Friday, December 9, 2016

Dresden day trip

Day 7:  A day trip to Dresden

This was our fourth Christmas markets trip (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016).  It was the first time we didn't start and end in Germany.  And because our time was limited, we had decided against a day trip to Dresden in favor of seeing more of Prague.

But as much as we enjoyed Vienna and Prague, their Christmas markets were missing something for us.  I couldn't describe what was missing to our friends but they were game for going to Dresden. Once they got there, they understood.  And husband and I decided we'd never again omit Germany from a Christmas markets trip!

Because we bought on the day of travel, our train tickets were pricy.  We took the 7am train and were in Dresden in two hours.  We left Prague resplendent in the morning sun and arrived to drizzly, overcast weather.  This was typical of the weather we've encountered on every previous Christmas markets trip to Germany.  I felt right at home.

Pretty tree in the train station
I'd done a little research on Dresden so we had a basic plan that included the Streizelmarkt, Neumarkt, Frauenkirche and markt, the Historic Green Vault, Stallhoff markt, and Zwinger courtyard. We planned to take the 7pm train back to Prague.

The markt just outside the train station immediately reinforced that we made the right decision to come to Dresden.  It was a Christmas market like we'd loved on our previous trips!  J got some kind of amazingly delicious drink while husband and I bought some Finnish honey.  We made our way to the center of town.

It was pretty quiet this early and I loved wandering about.  I was even happy to do a little shopping! We drank some beer, ate some pig, and were generally delighted by this gorgeous market.

Wool baseball caps; what a great idea!

That was a good buy!

High on my list for today was a visit to the Historic Green Vault.  I dragged the rest of the gang to the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace) because I knew the entries were limited and timed.  We deposited our stuff in the lockers but had to go back because we (uhm, I) didn't leave ~everything~ behind.  The first room, where we got the audio guide, did not really give a sense of how amazing the treasures in the Green Vault would be--I was actually wondering what all the fuss was about.

We went through the double climate controlled doors to the first of 9 rooms.  Each is arranged by a theme, like ivory or silver or jewels, and is incredible.  No pictures allowed, obviously, but what's on the internet is a faithful reproduction.

This was one the coolest treasuries we've ever seen.  It alone would be worth the effort to visit Dresden!

Next we headed to the Medieval market which is always our favorite in Munich.  This was a great little market.  The flambrot and beer were very tasty.

Happy to pose with tourists, lol
 We exited and headed to the Frauenkirche.  I wanted to linger in this church.  It has been completely rebuilt since WWII.  It's baroque, very pretty, and light-filled.  It felt inviting.  The market surrounding the church was lovely.

Husband noticed the Augustiner Keller right there on the square.  We stopped for an early dinner and some tasty beer.  By time we left, it was quite crowded with what looked like locals.  Reservations would be essential if you wanted dinner there.

The weather never cleared so we went back outside to a cold, drizzly, overcast evening.  But the lights in the streets and markets were cheerful and pretty.  Not Vienna pretty, but really lovely.

 Back to the main Christmas market for a little more shopping.

A live band was entertaining the crowds
 We debated about staying in Dresden until the 9pm train but it had been a long day so we caught the 7.  We made it back to Prague and our hotel around 10pm.

Night view from our room

Taking the day to visit Dresden had been the right decision!

1.  For me, Christmas Markets ='s Germany
2.  Dresden is beautiful but made me sad because the people suffered so much in WWII and during communism
3.  If you have a chance to visit the Historic Green Vault, do!
4.  We've always had pretty bad weather in Germany in December

Next:  Prague Castle and environs.

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