I spent the last weekend in Berlin to financially recoup for my road trip, thus ending the "one city every week" challenge. A week later, I was itching to see another city. Leipzig seemed like the perfect destination after putting it off for several weeks.
I fired my first AirBnB requests on Thursday afternoon, then booked bus tickets with the amazingly cheap MeinFernbus. After both my first and second requests were declined, I saved myself some trouble and booked a spot at the best hostel I could find on HostelWorld.
I left work and went straight to Alexanderplatz to catch the 19:30 bus to Leipzig. Kill Bill vol. 2 and a fresh playlist considerably shortened the 2.5 hour trip.
The bus dropped me off smack in the middle of Leipzig, a few paces from the Leipzig Oper. On my way to the hostel, I saw both Nikolaikirche and the Thomaskirche, illuminated from below by massive lights. I dropped my backpack in my room, grabbed a book, bought a beer at the reception and walked around the square until I found a quiet sushi restaurant.
After realizing neither of us were German, the chef and I exchanged a few words in English. As he hurriedly assembled his last sushis for the day, I returned to my book. I turned pages over a beer while he cleaned his space, as if reenacting Edward Hopper's Nighthawks.
Worried that I might overstay my welcome, I returned to the hostel hobby to read a few more pages, then headed to my room before the beers and the sushi knocked me out.
The next day, I strolled on the cobbled streets of the city center in search of a nice brunch restaurant. The weather was perfect for a walk. I saw the distinctly communist Roßplatz buildings, the Berlin wall mural, the city's most famous churches and all sorts of stunning architecture. Still, no breakfast. My stomach eventually forced me to stop at the first affordable restaurant I saw.
After an unsurprising lunch, I headed to the Zeitgeschichtliches Forum. My walk was interrupted by an unexpected indian parade. Adults and children dressed in colourful indian clothes were jumping and clapping hands while us baffled tourists tried to process the event.
The Zeitgeschichtliches Forum had a free exposition on the East Germany under Soviet rule. If you are visiting Leipzig, make sure to stop there. It's right in the middle of the city, and it's free.
My last stop was the Memorial to the Battle of Nations, about 20 minutes from the city center. It took me several minutes to find the entrance to the park. I climbed the grassy hill on which this behemoth of a monument stands and made my way inside.
As a cruel joke, the interior was fitted with an elevator that only takes you downstairs, but to get to the top, you will need to climb several hundred steps up an increasingly narrow spiral staircase. Despite my modest frame, both of my shoulders were brushing against the walls as I was approaching the top. This unexpected exercise was rewarded with an unhindered view on Leipzig and its surroundings. Totally worth it.
I had a little more than an hour left before I had to board the bus. I decided to sit in the park and turn a read a few more pages from my book before heading back to the terminus.
I was back in Berlin a little after 10PM. 24 hours sufficed to see most of the city's main attractions without any hurry. It was a very relaxing weekend that only set me back about 70 euros.