Europe Trip 2010: Day 1, Flight to Dresden

So Andrew and I are off to Germany and Paris for two weeks this summer! We’re heading to Germany because there is a stem cell conference there that I will be attending, and after that we’ll explore some around Germany and Paris. The stem cell conference is the 3rd International Congress on Stem Cells and Tissue Formation in Dresden, Germany, from Sunday, July 11 to Wednesday, July 14th. I’m quite excited about it. So, we’re arriving in Dresden on Friday, July 9th, then taking a day to relax and recover from jet lag, as well as see some sites around Dresden. We’re leaving Dresden on Wednesday, July 14th after the conference to head to Munich for a few days – I’ve got a distant relative there we’ll visit, and the city itself has neat things to see. On Saturday the 17th we’ll leave Munich to go to Paris, where we’ll stay for the remainder of our trip until Thursday, the 22nd.

With that preface, here we’ll tell you all about the first day of our trip!

If you want to see all the pictures for Day 1, here is the link to the photo gallery.

We left Santa Barbara at 6:30AM, as the sun was rising. There was a layer of fog over the town and once the plane flew out over it it was quite beautiful – the fog looked like a field of snow!

From Santa Barbara we flew to Phoenix, where I tried out my new iPad’s ability to use WiFi at the airport and checked and wrote some email on it! We also really enjoyed the iPad on the plane, mainly for watching videos and playing some games – it’s been quite fun and slick.

From Phoenix, we flew to Phillidelphia and grabbed some dinner there. Amazingly, I think I had the best slice of Hawaiian pizza there that I’ve ever had – the tomato sauce was really well done. Once we got to our gate we unfortunately couldn’t find a power outlet by any chairs, so we stood/walked around an outlet on the wall in a big hallway to let our electronics charge for the long trans-Atlantic flight.

And then we flew to Frankfurt… it wasn’t really that long a flight – about 8 hours. Unfortunately, we couldn’t sleep too well on the plane (it was night when we left, but night it very short when you fly East!), so we were zombies in Frankfurt. But right away we noticed differences in American vs. German airports. First, we were a bit confused by the customs process, which doesn’t seem to exist – we got off the plane, and found our new gate, and went through security that was only for a couple gates (not the whole airport) and it was quite painless (didn’t need to take our shoes off!), and then we were near our gate and other shops. Also, the Frankfurt airport was much quieter than American airports (no constant loud announcements!) and when we boarded it was all announced by a (relatively quiet) recorded announcer. Much nicer than most American airports I’ve seen…

From Frankfurt, we flew to Dresden (only a half hour flight!), getting there about 2PM on Friday Dresden time (5AM California time) and continued to be zombies there, since we’d been more-or-less awake for about 24 hours by then. The Dresden airport is rather small (maybe only a bit bigger than Santa Barbara’s), but quite clean and looks new. Somehow, my luggage didn’t make it to Dresden (though Andrew’s did)… we waited at the baggage claim until everyone else had taken their bags. We then talked to “lost and found” and the very nice man there helped us fill out some paper work. He then found on their online system that my bag wasn’t “lost” after all but had been accidentally left in Frankfurt. That was a relief. He gave me a neat “women’s overnight kit” (including an XL t-shirt and hairbrush!) and my luggage made its way to our hotel about 11PM that night, which was great.

Anyway… from the airport we shuffled on to the subway (for less than 2 Euros each!). I just want to take a minute to say that the public transportation in Dresden (and probably most European cities like it) is amazing – trams and subways all over, every few blocks, get you anywhere you want to be in the city quickly for a few Euros – I don’t understand why public transportation in the U.S. is so, so far behind in most places…

Getting off the subway, we found it was super hot in Dresden. Apparently there’s been a heat wave (locals have told us it’s usually bad for about 10 days each summer) and it’s been in the 90s Fahrenheit, not getting much cooler at night. We’ve now learned to pick our paths according to the amount of shade they provide from nearby structures.

We got off the subway near the center of Old Dresden. A little bit of history on Dresden. Apparently the area has been lived in by Neolithic tribes since 7500 BC, although it was not “recently” settled until around 1100 AD and became a capital of the area in the 1200s AD. It’s remained a capital of sorts and a center of art for centuries, until World War II. The main city is divided into “new” and “old” Dresden by the Elbe river, with the “new” in the north and the “old” in the south. “Old Dresden,” which has most of the historic sites (including the Royal Palace and the site of the original church), was almost completely destroyed in 1945 by WWII air bombers, while “New Dresden” was barely touched by the bombers and remained largely intact, but has few historic buildings. After WWII “Old Dresden” was rebuilt, and the historic buildings were replaced as exactly as possible. Consequently, “Old Dresden” actually has a lot of rather new buildings, and is still rebuilding/constructing a lot to this day. (Here’s a map to help make it a bit clearer.)

All that said, we spent the first two nights in the heart of “Old Dresden,” really the tourist center of Dresden. We stayed in the “Aparthotel An der Frauenkirche,” which are hotel/apartment rooms with a kitchen (including refrigerator and silverware/plates/sink). It was really nice except it had no air conditioning, so we avoided our room during the day (which was fine since we wanted to explore the city anyway!). However, I think the view/surroundings made up for it – the hotels are on Munzgasse (a street lined with open-air restaurant seating, perfect for tourists – near #4 on the map link) and our window directly faced the most famous church in Dresden, the Frauenkirche (“Church of our Lady” – #8 on the map link and more on it in day 3)!

Also, musicians also often played right outside the window, by the church, and horse-drawn carriages for tourists were constantly clopping along the church too (the big dark building on the left is the church, and the lighter colored building is where our apartment is). It all created a very peaceful-sounding environment.

Part of the church from the other side of the plaza:

Although we were quite exhausted by the flight, we wanted to go out and see some of the town. We wandered around the couple blocks near the hotel to get our bearings. We went around the Royal Palace and saw the “Parade of Nobles Mural” that goes along the back of it (#10 on the map link)– basically a history of the nobles that ruled the area since the 1100s, but more on that in Day 2.

This also seemed to be about as far as the horse-drawn carriages went, which is only about a block from the central church. All around this area, and even further into town, there were musicians performing on street corners. Here are some groups right around the Royal Palace.

The Elbe River goes right by the Royal Palace and is quite scenic, as Andrew is appreciating here.

And then we realized we should eat something, even though we were super jet lagged and exhausted and not really hungry. We ate at a place right on Munzgasse, actually below our apartment room, and it was great, fairly authentic Bavarian food — Andrew got cabbage stuffed with beef and a quiche-thing, and I got duck and sausage stew. Sooo tasty, and amazingly not greasy! IMG_3392.JPG

As if dinner were not enough, we had to get ice cream afterward. Well, honestly, Andrew had to get ice cream for me — and how can you resist when there’s a little ice cream stall on every corner and sells a scoop of ice cream in a cone for just one Euro? Here’s my awesome hubbie at work.

And then we had to collapse in bed, after hardly having any sleep for something like 30 hours! In Day 2, we actually did more exploring of Dresden and its great museums — stay tuned for a good history lesson and more beautiful Baroque architecture from Dresden.

2 Responses to “Europe Trip 2010: Day 1, Flight to Dresden”

Ice cream for one euro! Amazing! And I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of music those street corner musicians are playing…. Classical? Something regional?
Thanks for the quick posting, despite your exhaustion!

Meg - July 11th, 2010 at 8:25 pm

The musicians were usually playing something Mozart or Beethoven (so classical, and pieces I recognized, and doing a beautiful job of it!) or something German I didn’t recognize. My favorites were a duet of two male violinists who must have been just in college and whose harmony quite lovely, and a solo trumpet player who was quite piercing. The same musicians came each day, and only stayed about 15 minutes at a time.

Teisha - July 11th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Leave a Response (or trackback on your own site)

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Welcome to Paradoxdruid's Rants... a community based webblog. Feel free to snag an account and post.

Contributors Login


My first first-author paper!

Just wanted to share that my first first-author paper is now online! In the journal Stem Cells and Development, here’s my paper on “Roles of Integrins in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Growth on Matrigel and Vitronectin.”

The Future of Scientific Publishing

Just read a fascinating (if lengthy) essay on disruptive technology and the future of scientific publishing. Well worth the read!


Just wanted to share’s Visual Guide to Deflation, which is quite explanatory.

All Things Stem Cell

Hey all Paradoxdruid readers! I recently started up a blog on stem cells that I’d love you all to take a look at:

Barely Literate: The Fermata

I participated in another Barely literate book review podcast, this time on Nicholson Baker’s “The Fermata”. Give it a listen!

Time for Change

Obama has outlined a strategy for America, in great depth. Read all about!

Free Rice

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s entirely possible that I am the last person to learn about this website*, but it’s really addictive. 


Site best viewed in Mozilla Firefox. Site CSS template by Andrea Pitschmann. Banner photo by photocase.