royal wedding was today. It is probably going on as I am writing this on the train, with no access to a television. I am so happy that the royal wedding is almost over. It has been completely impossible to escape constant coverage of the royal relationship. They have even been covering it on the Middle Eastern news channel. A few mentions occasionally is okay, but constant covereage is totally excessive.
After our beautiful train ride, we arrived in Dresden only to find out that we needed to take another train to get to the right station. We hopped on the S-bahn and it turns out that my Eurail pass coveres this train as well! Excellent, another 2 Euros saved.