Let loose in Leipzig (Part one)

The problem with Berlin is that it’s just too much fun. Not that that’s much of a problem most of the time; it just makes leaving it, even for a short time, very difficult. However, I’m determined to start seeing a little bit more of the country over the next few months, and until the summer, this will probably take the form of some day trips, or weekend breaks.

First on the list was Leipzig and amazingly, I made it there last Sunday, only one day later than originally scheduled. (Blame Friday night for that one.) At 9.15, the bus rolled up at Alexanderplatz, our tickets were checked by the jovial driver, and at 9.30 on the dot, we were off.

Unfortunately, this is where I fail a little as a “travel writer”. I’d love to give you a flowery description of the scenic landscape we passed but I fell asleep and only woke up as we hit the outskirts of Leipzig. Instead I’ll say that there were probably some fields and trees and villages and let you visualise that in all its stunning glory…

Done? OK, moving on. After a 2.5 hour nap, there’s nothing I like more than a good feed so I took a stroll into the city centre in search of food. It was dry, if a little overcast, but I figured if it stayed like that all day, I would be pretty lucky, this being the end of January and all. My second breakfast decision was made as soon as I noticed an option on the chalkboard outside Central Café…

20150125_121931[1]Because, you know, sometimes you just have to…

Am I right?
Am I right?

The café was cute and cosy, and the service friendly and efficient. To my delight, they had Flammkuchen on the menu, so I ordered that, a cup of tea, and a white wine – because I was on holiday.

Though a little on the small side, the Flammkuchen was delicious and everything was going down a treat – until I noticed the couple sitting not far from me. Every time she spoke, he stared so intensely and lovingly at her lips, I thought he was going to eat her. It was slightly off-putting to say the least. Luckily, the drunkest man in the world walked in at that point and I kept myself entertained with the thought that he’d have to pick up his breakfast with his face, as his arms were firmly bound behind his back in the jacket he was struggling to take off. As I was leaving they were playing the song, “Lick my neck, my back, my pussy and my crack…”, which I thought was a little inappropriate for Sunday brunch but hey, this is Germany.

Unfortunately, the Leipziger I’d met in the queue for the loo at a hippie/hipster (who knows?) commune the weekend before had bailed on me, so I was on my own on the mean streets of Leipzig. I managed to take one cheery sunny photo before the sleet/hail/snow/rain that would last the rest of the day kicked in.

Sun. In Germany. In January.
Sun. In Germany. In January.

Leipzig is yet another of those cities that is dubbed the “mini-insert random city here” – in this case, “mini-Paris”. But don’t judge me – it was Goethe who said it first, back in his student days at Leipzig University. For a relatively small city, Leipzig actually packs quite a punch on the famous dead guy scene – Johann Sebastian Bach was a choirmaster here, Mozart and Mendelssohn both performed here, and Wagner was born here in 1813.

I first passed Nikolaikirche, but there was a service going on at the time and I’m banned from those now so I couldn’t go in.

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In the absence of my hippie/hipster buddy, I’d printed out a page from the Frommer’s website which said that one of the best things to do in Leipzig was explore the Art Nouveau arcades that thread the old part of the city. As that sounded warm, I was convinced.

20150125_121556[1]

The most impressive of these passageways, by far, is the Mädler Mall, adorned with chandeliers, and home to the famous Auerbachs Keller, the setting for one of the scenes in Goethe’s Faust. Sculptures of some of the characters pique your curiosity about visiting the restaurant downstairs.

A quick look at the price-list, however, confirmed that I would not be eating there. Maybe it was cheaper in Goethe’s day.

I exited into the market square, which was market free on that day, but still very pretty, even in the gloom.

20150125_135427[1] 20150125_135601[1]

The Old Town Hall is now home to the City History Museum, so I made a mental note to come back and visit a bit later, and carried on. I was not disappointed.

20150125_135856[1]

YES! It was just what I’d always wanted! A shop selling eyes – and more! Thankfully, it was Sunday and the shop was closed. Otherwise I fear I would have purchased a load of eyes I really have no use for – and possibly more. Thank you Germany for your sensible Sunday shop closures.

Part two coming soon… (unless the Leipzig Tourist Board stops me)

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87 thoughts on “Let loose in Leipzig (Part one)”

  1. I love Leipzig but you missed two very important historical monuments — the Stasi Museum (creepy creepy) and the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig/Opera/Square between the two. So much of the fall of the DDR happened there, it’s worth a second trip (and this time, stay at the Penta Hotel… it’s great, despite their sexist bathroom signs).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s some sort of nudist lake near Dresden. I’ve been there and I just couldn’t. I’m far too British, so I wore a yellow bikini instead and tried to blend in.Imagine the looks. The first person that I met nude coming towards me was a very old wrinkly man. My eyes burned. BURNED!
        You should check it out!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. i don’t either. German stoicism n’ all that. “Do it properly or don’t do it at all.” They say.
            I suffer in this country. Having to look at nude bodies all the time while I hang on discretely to my towel, blanket, bikini, clothes, dignity. Even a “full massage” was an uncomfortable issue. Not so much the back part of me but the front…! People just whip everything off. You don’t even have to go to Dresden, plenty in Berlin. Tiergarten? Nudism a plenty. The lakes in Zelendorf? Happy families merrily swimming nude. On the other hand, German people don’t find Benny Hill or the “Carry On” films in the least interesting.
            ‘Can’t blame them in the least LOL! 🙂 :9

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            1. Ha, well I guess when everything is in full view, there’s not much titillation going on! Don’t think I’ll ever forget the Benny Hill theme tune though 😉 Such a ridiculous show!

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          1. Leipzig is absolutely fine its Dresden and smaller eastern german cities Id be more worried about. in Leipzig people are nice, its very touristy, so go there but make sure you pick a sunny weather day otherwise youll be miserable

            Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a Flammkuchen 🙂 Dough on the bottom, creme fraiche, onions and lardons – yummy 🙂 There are lots of different varieties though! This is the classic one 🙂
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarte_flamb%C3%A9e
      And that’s not true! I always take lots of photos when I visit new places – I can’t help it that Germany is more photogenic than LV 🙂 There were a lot of nice pics in your post though! “The Russian does Riga” heh heh – bet you’re sorry you did now 😉

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        1. I love onions so there was no picking off for me – mushrooms, on the other hand, would have formed a little graveyard at the side of the plate 🙂
          Nah, I know you’re not sorry. I was just thinking of how much the Latvians “loved” your post 🙂

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            1. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t! The Englishman in Latvia recently did a really positive interview with one of the online portals there – and got the same treatment!

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  2. Love all the musical folk who spent time there! And I am with you on the sleep thing. Sometimes I try to sleep in the car when we are taking a trip and hubby wakes me up and makes me look at the scenery….yes….just like you do to an 11 year old. And I enjoyed your “travel writing” style.

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    1. Usually I can’t sleep when I travel so I was really surprised! I just closed my eyes for a few minutes while we were in traffic in Berlin 🙂 And awww, your hubby is so cute 🙂 Even if you probably want to kill him at the time 😉

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      1. yes….for sure I want to kill him. Usually it IS beautiful scenery….but stuff I have seen 1000 times. But ok…..yes…the truth is, I never get sick of the same scene over and over…..I go nuts for the sunsets from my balcony every night….so I guess I should be more nice to him next time he does that…..see? your blog is having such a positive impact on my marriage…. 🙂

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  3. I’m sure this is brilliant writing as always Linda; but I never managed to get past the ”flammkuchen”. I did read that single word about 72 times over though …
    One of the unfortunate side effects of my recent abstinence from gluten seems to be a fixation with wheat-related words.
    Could you write about pasta, cakes or brot in Part II please?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I might try again in summer 🙂 I checked the forecast a couple of days beforehand and it said cold but clear. So much for the forecast! And why does every city want to be Paris!?

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      1. I know right. in russia people have a habit comparing every beautiful landscape to switzerland. as if there are no other beautiful places. the occupied region of abkhazia was advertized to me as “switzerland of the black sea” and Ive also heard of a few “switzerlands” in siberia so yeah. oh if only those people would have as much love for work as they do for imperialism… than one day maybe someone would have referred to his country as “siberia of the south”.

        btw what prevents germans from calling Paris “the bigger version of leipzig”?

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        1. Ha ha! Maybe we can get that started along with hoch fünf 🙂 Yeah, Sigulda was the ‘Switzerland of Latvia’ – I haven’t been to Switzerland but I doubt it somehow 😉

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  4. You’re an excellent tour guide! I’ve already learned to A) stay away from the Eyes…and More shop, B) hippies/hipsters can be unreliable, and C) Leipzigers are fascinated by lips. Quite valuable information, I’d say.

    Does it seem odd to anyone else that bars are open on Sundays but supermarkets are not?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the people have to go somewhere 🙂 And I, for one, am very grateful as if you’ve forgotten to do your shopping, you can always go to a bar and eat!
      I think the lip guy was actually Italian 🙂 He was speaking English to the girl but he was definitely not a German!

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      1. the eyes and more was probably about glasses and contact lenses but it sounds like a shop for body parts.. creepy

        in general germans are pretty good at english but they do have strange titles and translations sometimes

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    1. Ha ha, yeah, it was lovely! And that’s only the 14th biggest city in Germany – when I think about the 2nd biggest in Latvia… 😉
      Hippy/hipster was a total cutie 🙂 We were at a concert at this commune place that only had one toilet so it was pretty easy to get talking to people! He’s from Leipzig but was in Berlin for the night. I said I was going to Leipzig the following weekend… we exchanged numbers… but unfortunately, he decided to go back to Berlin again – the place is irresistible 😉 We’re on for next time though!

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    1. Ha ha! Thanks! A friend gave it to me as a present in Riga and it just had to come to Berlin with me 🙂 There’s always a use for a ‘Carpe that fucking diem’ t-shirt 🙂

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  5. What!? The shops are closed on Sunday? But isn’t that just for those who pay religion taxes? You who are Godless should not have to suffer such indignities. Ha! It amazes me what history lies in Europe. i bet most of those buildings you pictured were there before there was even a city on north America, let alone a history of hundreds or thousands of years. I was watching a Tv show called Salvage from Wales the other day. They go around to old buildings and such and collect and sell antiquities. They took a trip to Ireland and stopped at one old farm in a rural area. The spoke with the farmer and asked how long his family had been there and he replied that they had settled this land in 1200 AD and had worked the same farm ever since. Dear god, time lines like that don’t even exist over here in N.America.

    Pretty amazing stuff Linda. Thanks for the tour – I look forward to part 2.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Paul! It was getting a bit wordy so I decided to make it a two-parter 🙂 Really beautiful historic city though. A quick Google reveals that church was built in about 1165 🙂
      And yes, the shopping thing takes a bit of getting used to! Restaurants, bars and smaller shops (called ‘drink markets’!) are open but supermarkets and all other shops are closed. I’ve been left breakfast-less on many a Sunday having forgotten to go to the supermarket on Saturday!

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    2. hi.. Leipzig is absolutely fine its Dresden and smaller eastern german cities Id be more worried about. in Leipzig people are nice, its very touristy, so go there but make sure you pick a sunny weather day otherwise youll be miserable

      Like

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