I get out of the car.
I’m not sure where to go, but decide that I will just walk straight ahead before consulting google maps.
I can always come back to it if I get lost.
I see a big beautiful building ahead of me.
Capturing the moment on my Insta stories I gather via the geo tag that this is the famous “Zwinger”.
(You can watch my whole Insta story from the day below)
I wander through the gates around the beautiful building.
I have no idea what this building is for/about, but decide that I can simply google it later.
For the time being I’m happy to simply wonder around, make my impressions.
I walk through another arch and find the Senner Opera House and many other beautiful historich buildings.
As I’m walking through and recording them on my Insta Story and Snapchat, I get an idea of what each building is about.
The city is remarkably empty except for bus tour of Asia tourists.
As I further wander and marvel at the beautiful building, I do feel an urge to head over the bridge.
On google maps it tells mes that is the new city centre and I’m itching to get a feel of the ‘actual’ Dresden away from the tourists.
As I’m wandering over the bridge I notice how many building sites and cranes are dotted around. I come across a few grafitti marks one reading “City for snowden” and others.
I wonder what, if any, significance these have.
I take pictures of these impressions I’m getting.
As I’m taking apicture of the skyline, I first instincively go to cut out all the cranes, but then I halt.
I think to myself,
“They are really in the picture and forming my impression of dresden why am I instanty inclined to cut them out?”
As I’m walking along the Elbe I think about this more and decided to dedicate a Insta blog to it (“Cropping Reality” you can find it here)
As I walk past a what looks like a government building (google maps doesn’t tell me what it is 😅)
I see the European, German and what I’m guessing is the Sachsen Flag.
As I watch them sail in the wind I ask myself what the future holds for Europe?
A discussion with my Dad from the night before still sits in my mind.
Having grown up only a stone’s throw away from the former West-East German border, he had told me a story about how he and my mum had driven along it in 1988.
As they were standing before it, they were asking themselves if they would see the wall come down in their lifetime.
He said even though the wall came down only 1 year later, at that time it seemed absolutely unconceivable.
That story really got me thinking.
For one how lucky my generation was, how we had been born into this completley new free world, where those stories seem like out of a movie and it’s almost impossible to imagine what life would have been like.
The other thing that really struck me was how quickly things can change.
I asked my Dad again, was there no indications that things were going to change?
Exciteldy I then get to continue
“Wow what an exciting that must have been!!
What was it like? Was it like a new world?”
I was expecting him to go on and tell me about how it had felt ike a new world you could do anything in…
I was imagining a spirit of excitement and inspiration having gripped everyone.
Kinda what I feel like now about the future…
Excited about all the possibilities knowing we will be living in a complete new world.
But I was to be disappointed.
‘Nothing really changed.
And remember not everyone thought it was a great idea the wall coming down.
Especially not here in the country side.’
As I dig deeper and ask more questions I get a whole new perspective into what it must have been like growing up for my father’s generation in post-war Germany.
He talks about how they were brough up with a mentality of that they had to follow orders, because they couldn’t be trusted.
They were made to feel the burden of what Germany had done in the war.
For the first time I get a REAL appreciation of how I was brought up.
Not only did my parents give me the sense that I could do anything, but even more so how lucky our generation is to have lived through the most peacful time in history.
I suddenly realise how much of my life, self-confidence, sense of adventure and opportunity mindset, came not as much from my unique ability, but lucky circumstances.
‘And it was even worse for the people in the east!
They had been under the communist russian rule for over 40 years, that didn’t simply go away when the wall came down.’
This statement sits in my head as I’m walking around Dresden trying to get a ‘pulse’ of the city.
This is why I love walking around cities so much…
By observing the people and being part of the everyday life, I always feel like get a sense of what life and the people are like.
Now I’m literally only walking around Dresden for a few hours, so it’s hard (if not impossible) to get a real grasp of what people are like.
There just seems to be a feeling of reservedness around, especially from the older generation.
Whereas as I see younger people in the street they seem like young people everywhere in the world.
I go for lunch to have the famous Thuringer Bratwurst (delicious!).
And to get a feel for the people by watching other guests (I know that sounds creepy but it’s all research I promise 😂).
In the end I was not even 4 hours in Dresden and I definitely didn’t get to see everything, but I got a good first impression of the city.
As I had such little time I didn’t stop to take a guided tour, read or learn anything about the buildings or history, but on my way home I get to catch up on that.
In the car I get on my phone and do some research on Dresden, get an overview of the city, look up specific sections that seem interesting.
I find some articles on the GDR and look to see if there are any interesting documentaries or films on netflix or youtube.
That is the luxury we have in today’s world, if we want to know more about something we have all the information at our finger tips!
Overall it has been a great little trip over to the old East of Germany and back in time.
But as much as I’m fascinated with the past and how it has shaped us, what intrigues me even more is what the future will look like.
And if I think about all the apps that I used to navigate and document my few hours in Dresden and that most of them didn’t even exist 10 years ago…
I can’t even imagine what travel will start looking like in another 10, 20 years!!!
I’m for one am excited 🙂