Last Week in Germany

Castle Hartenfels in Torgau.

During our last week staying in Leipzig, we decided to stop in Torgau to explore the castle which we drove by everyday to work. After debating the defensive pros and cons of the castle’s bear moat, we roamed the courtyard and climbed the grand staircase (both of which are free) then made our way up the tallest tower. The view was worth the €1 and shortness of breath.

View from the tower.

After taking in the view and enjoying the breeze that gave us breaks from the miserable 95+°F heat, we went to explore the chapel. We didn’t stay long as the chapel is rather small and simple, it’s famous as the first newly built protestant church, consecrated by Martin Luther.

Beneath the chapel, we visited the lapidarium. We gladly paid the few euros to enter if only for the cool air that hit our faces as we we walked into the lit tunnels. We found rooms filled with some of the original stone work that decorated the castle in the past.

friend and I walked to the bridge we drove on to work to take a photo. We quickly took our photos then retreated back to the castle to find ice cream and shade.

As our time in Leipzig was drawing to a close, we decided to revisit one of our favorite restaurants: Alex. They had the cheapest and tastiest schnitzel that we found and incredibly refreshing lemonaids. During this heat wave, I’m increasingly aware of the lack of ice, air conditioning, free water, refills, and chilled drinks. We’re surviving, of course, but I’m definitely dreaming of cups overflowing with ice that will greet me once I’m back in the United States. As I still have over a month of traveling, I’ll have to wait for a while longer for that.

Schnitzel and lemonade (what’s left of it anyway). I have a bad habit of finishing my drink before my food even reaches the table.

Since the project ended early, over half the group left over the weekend and I stayed behind until the next group drove up to Berlin. For the most part, I packed and planned for my next stop; booking hostels and flights I probably should have booked months ago while eating Döner.

On my last Saturday, the orchestra was playing in the park and I ventured out to listen. Klassik airleben is a yearly free festival in Leipzig which brings thousands of people to the park as the Gewandhaus Orchestra performs two free concerts to thank audiences at the end of the season. The orchestra is claimed to be one of the oldest continuing orchestras founded by the bourgeoisie in Germany. I have limited experience with concerts, but the relaxed atmosphere of the park, people, and the sunset made for a great time.

The klassik airleben, 2019.

On Monday, we drove to the site to await the equipment pickup then drove out to Berlin. I’ve been to Berlin once before during a 5 hour layover where a friend and I ran to see remenents of the wall before returning to the airport.

We got there later in the afternoon and walked around. I saw the Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Wall. It was interesting walking through the different areas of Berlin and seeing how the pedestrian lights were different in the west and east. After dinner, we all returned to our rooms to prep for the next day’s flights.

Sign near Checkpoint Charlie as you enter what was East Berlin.
Part of the wall left as a memorial with graffiti.

I’m excited to (hopefully) go to places with air conditioning during this heat wave, but I’ll also miss Leipzig and the work we were doing here. I’ve met many people that I’ll see at Anthropology conferences in the future, so reunions are bound to follow! For now, I will continue to travel around both solo and with friends.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (or also called the Holocaust Memorial). I was told that the designer didn’t want a pretty memorial, but something to make you uncomfortable. From the outside it looks like a field of coffins to me, but once you enter you realize the staggered heights of each section and hilled paths to try and disorient you.

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