BootsnAll Travel Network

Dresden: The Sound of White

10am, and we walked out of the Dresden train station into a land of white. A good sounding hostel was located not too far away from the station, and we began walking gingerly through the snow to get there, despite not having a reservation. 15 minutes later, we arrived at the Lollis Homestay, with snow covering us and our heavy packs filled with Christmas presents.

“Hallo, do you have any beds available?” we asked the young receptionist.

She looked at her computer, “No.”

Oh well, we knew it was a small hostel, and it was Saturday morning, so it wasn´t totally unexpected, although in 4 months of travel this was the first time we´d been knocked back because a hostel was full.

“Do you know of another hostel nearby that may have beds?” we asked with a smile.

“There is a hostel not too far from here, about ten minutes. They told me last night that they have a couple of beds spare,” she replied without a smile.

“Ah, danke shen (thank you).”

We loaded our packs back up, put our beanies on, and prepared to head out into the snow, but turned back before we reached the door, “I don´t suppose you could give them a quick call to check that they have beds,” we asked, preferring not to walk for another ten minutes in the freezing cold for no reason.

“Ah, no. I´m sure they have beds.” She looked away from us, reading a magazine, as though we weren´t even there.

Fine. We headed back outside, and trudged for 20 minutes to the next hostel. And you know what, they had no available beds. Thanks Lollis Homestay. Thanks for nothing. In contrast, the receptionist at this second hostel was very helpful, ringing a number of hostels on our behalf and finding us some dorm beds at a new hostel located just 2 minutes from the train station we started at. Fittingly, this hostel was called Kangaroo Stop. It seemed rather appropriate, and so back outside we went, and navigated our way back to the train station and from there to our new home for the next 3 nights.

The snow hadn´t let up; everything was covered in white. The wonderfully generous receptionists at the Kangaroo Stop (when we asked if there was a cinema that showed films in English, they rang every cinema in town to check, and when we needed to burn a cd of photos, they did it for us in their own apartment) informed us that it had only begun snowing that morning. It was brilliant, and impossible to imagine without snow.

For the next few days we walked through, wait for it, a winter wonderland (sorry, it had to be said). Dresden had been all but annihilated at the end of WWII, thanks to a relentless bombing raid from the Allies, and Bec´s dad had told us about a church there that had been undergoing meticulous restoration work for the past 50 years and had only just reopened to the public. But of course with this being a weekend, the line to enter the church was as long as my beard is red (oh, and the pictures are coming folks, don´t worry about that), and with the snow coming in sideways and our toes numb from the cold, an hour or two wait outside didn´t really seem to inviting. Instead we headed to the christmas markets and gorged ourselves on foot long sausages.

After a couple of days in the cold, we retreated back to the hostel for some quiet afternoons and nights. We would start our days there without showering, yes, disgusting I know, but with good reason. The showers at the Kangaroo Stop were communal, not in the boys sharing with girls way, but in the guys standing in one big tiled room with five shower heads, as though we were in prison. Yeah that´s right, don´t drop the soap. To avoid this, we took our showers in the afternoon, knowing that the chances of some guy screaming out in shock at the fanta pants was much less.

Having these showers to yourself also came with a great advantage. The showers themselves were extremely hot and burst forth with great pressure. And so I turned on all five showers, and walked back and forth under them, as though a president contemplating a great decision whilst walking under a hot waterfall. It was bliss.

But really, Dresden was just a stopover on our way to Christmas.

Christmas was being spent in the north of Germany, in a town reputed for its Christmas markets, Lubeck, with a group of our best mates. We´d rented an 8 bed apartment for two weeks, and a total of 12 people were coming at different times.

We´d been looking forward to it for months now, and on the morning of December 20, after spending a brief one night stopover in Hamburg, we boarded a train headed for Germany´s Christmas capital, with thoughts of a white Christmas resting firmly in our minds.

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