Germany

So, as some of you may know, we went out to visit some friends in Leipzig, Germany this week. We flew out last Thursday, and came back yesterday (Tuesday). I have to say, Ryanair isn’t the most comfortable airline to travel on – but the price was right, so can’t really complain!

On Friday, we went for a walk at the Wörlitz gardens (I think I got that right) near Leipzig, which were very nice. I have some photos which will be uploaded soon! The gardens were very big, but there was plenty to look at. There were lots of buildings spread throughout the gardens, some of which were very unusual indeed! There was a really cool one in the middle of a lake (well, you had to cross a bridge to get to it at least), which looked like it was built out of rock and had a cool mini rooftop lake kind of thing.

On Saturday morning, one of the people from Leipzig English Church (where our friends, Peter & Martina, go) was being baptised, so we went along to that. It was actually in a lake, and for me that was the first time I’ve witnessed a baptism outside of a church! Although the weather wasn’t great that went well. Afterwards we played frisbee for a while, and then went back home and drank tea and chatted. In the evening, we went to a free concert at the nearby Conservatory. It was actually a piano recital by some students there, and they played some lovely music – some pieces by Mozart, Chopin, Brahms and Liszt. They finished off by playing a version of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, arranged for two pianos.

On Sunday we went to church in the morning, and then had a walk around Leipzig in the afternoon. It’s a very lovely city for the most part, certainly well worth going if you get the chance! In the evening, we went to church again, and then went to someone’s house for dinner (as they had invited quite a few people from the church round). That was great fun, after dinner we watched a couple of episodes of “Fawlty Towers” – although not ‘The Germans’ episode!

On Monday we went out for a long walk around some local “Schloßes” (castles)… well, two of them to be precise. I think the village which we were near was Benewitz. The weather was good – although it was a bit grey to start off with, the sun shone in the afternoon! We got to see lots of the local scenery, and again – we have photos!

On Tuesday morning we went to a memorial which I can’t quite remember the name of… it was to commemorate the Battle of Nations. It was very, very big – apparently, it’s taller than Big Ben and the Empire State Building! You can go right up to the top – the view was absolutely fantastic from up that high! You could see all the way over Liepzig.

In the afternoon we said our goodbyes and headed back home. So… that’s just about everything for what we actually did! There were a couple of things I wanted to say about Germany in general though, just a few observations.

Germany is a strange place in terms of the languages used: although in East Germany English is less popular, there are still plenty of signs in English. It’s quite strange to see an English phrase used on various posters etc.

The public transport system is absolutely amazing, speaking as someone who is used to plenty of disappointment when it comes to public transport! Leipzig has a tram system, which is great. But the whole system seems to have been well thought-out, it’s quite cheap, and you can really see the results: there are a lot less cars on the roads than there are in England! There are still quite a few cars on the roads, but less than you would otherwise expect to find in an equivalent British city.

This leads onto another subject as well – recycling: in Germany, recycling seems to be a real priority. They really seem to be geared up for it. Apparently, hot water is provided by the city – which comes from the hot water used in power stations to cool down the turbines! So it all seems like a neat system to make the best use of everything. Obviously it’s not a perfect system, but it certainly gave pause for thought to me at least.

Well, I think that’s all for now… to summarise: we had a great time in Germany, we feel better for having a holiday, and if you get the chance then Leipzig is well worth a visit!

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