After a few days of no reliable internet, I promise I’m still alive! Robin and I said goodbye to cottage country as we took
the train three trains to Leipzig. Snooping through Trip Advisor gave us an idea as to what to expect for the city, but nothing prepared me for the sheer beauty of it. We arrived quite late to our last-minute Airbnb (thanks Toni!) Monday night, so we had a quiet evening as we recharged from the train hopping to prepare our legs for what would be two days of crazy amounts of walking. Indulging in one of the most delicious döners I’ve ever experienced definitely helped with lulling me into a food-coma-induced sleep. Seriously though, if you’re near the Anger-Crottendorf area, go to Beirut Bistro – the döner is unreal.
10 hours of sleep later, it was time to explore Leipzig! Unfortunately we couldn’t find any free walking tours of the city, so we relied on Trip Advisor and some suggestions from our lovely Airbnb host Toni, and off we went! Despite staying in a more eastern neighbourhood, it only took us about 20 minutes to walk into town. Leipzig is filled with renaissance and baroque styled architecture, and we found out that 2015 marks the city’s 1000 year anniversary of when it was first documented. Sure makes me (and Canada) feel like babies! The city itself has undergone a fair amount of destruction, with the 1813 Battle of Leipzig and both of the World Wars. However, the damage the city suffered was sporadic rather than centralized, making it easier to repair. It also became one of the major cities of Eastern Germany when it was divided, and it is now an economic center for the country.
As the city center itself is quite small (approximately 1.5km to get from one side to the other), it’s very easy to walk around and navigate. Using Trip Advisor as our guide, we wandered semi-aimlessly through the beautiful streets, with our first destination being the market place. Unfortunately we arrived a little too late to enjoy in the market itself, but it would be a place to easily spend an hour or two enjoyed some delicious treats from the food stands or to get some groceries from local farmers. Once the square was cleared, you could get a better look of the Alt Rathaus that has been turned into shops and a museum or two.
We also wandered around to see a few of the famous churches, including the Thomaskirche. A Lutheran church, you may recognize it as this is where Johann Sebastian Bach was the director of music. To this day Bach’s remains can be found within it as they were moved here in 1950 after the destruction of the Johanneskirche during World War II. This church is over 500 years old, but a church has stood on this location since the 12th century according to archeological excavation. With incredibly high ceilings and a beautiful organ, you can tell the acoustics would be amazing within it as soon as you step in. During the summer months organ concerts are held Friday and Saturday evenings so if you’re ever in town, look it up and see if you can attend!
Another beautiful landmark to check out is the Nikolaikirche, which is unlike any other church I’ve seen. Built in 1165, the church is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic as an addition was built to extend the size of it. The organ here is also beautiful, and is an example of the romantic style of organ-building in Europe. I find it really intriguing as I’ve never seen colours like this in a church before, which almost gives it a sort of art deco feel.
Afterwards we decided to pick a spot to relax as it was a hot but gorgeous day, and right at the edge of the market square there’s a restaurant, bar, and music club called Spizz. They have a huge patio, and an awesome assortment of beers, drinks, and their food is delicious! It can be a little on the pricey side, but there are cheaper options that are quite filling! We had their goulash (€12) and their baked veggies (€6), along with a Hefeweizen… mixed with Fanta! May sound like an odd combo, but for someone who likes drinks a little on the sweeter side, it was great for me.
Leipzig is a beautiful city worth spending a few days exploring. Unfortunately we only ventured towards the central neighbourhood, but there are many other attractions out side the city that are worth exploring. On my next visit, I’ll definitely be heading towards the canals and some of the parks on the outskirts! It’s also about 2.5h from the Polish border, so its worth a stop if you’re in the vicinity!