It’s a little known fact that the best time of the year for any German is asparagus season, and when one can visit a Christmas market. For me – both of these are kind of weird. Questions I have?
- What is so good about an asparagus?… They are kind of uninspiring, no?
- Why do people buy their Christmas gifts at a Christmas market?… Christmas Markets are the most expensive places in Germany. Germans appreciate value for money… HOW IS THIS MAKING SENSE ?!
- Can’t you only cook asparagus one way? I mean – what else do you do with it apart from have it steamed and accompanying some sort of meat?
- It’s cold at Christmas Markets, Germans are greatly affected by any variance of extreme elements – how are they having any fun?
Considering it is not asparagus season but Christmas Market season, your mate Bron and I took to the road, booked a couple of 9flats in and around Germany’s east – and got researching. Dresden was our first stop, and not only did it consist of a rather major festive market it had some pretty next level nature and Germans that didn’t feel at all like Germans.
Welcome to Dresden.
TAKE A BUS – Fuck the train, take a bus. To get from Berlin > Dresden it was 2 and a bit hours, it cost us 9€ each… The train was about 25€’ish each.. Do you know how many Glühwein that is ? About 16, total (Dresden’s hot wines are pretty cheap). Flixbus got us to Dresden and it was a piece a cake. The only hard bit was finding the bus station in Berlin’s west, and at the end of the day you just ask a stranger when directions get weird. EDIT: Bron does, because she speaks that Deutsch.
ANTIQUE CHRISTMAS MARKET – Yeah you read that right. Dresdens Christmas market is the oldest in Germany. Bron kept telling me when it was established – but for me this doesn’t make any sense. Historical events that happened before the 1800 feels like an episode out of Game of Thrones for me. So when we get talking about the fact that Dresden’s market has been in operation since the 1400’s my head practically explodes, and start to imagine dragons, and big boobs getting squashed in medieval dresses.
WHITE HOT WINE – I have never seen this before. But Dresden’s Christmas Market has hot white wine… Is this is a thing? I don’t know that it is – but in Dresden it was, and I felt positively dainty holding a clear glass with white hot wine. The Bron and Lucy verdict was that it was inferior to the standard red variety – but worth a try.
SLEEPING AND ALL THING HOMEY – Dresden is mostly full of students and tourists. I’m sure people live there that aren’t academics/ tourists, but largely this was the vibe. And with this tourist vibe comes expensive’ish hotels and lots of tourist type traps. Our tip? Stay in someone else’s apartment – meaning: organise a 9flats. As a general rule of thumb, this is going to be cheaper. But also – you will be able to tap into people that actually KNOW the city, and can steer you away from all the touristy faff. WIN/WIN
DON’T SPEAK GERMAN? YOU ARE A RARE AND SHINY OBJECT – This goes for most of the East to be honest. I have never before in my (German) life been chatted up (and creepily followed) as much as in the East. I don’t know if it’s plainly that we were no longer in Berlin, but I don’t think so. The whole being foreign and meeting babes vibe was felt very un-German, and often times frightful.
GET TO THOSE GERMAN MOUNTAIN TOPS – You read right, Germany has mountains. This was mostly a shock to me as I was certain it was just flat green, very sensible fields you could pass through on a fast train. Not true ! Over near the Czech border you will find Sächsische Schweiz AKA (for the English speakers) Saxon Switzerland. No only does it sport an incline to get your heart racing, it is fucking magic. Like fairytale magic. Bron and I managed to find ourselves on an accidental 9km hike to Bastei Bridge, and we honestly couldn’t be more pleased. At the end, we rewarded ourselves with a homemade picnic among trees, and a glass of wine near the train station. Germany – you out did yourself.
The mountain tops in and around the Dresden area deserve a bit more detail, so in a coming post – we’ll take you through, how to get there, what to see and how to keep it poor but sexy.