Monday, May 6, 2013

May Day in Dresden

Early May brings two national holidays in the Czech Republic, each one typically falling in the middle of a week. It is a good time to take a day trip or head to the commissary in Grafenwoehr, since the crowds are smaller during the week. We decided to head to Dresden for the day, since it is a scenic two hour drive away.

Using our favorite series of European maps, USE-IT Europe, for Dresden, we plotted a series of things to do, mostly kid-friendly. USE-IT Europe is a collection of guides put together by local, "young people." It shows a different perspective than the typical travel guide.

Things We Thought We Could Do in Dresden with Kids:
1. Visit a Historic Cheese Shop
("cheese" would be our kids' middle names, if they could name themselves)
2. Go to the Dresden Castle Grounds
3. Take a Boat Ride on the Elbe
4. Ride the Train in Tivoli Gardens
5. Go to the Zoo in Tivoli Gardens
6. Go to the Deutsche Hygiene Museum
(or the better sounding Museum of Man)
7. Go to the Transportation Museum

Things we Ended Up Doing:
1. Ate Curry Wurst
2. Went to the May Day Festival

Dresden has a good Christmas Market, but we were surprised and happy to see a May Day festival in the center of town, complete with May Day pole dancing. We started off the day with an early lunch at Curry & Co in the Neustadt area of town. Sicily was fascinated by the holes in the table for the cones of fries. Alani was just fascinated by the fries.

Then the -festivaling- began with a children's ride area. "Festivaling" should really be a word, especially in this part of the world. In the Spring and Fall, it seems like you could almost find one every weekend.

The May Day festival is smaller than the Christmas Market, and less crowded as well. We were able to park right under Altmarkt Square, use the very clean public bathroom in the parking deck and take an elevator right up to the festival. Those conveniences are magic when you have two small kids.

Ferris wheel on the main square. You can barely see the festival booths behind it. I forgot to take pictures of the four rows of booths, main stage and may day pole.

Many people were enjoying wurst, fish and wine on the square. Sicily's choices were ice cream and running though a fountain. We did get to walk around the area a little. One of the most impressive sights was the F├╝rstenzug mural, a large mural with a mounted procession of the rulers of Saxony.

As in most tourist areas throughout Europe, there were several men posing as statues and dressed up as silver clowns, kings and what-not around the Dresden castle. One guy had a little more flair than normal. After Sicily dropped some coins in his hat, he combined an old school mime routine with a split and moon walking. Made the history a little more fun for the kids.


Aggie said...

love your posts, my husband is going to his third try with the state this year..let's see if the third will be the charming. We have two girls more or less same age as yours :)

Natalie Buda Smith said...

Hi Aggie,

Thanks so much. Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions!

- Natalie