Christmas Markets in Dresden

Booth decoration

Saturday morning early we started out in Prague. 5 people in a car and 4 on the train. The destination was the city of Dresden in Germany.

With Christmas fast approaching a trip was organized (Thanks to Sarah and Michael etc.) to check out the city and its legendary Christmas Market. The Christmas market in Dresden has existed since 1434 so its one of the oldest around. On every corner throughout the city booths offers Christmas decorations and other knick knack but more importantly glühwein and all sorts of delicious foods.

Loads of people at the market

After the Christmas market we continued on through the city. First through the Altstadt which is dominated by the newly restored Frauenkirche. The church was bombed during World War II and wasnt resurrected until 2005.Very beautiful both inside and out.

Dresden Frauenkirche

Later in the day we went to Neustadt on the other side of the River Elbe where a whole different revitalization is taking place. What used to be a run down area is now a busteling neighbourhood with loads of kneipen (pubs), cafes and cozy shops. A really cool place with a nice atmosphere, interesting people and buildings and businesses. Here is a picture from the Kunsthof Passage which is 5 backyards connected filled with shops and creative architecture. Have a look at these pictures to see what Im talking about. Here we are at a glühwein booth at one of the backyards under the stars and red laterns:

Kunsthofpassage

Neustadt was also where our hostel was so we checked out the shopping, dinning and a drinking here before calling it a day. We had a really nice dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. Here is the whole table (sans me).

Happy, hungry people

The next day we walked some more in the town, did some Christmas shopping, saw the church from inside and headed back to Prague.

Thanks guys for a nice weekend!

Weekend in Lisbon

A week ago (before the Euro08) Femi, Mehmet and me took an extended weekend in Lisbon. We didnt really know much about the city before we arrived but we were very pleasantly surprised.

The atmosphere was really nice and everybody seemed like they took it very laid back. We followed suit and took it easy the days we were there. The picture at the top is from Praa do Comrcio (Commerce Square) where they had put up a maybe a hundred plastic trees decorated by school classes. On the picture Mehmet is taking a nap in the forest. Behind him you can see the Arch linking the Commerce Square and Augusta Street. After the nap Mehmet was up again.

Mehmet's jump

All over the city they had these violet trees which we thought were lavender (but please correct us if you can). Here its in Alfama the area with winding roads leading up to the citys castle.

Violet tree in Alfama

Many of the houses had tiles on the facades and it was impressive to see all the different colors and patterns they have come up with. A lot of the tiles even seemed quite old and hand made.

Tiles on the facade

We stayed at a hostel in the part of the city called Bairro Alto which a quite, sleepy neighbourhood during the day and turn into a block party at night with hordes of people at night.

Walking around Baixa
Crowds in Baixa

It was a quick trip but Lisbon is definitely worth the recommendation. After I got back I found this pretty cool pieces:

Lisbon has no idea how cool it is. The city lives in the shadow of Europes superstar capitals, unaware of its own modern charms.
- New York Times

Us at the castle

A bunch more Lisbon pictures at Flickr