Today’s our 11th and final day in Dresden. We didn’t originally plan to stay here at all, but we’re so glad that we did as it’s a lovely place.
We’ve spent the past few days walking around town, as well as going further afield on the trams. The public transport here is superb: the trams and buses are modern and well maintained; the services run regularly throughout the day; and the fares are cheap (€9 for a one day travelcard for two people).
One afternoon we went to visit the former Stasi prison just outside of town, which was really interesting. One KGB officer, a certain Vladimir Putin, was stationed there when the Berlin Wall came down.
We’ve been round the shops a couple of times, and also had a bit of down time to do some laundry and route planning.
We’d been wondering why we’d seen so many Vietnamese restaurants in town. After a little research I found out that starting the 1950’s, the East German government began to invite Vietnamese students to the country to study which, over time, developed into a guest worker scheme. By the time the Berlin Wall came down there were over 60,000 Vietnamese people living in East Germany, but as they were guest workers rather than immigrants they were in limbo. The reunified German government offered these guest workers free flights to Vietnam and a cash lump sum, and some 50,000 of them left the country. Those who stayed were eventually given residency status and have integrated into German society. With so many Vietnamese restaurants, it would have been rude not to try one. We found one we liked the look of, which was full on a Monday night (always a good sign), and the food was excellent – so good that we had to book a table for a repeat visit last night!
Today is Good Friday, something the Germans seem to take very seriously indeed. All shops and supermarkets are closed, there are no Bundesliga football matches, the public viewing of ‘disrespectful’ films such as Life of Brian (and even Ghostbusters) is not allowed and, best of all, there’s a ban on dancing before 9pm, known as Tanzverbot, for which there’s a €1,500 fine, though I’d probably get fined that much for my ‘dad dancing’ anyway – Good Friday or not. Given the list of frivolous activities which aren’t allowed, I’m not sure that I should even be writing this blog update!
It’s been great coming back to Germany, a place that’s really grown on us on our travels, and we can definitely recommend the Dresden stellplatz to fellow motorhomers as it’s so well situated, and we’ve been really looked after by Seçil and the team in the hotel reception.
It’s time to move on now though, and we’ve had confirmation from the campsite in Wrocław that they’re now open, so tomorrow we’ll be heading there. Poland’s another country where we’ll need to acquire an On Board Unit for the road tolls, which we’re expecting to be rather painful as they will want proof of emissions class for the van – something that we don’t have – and they can apparently get quite fussy about it. Fingers crossed that the person we deal with has some common sense and exercises a bit of discretion.