September 3rd, 2008 – by: Stevie_Wes
The slightly incongruous architecture of the main cathedral in Halle town centre.
Halle. Halle? What to say about Halle? It is a town in what was formerly East Germany, a certain number of miles south (I think?) of Leipzig. I only know it, and have only travelled here late last night as it has been home for my friend Nick for the last 18 months or so. Nick’s a pal who goes back a fair long way. Following through university in Birmingham in beyond he had the dubious pleasure of living with me for 7 years!! I don’t think he’s too scarred by the experience :)
Yesterday in Berlin was a looong, tiring day on the feet.
I believe it has bequeathed me my first blister of my journey. I feel it’s all down hill without a chiropodist in sight from here on in! So basically Halle is refuge with a familiar face for me. Recovery time. Nick has a very pleasant, spacious and well-appointed flat all to himself…especially since he and his partner split up on Saturday. Poor lad. I hope it had nothing to do with my imminent arrival :) Trouble-maker in town. Either way, comfortable surroundings for Stevie for two nights.
We spend the day strolling around town. I visited last year too and it’s nice to be back in the extremely spacious central town square with it’s vibrant food market and café and restaurant culture. All is overlooked by the imposing and slightly architecturally incongruous main church.
Apparently the result of two separate church buildings having been later joined together.
We have a passable salad lunch and beer at Café Noo and then head out of the town centre towards and through the sprawling greenfield surroundings of Peißnitz Park. A pleasant stroll. Wooded paths. Open lands and the turnings and tributaries of the Saale River. A family of curious cousins to the beaver swim about and build a little of their dam. Nick and I sit and have another beer in a park café.
Halle is still economically a poor cousin I think to a lot of the larger cities I gather that have pulled out themselves out of the doldrums by more noticeable degrees following Reunification.
Large quantities of graffiti all over the city, it’s public spaces, signage and buildings seems to testify to an entrenched social malaise. Nick says that unemployment is still relatively high, and evidence of a lack of societal pride can also be spotted in some buildings that have clearly been left to wrack and ruin (in Peißnitz Park for instance) where clear tourist venue opportunities would normally arise.
Portrait of m'pal Nick and his banana plant. Nick don't like photo-love so this is aaaall ya gettin' of him.
And that’s about it really. Halle. Beer, good cheer and time with a friend. A mild shower descends for a moment or two whilst Nick and I are safely cocooned inside with another beer so I feel the charm of the Sunshine Kid has not let me down on this occasion. That evening we have a pleasant meal out. I have an absolutely gut-busting mixed meat grill (including my first Wienerschnitzel of the trip “Yum!”) and make the impulsive decision - being that I’ve come this far east already - to carry on further in that direction. So tomorrow it is towards Prague that I shall head.