For us, there is a cocktail of emotions when we arrive in a new city, and anxiety is the main ingredient until we find our booked accommodation.  And so it was when we got off the train last night; a new city, a new country, no wifi for me, and a minuscule amount of battery on Gary’s phone.

Check in for our apartment was in Münzgasse Street, a street connecting the Frauenkirche with the Elba River; the church (Kirche) was a visual guide the further we walked.  Although three hours earlier our packs had been uncomfortably heavy, now, with a hint of fear in the mix, we strode unencumbered, and around 10pm we found our street and it was alive with eateries and the Eating.

Our apartment was accessed from behind the restaurants in a dark car parking courtyard where every dark recess seemed occupied by smoking cooks and kitchen hands.  That had a flavour, but our reaction to our home for two nights surpassed any previous first impression: very hot & airless; furniture of many eras and appropriate for the tip shop; a small low coffee table in a decent size lounge area with limited sockets; a kitchenette made more ‘ette’ by a wall dividing the space, and dominated by distinctive cupboards and a cafe style small table with two chairs, unusable in that space; an enormous bathroom with corner bath and hand held shower and an angled pull down blind to keep showering contained; an unremarkable bedroom although the wardrobe with huge hanging capacity but insufficient coat-hangers needs a mention, and the view – yes the view into that courtyard – sound-well, back-of-restaurant space – didn’t quite match the balcony overlooking the Square I’d been imagining.

But it was clean, smelt fine, and has proved most conveniently situated – and furniture can be rearanged; the cafe table en route to the bathroom and with access to a lonely socket works for me.

The euphoria of arrival made for happy and hungry chappies and we headed out to ‘our’ street expecting kitchens to be closed but still serving beverages.  An hour later we’d eaten a meal and downed beer and wine and enjoyed people watching; almost every couple walking past us was holding hands.  There was great joy and serenity in this picture.  We’ve adopted this ‘holding hands’ model when promenading.

We’d arrived in Dresden; a city Gary had selected as a ‘must see’.