Crossing bridges with IKARUS: Newcomers’ bus tour through Dresden

Up until the very last minute we got application and cancellation e-mails, the waiting list was first long, then short and finally everyone could join the ‘premiere newcomers tour’ that the TU Dresden Welcome Center offered to international PhD students, Postdocs and guest researchers who have just arrived and wanted to get to know famous and secret spots both on campus and in the city. To make it unforgettable we booked a very special vehicle that was both an eye catcher for tourists along the way and for our internationals sitting inside. Our historic bus tour began with a short walk over the campus and finished in a cozy restaurant with good food and interesting chats.

We all met in front of the Zeuner Bau on the main campus where our tour guide Günter Kieb welcomed us, himself a former TU Dresden student and passionate Dresden citizen. He provided us with lots of interesting insights and anecdotes. For example, he showed us one of the oldest lecture halls, an interesting apparatus in the Zeuner Bau that shows differen types of transmission models and a bust of the mathematic and physician Prof. Hans Görges in the Görgesbau – rubbing his nose is supposed to bring good luck. We don’t know for sure if that really works, but you can always try, right? Everyone had a good laugh when our tour guide lead us along Mommsenstraße and told us that, during his time at the university, there were only three menu options at the canteen ‘Alte Mensa’: “You could choose menu one or menu two – or you could choose not to eat there at all.”

Once we were at the bus stop our historic tour bus arrived and off we went. The Ikarus 55 – that’s the specification of the bus – was built in 1966 in Hungary from where it had been imported by the GDR (German Democratic Republic, former so-called “East Germany”, existing from 1949 – 1990). Even the decoration inside the bus is still original from the1960s and 1970s. The bus tour included two stops: A brief one in front of the Semper Opera for a group photo, which you can see above and a second one where we had a surprise cake picnic at the river Elbe. The cake is a specialty here in Dresden and called ‘Eierschecke’ (it´s a custard-topped cream cheese-style cake). If you want to try and make it yourself, here you can find a recipe

Going through Dresden, we passed many famous buildings and our tour guide gave a brief overview over the city’s 800 years of history with lots of interesting facts. Did you know that the Townhall Tower was the only tower that survived the bombings when Dresden was almost completely destroyed 13/14 February 1945 in World War II? Or that the main police station is where it always had been in all those hundreds of years? Or that you’d have to swim about 660 km from Dresden to Hamburg?

Our tour concluded in Dresden Neustadt in ‘Wenzel Prager Bierstuben’ with delicious traditional Czech food. There we came up with lots of ideas about getting started in Dresden and getting connected to others quickly. And now we already put the first idea into practice and opened a Facebook group for all those who would like to get to know each other and find people who are as new to Dresden as you are. Join the group and have fun!


We would like to thank the Gesellschaft für Freunde und Förderer for their great support to make this event possible!

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