My next stop was Dresden to visit Tim, the foreign exchanged student who lived with my family last year. Tim and his family were great about showing me around Dresden and some of the surrounding area. I learned that around Dresden is wine country and in season you can take a walk through the vineyards and do wine tastings! But I am getting ahead of myself. On my first evening, Tim showed me around the old city - everything from the Tourist Information Center to the location of Dresden's many museums. On my own the next morning, I explored the Christmas Markets - of course - and discovered another medieval market!! I also found the Pflaumentoffel, what I called Dried Plum Men, which are a traditional Christmas good luck charms in Dresden (they are supposed to be chimeny sweeps, though I thought they were supposed to be miners at first since Dresden was once all about mining). I also went into both the Catholic and main Protestant churches, both of which had been severely damaged in the bombing of Dresden in 1945, but both have been restored. The Frauenkirche was rebuilt using as many of the original stones as possible and
they even tried to put the stones back in their original places! That afternoon, when Tim and his mother were finished with their final day of school, we went to the Dresden Military Museum, which has recently been reopened. Now, I am not much of a museum person, but this museum was amazing. You could easily spend the entire day exploring this in-depth museum. We only had three hours. Starting with swords and chain mail we worked our way up to modern times, and it was actually the modern times that I found most interesting. Though normally I would gravitate toward the medieval stuff, the fact that Dresden was part of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) under Soviet control. Tim's mom explained what going to school was like - you could only learn English if you did well enough in Russian, you had a mandatory Russian Pen Pal that you had to write x amount of times a month - during the GDR. It was very interesting. In the modern Germany section, I even found a mention of Kosovo, from when German troops were sent here!
The next day, we traveled out into the countryside, through vineyards, and to
the small town of Moritzburg, home to a castle. That evening we went to a large outdoor service at the Frauenkirche - and I even knew some of the songs because we had sung them in choir just a few weeks previously!
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