From Leipzig to Meissen

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Leipzig

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with our sat nav. Most of the time it’s great, getting us from A to B with the minimum of fuss. On our trip to Leipzig however, it drove me nuts. First it decided to take us along the country lanes rather than the motorway, and then when we reached Leipzig it took us right through the city centre at the start of the Friday evening rush hour, when it should have taken us along the ring road. But we got there eventually! The camp site was in a nice secluded spot in Markkleeberg, just to the south of the city, which is a 15 minute walk to the S Bahn, and then a 15 minute train ride to the city centre.

Leipzig is where the peaceful protests started in the autumn of 1989, which would eventually lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November. At the beginning of September, some 1,000 people were attending weekly church meetings protesting against the East German authorities and the Stasi. These weekly meetings very quickly grew in popularity so that by the end of October 320,000 people were peacefully protesting, way too many for the authorities to suppress.

The old town is situated within the ring road, which runs along the site of the old city walls, so it’s all quite compact. The first port of call after the tourist information office was the Stasi Museum. This wasn’t as good as the Berlin one as there’s less on display, and there are no English translations on the exhibits, but it was still interesting and worth going. After lunch we went on a walking tour to find out more about the City. We really enjoyed Leipzig, as there’s plenty to see and do, and there’s a great buzz about the place. It’s definitely somewhere worth considering for a long weekend or mini break.

Leipzig train station

Leipzig market square

Outside the Rund Ecke building – the former Stasi HQ, now a museum

Stasi rug – it was probably bugged!

Plaques in the pavement remembering a family murdered by the Nazis

Germany’s coffee chain – there are apparently more of these than Starbucks in Germany

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Germany’s Shakespeare) grew up in Leipzig

and composer Johann Sebastian Bach also lived in Leipzig

Mural commemorating the peaceful protests of 1989

Colditz and Meissen

Today we drove onto Oflag IV-C, better known as the POW camp Colditz Castle. I’ve wanted to go to Colditz ever since I was a young lad, when I watched the series on TV, read the books and played the board game all the time, so it was great to finally make it. The castle certainly looks very impressive as you walk up to it.

We paid for a guided tour, and in the hour and a half beforehand we want to the museum which had loads of really interesting exhibits. The tour itself was really good, as it was just the two of us plus one other Brit – the German language tour had about 20 people on it. Our guide Anne Marie was clearly passionate about the castle and told lots of stories and anecdotes which brought the place to life. We really enjoyed it.

Castle from the outside

Showing how dummies were used in roll calls

I had this as a kid…

… and this – brought back memories!

The chapel from the outside…

… and the inside

French tunnel under the chapel – the Germans found this before it was finished

Solitary confinement didn’t look too bad

We’ve now moved on to Meissen, and we’ll be spending a couple of nights here before crossing into the Czech Republic. These next few days, we will be planning a route to take us through to southern Italy at the end of the year.

Mike

One thought on “From Leipzig to Meissen

  1. Stu

    Appel! Appel!

    Loved that game. I’d happily play it now if anyone would join me. Hmm, wonder if it’s an app yet?

    I’m dead jealous

    Reply

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