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Learning about Leipzig

Phil and Sue Newdick continue their travels. Germany was not on their original itinerary but a flight home from Frankfurt led to a change of plans. Leipzig is their first port of call.

Leipzig was our first stop in Germany on this trip and it turned out to be another good choice.

Situated 185km southwest of Berlin, it has a population of almost 590,000. The 25 percent of the city destroyed in World War 2 was restored during the Communist regime.

Peaceful but massive demonstrations by citizens of Leipzig in late 1989, played a significant role in bringing an end to the Communist regime of East Germany.

Our well-appointed apartment was within comfortable walking distance from the railway station, which is the centre of the city. We had a minor hiccup — we hadn’t completely downloaded all the German map files and our GPS could not do its job. Opting to let Google offline take us to the address, the disadvantage of this, is that offline Google doesn’t do “walking”. It assumed that we were driving a car and kept directing us away from one-way streets, making us about 10 minutes late arriving at our Leipzig abode.

This was not a problem and our very kind hostess, with her English-speaking daughter, was waiting patiently for us.

The weather remained good. All up we had experienced about a fortnight of continuous fine days, with temperatures in the mid-20s and lows which did not drop below 17C. As we were getting into the northern autumn and travelling generally north it really was quite mild.

Germany, like most of our stops, seems to be going through major redevelopments both in building and roading. There are places where this construction makes pedestrian travel a bit hazardous, but generally the drivers are very courteous — pity the same cannot be said of the cyclists. The footpaths are supposedly shared with them, but they seem to think that they own the footpaths.

Compact, laid-backLeipzig was a pleasant surprise, the modern designs blending well with the older restored buildings. The city is compact and very walkable, with a very relaxing laid back atmosphere. The people we met were patient and friendly.

The railway station although of older design has a very modern layout, with substantial shopping in its confines.

We had been having a few problems with our camera and had almost given up hope of getting any technical help with it.

We found a camera shop complete with an English- speaking Brazilian who was completely familiar with Canon cameras.

He offered several suggestions which involved a fairly large amount of money changing hands and more baggage for us to carry. We finally opted to just replace the lens that was giving the trouble. However, we took away the information he gave us and may upgrade at a later date.

Saturday in the Market Square there was so much happening, just about every sort of music being played and people milling around. The local football team was encouraging support for the Saturday night game though we never did find out who they were playing, or which team won the match.

Yours truly got involved with a religious group in the Market Square and performed a couple of numbers with them, gospel and country, it all just seemed so natural.

Germany had not been high on our wish list of places to see, it was only our decision to fly home from Frankfurt that took us there. But what we were experiencing so far made the next leg to Hamburg the following day something to really look forward to.





SIZEABLE: The Mende Fountain in front of the Leipzig University Church, located at Augustusplatz, the city’s largest square. Pictures by Phil and Sue Newdick
JAMMING: Phil joins country and gospel music in the Market Square.
WATERWORKS: The Palm Garden Weir allows the water level in the Elster Canal to drop about two metres, from 106.9 metres above sea level to 104.4 metres above sea level . The road crosses the 50m-long 5m wide weir. which was built between 1913 and 1917.
BACK TO LIFE: The Federal Court House was constructed between 1888 and 1895 About one third of the building was destroyed during World War 2. Following restoration, it was re-opened in 1952 as a fine arts museum. Between 1996 and 2001, the building underwent extensive renovation. Since 2002, it has been the seat of the Federal Court.
GOING TO THE ZOO: The Congress Hall Leipzig is an event building with several halls next to the entrance to the Leipzig Zoo. It was inaugurated in 1900 as the society house of the zoo, but was unoccupied for many years. Extensive renovations began in 2001 and were completed in 2015.
REPURPOSED: The Old Stock Exchange was built in the 17th century. The building was completely renovated from 1992 to 1995. Today the hall is used for a variety of gatherings, primarily musical and literary events.