The great advantage of living in Prague is that everything is close to here. For example, Dresden Germany is just 2 hours away and that’s why I’ve been 3 times already. Dresden is a beautiful historic city in the south of Germany, famous for spectacular Christmas markets. All three of my visits were during Christmas time, but each of them was very different. This year I went on my first solo trip to Germany’s Dresden and so much has happened.
Solo tripping was great fun and I talked more about it in my Natalias first solo travel trip and the benefits of it.
I went to Dresden on Saturday and that was probably not the best idea. Only from Prague itself departed 7 busses with tourists in the same direction. I was on one of them.
After the smooth ride, we arrived at the Dresden train station, and let me tell you how awesome that train station was. Huge. Bright. Clean and most importantly with the most amazing Christmas tree ever seen at the train station. Seriously my hometown doesn’t have as big and as pretty a Christmas tree as their official one.
The whole city is so well organized. The train station is basically in the city center and even if you’re there for the first time it’s impossible to miss it. Just apply my favorite life lesson ever: Fake it till you make it.
Follow the crowd. Act like you belong.
The moment I stepped out of my bus I just went where everyone was going and hoped they know what they were doing. After a few seconds, the place started to feel familiar to me, I remembered the streets and the major buildings. I could see the old towers in the distance and I knew I could not get lost until I see them in the distance. Just in case I had my map ready but I tried to use it as little as possible.
It was around 11 in the morning. when I arrived. The plan was to walk around the markets while it’s peaceful and empty, check out some old parts of the town and then go shopping. My plan was cut short when it started to rain. But I was still able to get some cute shots:
Skipping the exploration I hid from the rain in Warenhaus Karstadt shopping center where the popular Primark store is located. The rain brought all of the tourists inside and the hell went loose inside the building.
I’m more of an online shopper.
The queues and pushiness are not what I’m deliberately seeking for.
I’ve been to Dresden 3 times and never have I even witnessed so many people. It was almost impossible to move. I know I’m bitching a lot about the crowds but that was just too much to handle. God forbid you wanted to check out some items thoroughly. You’ll be pushed away almost immediately. Trying clothes on is just impossible. Random clothes were all over the place and poor workers weren’t cleaning the place quickly enough.
How could they with the mess of tourists that suddenly burst in?
There was a girl working there holding a sign above her head that said that “the line to the cash register starts here” and marking the beginning of the 30-minute long queue that led customers to the cash registers. The long slow snake of people went through almost half of the store. You could not move anywhere, cuz there were people not only shopping but people done with the shopping and hopelessly waiting in line to leave.
I myself was just grabbing stuff and hoping for the best. Two hours and 30 more minutes in the queue and I was done with my Christmas shopping. Here is the evidence of the most brutal shopping I have ever done.
The other issue that occurs with overcrowded places is: where are you gonna eat?
After I went through all of the restaurants, coffee shops, and fast food stores desperately looking for a place to sit I had to accept my unsuccessful mission and go to another shopping center. The other one I spend most of the time was called Altmarkt Galerie. In size probably the same as the Karstad but with more smaller stores instead of a few big ones. After long searching, I found an empty table at the Nordsee restaurant. I was not in a mood for a fish but I was definitely in a mood for sitting down.
I ended up eating a salmon and sharing a table with 2 different families. You learn a lot of interesting stuff when people think you don’t speak their language.
The other issue that occurs on every trip is: where are the toilets?
Well, toilets at a shopping center are pretty easy to find. What I was not expecting to find was a huge ass line of people waiting to get in. I didn’t need to pee that badly, but after literally 40 minutes in a queue, I was ready to go. I actually timed it. 40 minutes! The queue was literally 2 shops away from the toilets and you even had to pay 50cents for using them. The workers there needed to actually regulate the incoming tourists. They went through the crowd and if there were any children waiting they allowed them to cut the line. Good for them. Imagine telling your kid they have to wait 40 minutes till they can pee.
Basically, I spent most of my trip waiting in queues.
Not exactly how I imagined spending my day in Christmas Dresden would be like.
The uncomfortable part of my solo trip was that I was left holding my shopping bags for the rest of the day. Outside was still drizzling from time to time so that was also unpleasant.
All was fixed when the sun went down and the clouds cleared. The incredible lights of the Christmas Dresden city made it all better. The most adorable Christmas stalls were incredibly well decorated, just like all of the years before. You can check out my previous trip in my Christmas Dresden is like a fairytale article.
I even stopped caring for the crowds once they spread out to a wider area.
I couldn’t resist and get myself a waffle you can see in the first picture above and it was delicious. There were different stalls with food, most of them selling typical germans sausages. It was quite fun seeing them serving this big ass sausage into a proportionally way too small bun. Many alcohol stalls. Pancakes and sweets. Handmade jewelry. Socks. Toys. There was even a stall grilling the whole cow. Just look:
After a while of my favorite aimless walking around, I heard a drumming noise and saw a group of people gathering. Naturally, I stepped in a saw this band called Blechlawine drumming on empty containers with sticks and creating super cool music. It felt incredible with the lights of the city.
Here is a sneak peek:
Right next to them was a group of Santa Clauses and Grinches gathering around scooters, jeeps, and cars all decorated with Christmas lights and bells. Five minutes later the Santa clauses were actually riding them around the place.
What a cool city right?
No surprise so many tourists came to visit that day. I was so glad I took this trip on my own because I can’t imagine looking for some friends in that big mass of people. Most of the time I had my headphones in and listening to the best of Pentatonix Christmas songs and that was the most Christmasy I felt in a long time.
If you ever have the chance, visit Christmas Dresden.
It’s a sight to remember but I keep coming back for more.
I was fed up with the number of tourists there that day, but hey, I was also one of the annoying tourists there.