This is the first time I set foot on German soil though I had transited many times through Frankfurt airport, thanks to the State of Saxony that invited me to visit it. As the ritual goes sharing my first impressions of Germany, Saxony, and Dresden.
First Impressions of Germany trip
1. Germans work with clockwork punctuality. If I had to choose one word to describe them, it would be precision. For someone who is a stickler for time, this was heavenly, though being a group of Indians traveling together we did falter at many places.
2. It is common knowledge that most European cities are very neat and clean. During my morning walks around the city of Dresden, I got to see how they clean the city. There was this guy burning all the grass sprouting out of the sidewalks and cobbled streets using a moving gas cylinder. There was another old man who was picking up all the cigarette butts from the road using a small instrument. Probably the only thing that people throw on the road there.
3. Leipzig – a name that we kept fumbling with, was a sheer discovery. A city that celebrates music and musicians. There is a music trail that can be traced through the stainless steel musical signs on the floor that takes you through the monuments and museums dedicated to the musicians. Leipzig – an erstwhile trader’s town had an important role to play in German reunification that I would write later about.
4. Thanks to our hosts, I got excellent vegetarian food everywhere, though I ended up consuming my yearly quota of cheese in less than a week.
5. The story of the birth of European porcelain is just as enchanting as watching the master craftsmen handcrafting each piece in their manufactory.
6. Like many other places in Europe, their reuse of old unusable places in a creative way is so damn impressive. This time, we saw an old textile mill being used as an artists’ studio and an old gas storage unit hosting a panoramic painting of the city.
7. Our itinerary included visiting many old places, some of them actually old and a lot of them re-constructed as old. Being a history buff, I enjoyed all of that but I felt alive when I was at the University of Dresden. In the library where the books and the warm reading places took my breath away. I loved Neustadt – a bohemian area where creativity peeped from the walls of the buildings, in the corners of the streets, and in just about everything.
8. It is such a pleasure to walk around the old historic town centers without worrying about the traffic. Though cars and trams use the same roads. A couple of evenings we sat on the steps of a church listening to students singing and performing as part of their practice sessions. Sun going down late at night was a bit disorienting but also it made the days longer leaving more time to explore.
9. Rivers are still used as a mode of transportation. We traveled in one with a steam engine. While the guides explained the houses, castles, and wineries on both sides of the river.
10. Holi, yes our very own festival of colors was visible on many billboards. We were told that it is celebrated sometime in August – their summertime.
11. Last day in Dresden we moved around in Trams. I saw a mobile app that shows the online running position of the trams. You can find what are the possible trams to take at any point in time to reach your destination. How I wish there was something like this in India for public transport. Especially when we have a non-existent concept of coming on time.
12. Finally, believe it or not, Germany was hotter than Hyderabad at this point in time.
There is so much I saw and want to write about the tourist attractions there. Based on the above First Impressions of Germany help me choose the first topic you would want me to write about.
Recommend you to read the following travel blog posts on the places I visited on this trip.