Last week, a group of researchers met in the early hours of the morning for what would be a full day of tourism in Freiberg and Seiffen, two cities which are not too far from Dresden.
The fun began when we met our guide and our driver who happened to be very enthusiastic people. The day was pretty cold, so much so that if hadn’t it been for our guide’s joy and radiation we all would have probably just slept throughout the whole bus trip to Freiberg. Luckily, we barely noticed the bad weather outside, as we were amused by the histories of the places we passed through in that picturesque countryside road.
We quickly arrived at the city of Freiberg for our first touristic spot: the ore mine. Probably no one in that bus was expecting to experience what was just about to come. A 150 meter ride down into the earth, that’s how far we got, but not before getting proper clothes, equipment and instructions for the underground adventure. For the ones with traces of claustrophobia or with just a little less courage in their veins, the scenario would’ve been quite scary. Especially when we got to that real old and small elevator (the sign saying max. 6 persons at a time meant 6 squeezed persons at a time in reality). The good news was that the ride into the deep ground was over quickly, and that apart from the old style of the construction, safety standards were extremely high.
Down there it was quite dark, wet, and muddy. We could choose between two different routes, a more easy going one and a more adventurous one. In the end, everyone was quite impressed with the experience, but also hungry. This is why we then took off to the city’s main Christmas market for a quick lunch. Between Punsches, Langos, Bratwurst, sweet Mandel and other sweets, we all got our batteries recharged for our next touristic spot. Once again, our guide knew just how to entertain us.
Arriving at the main street in Seiffen is like arriving in a city taken from a fairy-tale book from the Grimm’s brother, but crowded with 20th century people shopping in it.
We arrived at Eva Meyer’s manufactory, one of the many in this mountain region of Saxony called Erzgebierge (Ore Mountains). Here, Christmas takes the form of delicate wood hand-made figures. She introduced us to the manufacturing business of the traditional smoking manikin, which today takes the form of pretty much anything that could have smoke coming out of it. We had the opportunity to check it all, ask lots of questions questions and admire the final result in the collection of figures displayed in their shop. We even had some time for a short stop in the main street to feel the fairy tale atmosphere and enter one or two shops to do some Christmas shopping.
It was a trip full of Christmas spirit and apart from the touristic attractions, a mixed group of researchers, each bringing stories from all five continents, surely made the journey even more interesting.