I’m way behind on the blogging – since
I was in
It’s quite different. New, modern high-rises are everywhere, huge amounts of construction going on. Some buildings like the university building, which was built post-war on the remains of a school/church and that the people hated, had been torn down and is being rebuilt. Other street and building construction was just renovation. And other construction was just new. In
The ride to
Our first evening we were pretty much all beat and did an easy supper – Auerbachs Keller. It’s in the middle of the main drag and was a 15 minute walk from our hotel, which was right outside the ring road. And it had vegetarian options. Mike was suspicious because it’s totally on the tourist map as it was featured in Goethe’s Foust and Goethe is a big deal. But the food was good. I was on the lookout for Leipziger Allerlei, one of the culinary specialties of
On Tuesday we went to
Afterwards, we wandered around town. We basically walked the tour in our Lonely Planet, past the old and new markets, Rathaus, Frauenkirche, river bank, and Zwinger palace. Much of downtown is post WWII construction, as the downtown was leveled with firebombing. When I was last there, the Frauenkirche, the main protestant church that was built as a foil for the Catholic Hofkirche (the rulers were Catholic even though
One of my favorite spots was the raised promenade by the river. It is just behind the Frauenkirche and Residenz, right at the city center, and on top of what’s left of
By we were dragging hard and Maeve was fussy, so we went to lunch at the main veggie restaurant in
By that time, I was getting a little worried about making our train back and we started back to the train station. Then we realized that we had plenty of time to walk to the train station in Neustadt, on the other side of the river. We could pick our train up there as well, and then we’d see a new part of the city. So we turned around and walked over the Augustusbruke and down the main drag of Neustadt. It was pretty much all post-war buildings and a major shopping area, but there was a nice gilded statue of Augustus the Strong once you got over the river. There were also several fountains with water that Maeve liked playing in since her shoes are waterproof and the day was warm. We made our train with plenty of time – we could have wandered a bit more but I didn’t want to miss it.
Maeve as usual didn’t sleep on the train and it was going to be late by the time we got to
From the Runde Ecke we walked into town, thinking we’d just head south to dinner. About 1 minute from the museum, Maeve fell asleep in the sling, so we changed plans and decided to see the Thomaskirche, where Bach was rector for 25 years. The interior of the Thomaskirche is also beautiful, mostly start white with red-stained wood-looking rafters that soar from gothic-style arches. There is one wall of stained glass windows, which include a WWI memorial with guys in trenches, and window for Bach and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. The most interesting anecdote we learned about the church was about the Bach organ, which was in the middle of the apse on the balcony. They actually changed that organ out a few years ago for a smaller organ that is more like the organs from Bach’s time. Outside the church is a statue of Bach with one of his pockets turned out. He had over 10 kids and was apparently always broke. In front of the church is a fountain with sprays of water that alternate and little metal bridges that cross over the water. Maeve was asleep this day, but this fountain later became her favorite. She’d look at the water under the bridge and step gingerly from the cement to the metal and then run across.
Maeve slept through the Thomaskirche, but we decided not to push our luck and headed to dinner at the one vegetarian restaurant in
Wednesday Mike had to conference, but decided to skip the first section so we had a little time together in the city. We first went to the GDR museum, which is on the main pedestrian street cattycorner across from the town hall. It’s very slick, modern, and well done, following the history of
We popped by the other main
Maeve and I spent the rest of the morning wandering around downtown, revisiting the museum, checking out the passages etc. We also looked at a lot of menus to see which restaurants had more than 1 veggie entrée for later. We finally ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant off behind the new art museum just north of the Market square. Good, cheap, and had tofu. Then it was home for a nap, more afternoon wandering, and meeting Mike for supper.
The next day we spent a little time in the GDR museum again and then Mike needed to head to the conference. Maeve and I walked around the south part of downtown to what’s left of the old city bastion, which is now a multi-level café and venue and over to the new townhall. We got back to the hotel early enough to take a swim before lunch. There was a little lap pool in the hotel and I’d brought suits to go swimming with Maeve. Last summer she never got into swimming and I wanted to spend some time in the pool with her. She didn’t want to go in and protested hard. She doesn’t like it when the floor is cold and says “coco” for cold, which she said repeatedly and emphatically about the pool. I took her in holding her next to me and started walking in the pool and she got into it. We “walked” back and forth in the pool for a while with me holding onto her and her with the deathgrip around Mommy’s neck for a while, and then she loosened up. We talked about the fish and ducks that swim, and Maeve likes fish so we tried to be like fish. First I let go of her with one arm, and then with two so I could use my arms. Then she was willing to let go and use her arms, although the legs still had Mommy-chest-grip-of-death. Later we practiced kicking our feet and she didn’t want to get out of the water. Altogether a successful swimming experience and we really need to do more of it this summer.
Lunch was a Chinese food truck outside the hotel (cheap, convenient and tofu), then nap, then wandering around a bit before meeting Mike for dinner. After dinner, Mike had an optional reception and music evening in the Gewandhaus, the symphony hall. Mike had given up his ticket for a grad student as he wasn’t going to the concert, but we went by the Gewandhaus to crash the reception, which was still going on. They wouldn’t let us in without a ticket, even though we weren’t staying for the concert. So as we were walking back to the hotel we passed a couple people Mike knew who were also going to try to crash the reception, also as it turns out unsuccessfully. No one told the conference attendees they needed the tickets for the reception. Oh well.
Our last day Maeve and I went to the Zoo. First we bought a stroller at the baby superstore next to the hotel. We haven’t had a stroller in
That evening we wandered a bit more around town and did some shopping (cheese for the train and other provisions) and met Mike and some friends for dinner next to der Coffe Baum. The Coffe Baum is the oldest coffee shop in
Home was another 5.5 hour train ride, but we shared the children’s compartment (kinderabteilung) with a 4 year old and she and Maeve had a good time. Most of the German high-speed trains have a children’s compartment, that you can reserve or just use if no one reserved it. It sometimes has a climb-on horse/motorcycle or other toys, but generally provides more space and privacy. In the second train from