To be honest I did not do much research before going to Dresden. Chesa just told me that her colleague was kind enough to lend his family's apartment to us the whole weekend. When Chesa asked if I wanted to go, I just agreed to it without even knowing where Dresden is exactly. I just remembered that there was a band back in early 2000 called The Dresden Dolls and of course a little history, but that's about it. Chesa told me to search for cool places to eat but I literally hit the "submit" button at work and ran to the airport that day I left for Rome to Copenhagen. After stopping over some countries, I finally arrived in Berlin where Chesa was waiting for me. I was so excited to see my best friend because it's been a little over a year since I last saw her. I almost forgot to pick up my bags as I ran out the gate until she yelled at me to turn around and pick them up. I managed to bring a live grasshopper from Copenhagen that probably clung onto me while I was frolicking in the grass before I headed to Berlin. I promise I did not mean it.
Next early morning we started to head out to Dresden by bus. I was very much dazed from not sleeping for almost 3 days straight (without exaggeration) but my excitement quickly overrode my tiredness. It would later on bite me when I came back to Berlin. I had no idea where we were going so I just followed Chesa wherever she went. That's one thing I quickly found out about Berlin-- it's awfully difficult to get around. Not a lot of people will willingly help you. However, once you get to Dresden, it's entirely different. It's like stepping into a different country with different people. Everyone was very friendly and will go out of their way to help you out.
Our game plan was to explore Dresden in the afternoon then go to Bastei the next day since most of the stores are closed. I'm proud to say that Chesa and I walked around 18 miles that afternoon. Besides little tips and info from her colleague, we pretty much did not know what we were seeing and did not really know where we're going. Just plain exploring. I later on found out from one of my German colleagues that I failed to see the Daniel Libeskind buildings there, but it's okay because those of us who know his work will know why. We explored the old part of Dresden and to be honest, we did not know much about it at all but even without prior knowledge, it's quite captivating as is.
We then walked all the way to the Great Garden which is a huge baroque style park. We were ready to give up because we were at our 18th mile on our feet but it was pretty worth it to just see it. I'm not sure if it's just us tired city folk who rely on public transportation and bikes but the locals had no problem walking many miles with their families to the center of the park where all the action was. I guess it's the same with Central Park in NYC but people usually go there via subway then walk. I envied all the longboarders who whizzed past us.
We were pretty much beat by the time we saw the garden so we took the train back straight to our flat. We then read more about Dresden and its history. No dinner, just passed out right away... At 20.00. We're old ladies. We needed enough rest for the hike the next day anyway.