The train ride from Warsaw to Berlin was smooth and comfortable. I was looking forward to making my way to Leipzig to see the German friends I had made in Laos last January. Unfortunately, I was not able to take a direct train. So when I got to Berlin, I then had to buy a ticket to Leipzig. This train ride was a little over an hour, but cost about the same as my Warsaw to Berlin ticket. This gave me an immediate eye opener to the price differences between Eastern and Western Europe.
The connection between trains was pretty quick, so I was unable to call my friends in Berlin and had to wait to call when I got to the train station in Leipzig. Daniel came and picked me up and we headed to a kebab place to get me some food to go. Their place was really nice and I even got my own room. Makes me wish I had another room in my apartment! The evening consisted of catching up on some conversation, I did all my laundry, made a little plan for the week, and then bed. I was pretty exhausted and was looking forward to checking out Leipzig with Daniel in the morning!
Leipzig- Part 1
Nadine had school today, so Daniel and I hopped on a couple bikes and headed first to The Monument to the Battle of Nations. This monument was huge and I guess one of the biggest in Europe. At the site of the monument was were Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. There were about 60,000 casualties in this battle with soldiers from many nations participating. After walking around here, we then headed over to a panorama exhibit dedicated to the history of this battle.
The Monument to the Battle of Nations (Picture 1)
When we finished the exhibit, we got back on our bikes and rode into Leipzig’s main downtown/ square area. Leipzig has a nice relaxed atmosphere. Daniel pointed out a bit of the history of a number of buildings. The highlight for me was St. Thomas Church. Here is where Johann Sebastian Bach is laid to rest.
After a little walking around, Daniel and I met up with Nadine at the university cafeteria for lunch and then headed to a bier garten. That evening we had, what was described as, a typical German dinner, we chatted a bit, and then headed to bed.
Something that surprised me about the “typical” German dinner was how light it was. Nadine and Daniel explained how German’s tend to eat a heavy lunch and a light dinner that may include some cold meat, bread, cheese, and a salad. The German cuisine and style of eating was also surprising to me because I thought it would be more similar to the food I grew up with. I would have to say I was definitely taken back more than once about the new foods I was trying. But, I can see how with a little time to adjust to how Germans eat, I would probably follow suit like I did in Korea. I did find many of the foods I tried delicious. Others would take a little time to acquire the taste, like liver sausage.
Leipzig- Part 2
One of the coolest things about travel for me is meeting up with people I have hung out or met before. Well, while I am hanging out with Daniel and Nadine, two people I met on my travels in Laos, another friend, Tim, from my Boy Scout camp staff and early 20’s party days happened to be in Germany! We figured it had been at least 13 years since the last time we had seen each other, which was probably his wedding.
While Daniel was working on a special lunch for Tim and I, we headed to The Monument to the Battle of Nations. I didn’t go in with Daniel, so Tim and I headed to the top and walked around the area, while also catching up on the last 13 years. After a lovely lunch, we went on a boat ride down a river with Nadine and members of her family. After that we got some food from the grocery store and Tim and I did some grilling for dinner. That night we sat around drinking beers and had some excellent conversation. I was hoping to go to a disco that night too, but we found ourselves pretty tired. The next morning we took Tim to the train station and Sunday was pretty much a day of relaxation.