Bombed to smithereens. That's what Dresden is famous for. On February 14, 1945, Allied bombers dropped several thousand tonnes onto this beautiful but doomed city: and overnight, over 80% of the city was reduced to rubble, and tens of thousands of its inhabitants (and others) were killed. That's all I knew about Dresden, before visiting: I always thought of it as "that place that they bombed". Dresden is one of the finest cities in (what was formerly) East Germany, and today the city has been almost completely rebuilt (much of the rebuilding being authentic restoration, no less). I spent just one night here — mainly to visit my friend Katharina, who lives here — and I was blown away by how miraculously the place has recovered from near-total annihilation during WWII, and from a subsequent 45 years of Soviet rule.
Such is the life of a Eurail pass holder: today was another "day on the tracks" for me; this time, from Dresden to Munich. After saying goodbye to the terribly-located Herberge der Jugend hostel, this morning I packed up my stuff, and hopped on the tram into the city centre. I was hoping to catch the 11:56am train out of Dresden Hbf (central station): however, I didn't have a ticket to ride on the tram; and since it was my misfortune that a ticket inspector jumped on halfway through my journey, I had to rapidly jump off, and wait for the next tram. By the time I reached the station, I'd missed the train by an excruciating 2 minutes. Stupid biatch inspector!
Katharina is one of the many European travellers that I met, whilst backpacking down in South America. I must admit: until I met her again this evening, I'd kinda forgotten who she was, or where I'd met her. But seeing her again sparked the recollection that she's a fluent Spanish-speaking German girl, who volunteered for several months in Peru; and that I met her while chillaxing on the beach in sunny Máncora, in northern Peru. Katharina lives here in Dresden (where she's currently wrapping up her master's thesis in geography), and it was primarily to catch up with her that I came here.
The Herberge der Jugend, Dresden is an absolute last-resort accommodation option: I only stayed here tonight because every single other hostel in Dresden was full; don't consider staying here unless you're faced with a similarly dire predicament. It's a nice enough place: but it's more than ½ an hour from the city centre, and it's completely dead. Dresden has plenty of better hostels: do yourself a favour, book one of the others... and make your booking well in advance!