German Language Consultant

Leipzig – a summer in Saxony

Leipzig – the town of Kaffee und Kuchen

I first visited Leipzig in January 1993 and again in 1995 from Berlin. Fortunately, I had the foresight to take quite a few pictures of the city rather than the usual student face shots drunken or otherwise. With these in mind, I realised it would be the ideal opportunity to make some ‘before and after photo collages’ of Leipzig (Berlin and Dresden) since, in the winter of 1993, the former GDR was still very much shrouded in the dust of real existing socialism so the contrast would be quite something! (See photos.)

Church of St Thomas then and now

 

Wem’s zu wohl ist, geht nach Gohlis!

(Whoever is having far too much of a good time of it, goes to Gohlis ….)

In life I am a great believer in ‘some you win, some you lose’. In this case, I have definitely landed on my feet. I met the fabulous Dirk and Conny on couchsurfing.com – not, I hasten to add, because I wanted a freebie for six weeks but because, knowing how hard it is to get furnished accommodation in Germany for a short let, I really didn’t know where to start and, as such, I thought I’d get in touch with some locals to get the lie of the land. Conny and Dirk have absolutely made this trip for me.

House for German and Soviet friendship, Jan 1993

Without them, it would have been a much unhappier/harder time and much harder in so many respects. Dirk and Cony are children of ‘real existing socialism’ – they know it and they are proud of it and they are true to their past but in no way beholden by it. They have undoubtedly one of the best preserved collections of GDR paraphernalia to inspire any GDR fan and they have added to it periodically by going to flea markets – in fact they go out of their way to do this. They have introduced me to many specialities of their youth such as GDR cola and not to mention Rotkaeppchen Sekt (Little Red Riding Hood champagne), which, in Germany, needs no introduction. Conny and Dirk took me to visit Dresden where I was able to retrace my steps from 1992.

I wanted to take some ‘after’ photos and to see the ‘newly’ rebuilt Church of our Lady (Frauenkirche), which was completely destroyed by Bomber Harris and his boys. Our day consisted of retracing my steps in 1992, visiting the Zwinger Palace grounds and the Semper Opera House and the Apple shop! Sadly, we did not get into the Frauenkirche and I’ll need to do that next time though we sat on the square beside the statue of Martin Luther and enjoyed the local brew.

On our way home we passed by one of the famous wineries near Meissen (of porcelain fame) and enjoyed some new wine and some of the local blend of red and white grapes at the Weinhaus Schuh before returning to Leipzig. (See photos of Dresden and before and after comparisons).