DeLighted in Leipzig  (September 21, 2013)

Even retired folks need a ‘get-away’ from time to time, and we really needed some time away from the cats – their incessant demands to be fed; their continuous fidgeting in the bed; waking up pinned to the bed by 25 pounds of cats.  So, we decided to take a couple of days and go to Leipzig, about a 1-hour train ride from Berlin.  It was truly lovely.

HEAVEN!

One of the real treats was the hotel – Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts!  Here’s a list of all the items they supplied:

  • Magnifying make-up mirror in the bathroom
  • Absolutely luscious shower!  Lots of water and lots of room in the shower!  I could have stayed in the shower the WHOLE time we were there!
  • Q-tips, cotton pads, a nail file (in addition to the standard soap, shampoo, and hand lotion)
  • Washcloths (which are rare in Europe)
  • Free slippers
  • Even an umbrella for you to use
  • Turndown service with a piece of chocolate on your pillow (EVERY night!  Not just on the first night, like the Moevenpick Hotel did in Zurich!)
  • And, the most amazing thing – a FREE 1-liter bottle of water in the room!

 Alas, they still had those piteous European pillows – huge, but really, there’s no “there” there in these things!  European pillows are to real pillows as cotton candy is to real candy.

HOW TO TELL WHEN YOU’VE BEEN MARRIED TOO LONG

We’ve been married almost 46 years.  For a few decades, both of us worked in telecom.  To us, the “T” in “T-shirt” stands for “telco.”  So we have had any number of T-shirts for any number of different telecoms.  We also have lots of other T-shirts, since, these days, ‘dressing up’ means putting on a nice T-shirt.  So, we each packed our clothes to go on a 2-night trip.  The odds of EITHER of us selecting our Nortel T-shirt would have been pretty small.  The odds that EACH of us, independently, would select our Nortel T-shirt would be even smaller.  So imagine the odds that we would both – independently, of course – select the Nortel T-shirt for the same day, realizing this only in the elevator as we left our room!  Yep!  We’re a pair of half-wits, apparently having only one brain between the two of us.

SPEAKING OF T-SHIRTS

You often see T-shirts here with words and/or images on them that are familiar for Americans, but you have to wonder what meaning they have for Germans.  For example, in Leipzig we saw a T-shirt commemorating the movie “Easy Rider” – which came out 44 years ago.  It’s hard to imagine a German teenager knowing about that.  And another T-shirt was even more esoteric – I’m not sure even an American teenager would understand this reference:  “As I Lay Dying” – a book by William Faulkner.  You also see lots of T-shirts for various American colleges (most of which are relatively obscure).

WHERE GOETHE LIVED

Not bad!

 2013-07-15 - Leipzig - 06 (Goethe Haus)

 LEIPZIG ZOO

This has to be the best zoo on the planet!  The animals are arranged according to continent, with the habitat as close to their natural habitat as can be managed in Germany.  And it’s more like walking in the woods, where you can stay out of the hot sun as you walk through the zoo, with plenty of benches where you can stop for a rest.  The less exotic animals are interesting as well, specifically the sparrows.  For one thing, once you sit down on a bench, they flock to you because they’re definitely expecting to be fed.  However, if you don’t accommodate them quickly, they won’t waste their time on you.  One little fellow apparently got closer to a cat than he wanted to because he seemed to have no tail feathers.

THINK I’LL PASS….

Beware of foreign attempts at American food – one of the snack shops in the zoo offered a “BBQ Sandwich Burger”—and since they couldn’t manage to use the right phrasing, I’m pretty sure the interpretation of the term “BBQ” wouldn’t be quite right, either.  And elsewhere we saw a café that offered “Chili con carne – Texan Recipe.”  Nope.  Not gonna risk that, either!

WELL, DUH!

I love apes (who don’t have tails) and monkeys (who do have tails) and one of the attractions at the zoo was the bonobo chimpanzees.  These beasts are known for their promiscuity and their universal solution to anything that causes them stress is not aggression, like most animals.  Nope, their universal solution is sex.  Got a headache?  Well, just have sex with whoever is handy.  Hungry?  Well, let’s just have sex.  Too hot?  Just have sex.  Too cold?  Just have sex.  So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the sign announcing that the zoo’s baby bonobo was born in April, and, although they named the mother, they stated that the baby’s father was unknown.  Gee!  Do you think?  This guy may – or may not – be the daddy….

2013-07-16 - Leipzig Zoo - 11 (Bonobos)

THE LATE, GREAT HEIDI

In addition to the Leipzig Zoo being famous for its design, there was something else that helped it gain world-wide fame, and that was being the home to the lovely Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum.  Alas, Heidi’s life was far too short, and we didn’t get to see her in life.  But, of course, the zoo’s gift shop was full of all sorts of stuffed toys in her image.  We even found a candy shop where you could buy marzipan versions of Heidi.

See full size image

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidi_(opossum)

 THOMASKIRCHE

Folks in this city are used to tourists.  Want to take a photo of their famous church, where Bach made music?  Well, they’ll tell you where to stand to get the best shot:

2013-07-17 - Leipzig - 07 (Where to stand to take a photo of Thomaskirche)

So here’s the photo of the church taken from that spot…

2013-07-17 - Leipzig - 06 (Thomaskirche)

And the organ Bach played

  

2013-07-17 - Leipzig - 04 (Organ in Thomaskirche - where Bach played)

 

 AND ELSEWHERE IN LEIPZIG, KEEPING THAT WHIMSEY THING GOING….

 A bench outside a skateboard store…

 

2013-07-16 - Leipzig - 04 (Skateboard Bench)

 

 And, in case you want to go through this garage door without opening the whole thing, here’s a door inside a door.

2013-07-16 - Leipzig - 03 - Door in a door

As you may remember me noting, folks in Berlin consider themselves virtually naked without a scarf.  You’ll see them wearing scarves in 90 degree weather, with short-shorts and a halter top.  Apparently, the folks in Leipzig take it ever further – they don’t want their sign poles to be seen without scarves, either.

2013-07-16 - Leipzig - 02 (Pole with knitted coverI)

 RE-THINKING ONE’S GENEROSITY

As just about everywhere in Germany, Leipzig has its fair share of street musicians.  As we were walking through the shopping district, we came upon a young girl who was singing a cappella, and we gave her a Euro.  Shortly afterwards, we stopped for some ice cream, and thought about that young girl.  She really was a very poor singer, and we wondered if we shouldn’t go back and retrieve our Euro – after all, it was cruel to encourage her singing, since she clearly had no talent at all.

 

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