Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Eve in Dresden - Silvester

So we got back in Dresden from our short visit back home. After we arrived at the airport we took a train ride back to the Dresden Hauptbahnhof, which is about a mile+ walk to our apartment. Before the doors even opened to let us out of the train station we heard a large bang (like an m80s or larger firework, m80s are very loud and dangerous) and echoed through the train station. At first we were a bit shocked but then after many more large explosions we remembered that it was New Years eve and the tradition is that everyone blows off fireworks.

The walk from the train station to our apartment was equally interesting as people seem to like to throw fireworks anywhere and even seem to like them to go off at others feet. I didn’t mind the small ones but have to admit that a lot of them seemed to be m80’s or larger so we stayed ahead of the larger crowds where this seemed to happen. They also like to launch the fireworks that go up and explode, not bottle rockets but big fireworks and they were constantly exploding over the crowds. This seemed a bit unsafe and took a bit of time to get accustomed to this. We finally made it back to our apartment however the combination of large ground explosions and aerial explosions continued till after 3:00 am.

At a little after 11:00pm I decided I should check out the celebration as I was curious about the fireworks at midnight, I had heard they have an impressive show, and thought it would be my only chance to see a big New Year’s celebration (with a big count down and all) and it was a ½ mile from our apartment. So I went out by myself to observe.

New Years in Germany is Crazy! People toting packages of large rockets and large fireworks and lighting them off in crowds was very common. I assured myself that the odds of being hurt are low as I walked through the explosions above and below. I am sure there are some injuries and noticed some medic stations near the crowds but I wasn’t going to let this deter me.

The big celebration was at the theater platz in front of the Semperoper and it cost 4 euros to get in. At first I stood outside the pay area and thought that would be a good place to watch, along with a lot of other people. But after about 10 minutes of being in the crossfire of the fireworks and seeing a aerial launch hit the hofkirche and shoot down in the crowd before exploding and a large m80 going off in a crowd of people as the people yelled in the explosion, I quickly noticed that in the pay area there seemed to be no fireworks launched by people (as I later learned it was not permitted in the pay area). I quickly paid the 4 Euros and took refuge in the party.

Video from just outside the party, you see i am not making this up: (when he pans to the left this is the hofkirche area that i am talking about, you can see the outline of the hofkirche)

The party was great with a stage that had live music, a countdown clock and lots of celebrators. It was a lot of fun watching and I wished Melissa came with. At new years they had an impressive fireworks show with balloons and spotlights. After some singing and a few new years kisses (just kidding) i decided head home. On the way back going by the Hofkirche I had to hurry again through the demilitarized zone where again fireworks we all over and a few small fires were started. Just before I got to my door I saw David and Melissa were just returning from their own adventure as the fireworks at midnight had awaken them and they decided to look around but only for a little bit as they felt a bit overwhelmed.

The demilitarized zone near the Hofkirche - notice the fireworks above and the crowds below:

The party from outside, notice no fireworks, i decided to pay:
The main statue in front of the Semperoper:

Countdown right before midnight:


Fireworks about to start:

Fireworks show!!!

Balloons launching:


The DMZ on the way back, check out all the spent fireworks:

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