Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Going Back

Day 148

I didn´t sleep well. I don´t know why, maybe excitement. In the summer of 2002, between my junior and senior years of college, I lived in Dresden and worked at the Deutsches Hygiene museum. I had a fabulous time, possibly the best time ever. I haven´t been back since I left.

My train was murder. It was the most uncomfortable train ride that I have had on this trip. It also was about 4 hours long. I couldn´t even fall asleep.

When I left Dresden 6 years ago the city had just been hit by the worst flood in a very long time. The Elbe was over its banks, and even my museum was flooded. The main train station had been underwater. This was my first stop. The whole thing had been completely redone, heck, there was even a Burger King and a Subway now.

I had no problems finding my hostel, it was only two blocks away from where I used to live. As soon as I had dropped off my stuff I headed right to the Hygiene Museum. I wasn´t planning on visiting today though. I just wanted to see it. I wasn´t sure if I would remember the way there, so I had grabbed a map just in case. Letting my feet lead the way I had no problems finding the museum. It looked a bit different, the name was no longer on the top and the door I had used to go to work was no longer there.

When I had passed the museum by a couple of blocks two women asked me in German if I knew where the museum was. I answered them in in English, I don´t know if they really believed me.

At this point I decided to head to the alt stadt. The first place I found was the Frauenkirche. During WWII Dresden was very heavily bombed, the Frauenkirche was destroyed. There wasn´t any money to restore it and it sat as a pile of ruble for years. After the wall came down the bits and pieces of the church were sorted through and rebuilding began. Whenever possible the old pieces were worked into the new structure. When I left the building was surrounded by scaffolding, now it is finished and amazing. I was just in awe of it. Not only was the church finished, but the entire square looked completely different. It was amazing.

As I wandered I was shocked at how many tourists there were. Since I left I have been telling people to visit Dresden, it seemed like they all listened and told all of their friends. I heard more English than German.

To get away from the tourists I decided to head to the new town. There were definitely less tourists here and people were speaking German again. As I was walking down the main shopping street I decided to get my haircut. I had been feeling very much the raggity backpacker recently and needed to do something to fix that. Just an hour later I was no longer scraggly backpacker, but attractive travel diva.

I walked back to my hostel on Pragerstr., the main shopping street. When I lived here the street was almost empty pretty much all the time. New stores had moved in and people were outside enjoying them. The place was really alive.

Before I got back I took a quick detour to check out my old apartment building. I had no problem finding the building, but I couldn´t remember which entrance had been mine.

Back at the hostel I met a kiwi guy and we went to the roof top bar at the hostel for some drinks and to take in the view. It had been a long day though, and I didn´t stay up there for too long.

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