We called it the “Schicksal Trip” but that’s because we all spoke a decent amount of German and knew that Schicksal meant Destiny. I intend for you to learn a few German vocab words while reading this post. Maybe this is me being artsy fartsy or maybe it is the graduate instructor inside of me trying to claw her way out in preparation for next week. I don’t know. Enjoy.
It all started because the Deutsche Bahn is NOT as punctual (pünktlich) as they would have the world believe. I had far better luck with trains in Italy. I don’t know where either country got their rep. Anyways, I digress. We packed our bags full of clothes, beverages, and acne cream. Or at least I did. We left from Heidelberg Main Station (Hauptbahnhof… even for non-German speakers… “main station” don’t sound raaaht) and made our way to our first and only connection (Umstieg!) in Frankfurt. The train in Frankfurt was 15 minutes late. All the trains everywhere were 15 minutes late.
We got on our train and arrived 15 minutes late to all subsequent stops the train had to make. That meant that we ended up at a train station in BumFuckGermany right when THIS WAS HAPPENING:
A fireworks show. The grand finale, to be exact. A fireworks show grand finale that we got to watch from the train!
We arrived in Leipzig around 10 PM and made our way to Moritzbastei & Cafe Barbakane, a very quick and easy walk from the train station. The place is mostly a cellar, which I am really into, and a portion of it was actually once part of the old city wall which students dug out in the 1970s. The music that night left something to be desired, which was sad considering there were two different rooms to dance in. Still don’t regret going. Still recommend it to anyone who goes to Leipzig.
After checking in to our hostel, we attempted to sleep. We woke at 10 AM and didn’t come home until 5 AM the following day. I present to you: “How to have practically my exact fun and informative trip in Leipzig!”. Shorter title coming soon.
1. Have a coffee at “Coffe Baum”. This means Coffee tree in German except, actually, in German coffee is “kaffee” but they got the Baum part right. So it’s… yea it’s coffee tree. If you stay at the Say Cheese hostel in Leipzig, which you should, all you have to do is walk out and take a left and it’s right there. You can have a cappuccino, or you can have the Mexican coffee which you should because MEXICAN!
2. Go to the Zeitgeschichtliches Museum. It is a TOTALLY FREE (frei, gratis, you name it) museum about the rise, fall, and shitty life in the GDR. The museum is so huge, you really would need to revisit it at least 3 times to give everything the time it deserves. It is packed with information and things to see and the tour guides, most of whom lived in the GDR, are more than happy to follow you around (ahem) and make sure you get the full experience. I started having a panic attack towards the end because I realized I just couldn’t see everything, and I wanted to. They even had a former Stasi creeper mobile and television spying station set up and it was playing real videos they had recorded. Amazing.
3. Have a quick drink at Auerbach’s Keller to forget the mind-bogglingly interesting but also mildly depressing things you just witnessed in the Zeitgeschichtliches Museum. Auerbach’s Keller was frequented by Goethe and is the background for several scenes in “Faust”.
4. Cross the street and you will arrive at the Goethe statue!
5. Go to Thomaskirche and see the Bach statue… then go inside where his sarcophagus is kept. Bach was a cantor in the Thomaskirche from 1723-1750. There is also a Bach museum if you are still not overwhelmed from the Zeitgeschichtliches Museum.
6. You really must have a drink at the Biergarten unter der Löffelfamilie. This means beer garden under the spoon family. There is a building that now appears to be unused with a gigantic neon sign with a family eating with spoons, and the beer garden is in the (former parking lot?) next to it. Hilarious and fun.
7. Go to Flower Power for drinks and amazing music! Classics all night! Amusing 60s and 70s style decorations–there was even a cow going around the ceiling on some sort of cleverly designed contraption. When you leave in the early morning, there is a guy outside selling yummy bratwurst and the cabs are lined up and ready. You can’t lose.
Before you leave Leipzig the next day, if your trip was a 2-nighter like mine, you have to go visit the Monument to the Battle of the Nations (Völkerschlachtdenkmal) where Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Leipzig. Très intéressant!
Finally, catch your train home or away, and if you are lucky and take the German fast train, the ICE, you might be leaving from none other than….
Ich wünsche Ihnen der Heidenspaß!