Leipzig Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
After my visit to Dresden one year before I decided to go back the former south DDR to have a look at the more western part. Again the flight was going via Frankfurt/Main. Only this time the wheather didn't cooperate. Due to heavy snowfall at Frankfurt airport I missed my connection to Leipzig. Lufthansa turned out to be very generous. At their costs a limousin service took me to Gravenbruch Kempinski in Neu-Isenburg, a luxurious hotel with lake view in the middle of a forrest. One o'clock at night roomservice brought me a delicious free dinner and next morning I could use sporting and relaxation facilities.
In Leipzig I stayed at "Haus Ingeborg", Nordstraße 58, only a 10 minutes walk from Europe's biggest train station. This was a simple, but central hotel. Problem was that my suitcase was missing, but Frau Feldmann was proud to tell me a few days later that it had been retrieved and delivered at the hotel (she must have been relieved as well that I could get on some clean clothes...). Leipzig is Germans number 1 (sorry, Frankfurt) Messestadt. If there's a fair, hotel prices can go skyhigh.
Leipzigs eye catcher is the Altes Rathaus (old town hall) on the Markt. It has a beautiful tower with baroque top and an arcade. The building originates from 1556, but was reconstructed in 1991. Opposite is the Alte Waage (old weigh-house), completely destoyed in 1943 and rebuilt 21 years later.
South east of the city lies the big and ugly concrete/granite Völkerschlachdenkmal, a monument of the battle which gave Napoleon a one way ticket to Elba.
Some 35 kms north west of Leipzig, and easily reached by train, lies the city of Halle. At the Markt are the main attractions: the big 5 towered Marktkirche, the town hall and the 84 m high Roter Turm (red tower). On a corner of the Große Nikolaistraße is the birth place of Händel. In 1531 cardinal Albrecht II built a castle along the river Saale. This building, the Neue Residenz, was in deplorable state when I visited Halle. Nicer was the castle Moritzburg, especially the inner court.
Going north from Leipzig I passed the heavily polluted area around Bitterfeld with its energy plants. Hold your breath, until you reach Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Again, the Markt is interesting.
On the river Zwikauer Mulde, 45 km s.e. of Leipzig lies a village, which had become well known because of a TV series in the early 70ies: Colditz. I was very impressed by the series (starring David McCallum and Robert Wagner, in 2005 refilmed with Damian Lewis and Jason Priestley), and had to see the castle where allied officers were hold imprisoned during WW II.
For the second part of my trip I stayed at the Hotel am Ring in Erfurt, a 17 stories apartment block in east-european style (if you can call this a style). Erfurt is a good point to see the places in Thüringen, but the city its self is also worth some time. Highlight is the Krämerbrücke, a bridge with houses aside. If you walk on it you're not aware that this actually is a bridge. It's is more interesting than the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Other places in Erfurt worth a walk: Augustinerkloster, Fischmarkt (with the nice fassade of the house "Zum Roten Ochsen"), Domplatz and the Petersberg.
East of Erfurt is Weimar, the city of Goethe and Schiller (they shake hands on the Theaterplatz). Both their houses can be seen in Weimar and so is Liszt's house. I had a lovely stroll in the Park an der Ilm with Goethe's garden house and the sinister atmosphere around the small ruins of the Tempelherrenhaus. From the city centre I took the bus to the Ettersberg, memorial site of the notorious KZ Lager (concentration camp) Buchenwald. The gate of the main entrance still show the words "Jedem das Seine". It was a very impressive location, where 56,000 people found there dead.
West of Erfurt is Eisenach, birthplace of Bach. Here was the production of the DDR car Wartburg (before worldwar II BMW!).