Let me tell you, I was completely surprised by how much I loved this city. The couple of posts I looked up as research before I went said that the city was beautiful and worth a stop, but I was not prepared to love it as much as I did. I guess the bus ride into the city was a bit of foreshadowing; we were greeted by the silhouette of a hot air ballon drifting along against a stunning neon orange sunset.
Before I even got a look at the city, I was at the zoo. Can you blame me? It was recently awarded second best in all of Europe and number one in Germany and you can really see why when you go.
The biggest challenges most zoos face is showing off the animals without making them uncomfortable. Somehow Zoo Leipzig has managed to do this flawlessly. Some of my most favorite animals like the Snowy Leopard and Red Panda tend to hid away in the back of their enclosure and sleep all day.
Zoo Leipzig allowed them to do that but also allowed us to see it. The animals were often sleeping right up against the plexiglass windows, completely at ease. Countless mothers got amazing photos of their children laying against some of the worlds most ferocious animals. It was quiet simply, amazing.
Bach to the Churches
After the zoo I went about exploring the city and marveling at the beautiful architecture. From what I read online, Leipzig used to be at the crossroads of a major north/south, east/west trade route similar to Vienna, which meant that the city was very wealthy. Although I have yet to see Vienna, I can say it that compares (on a much smaller scale) to Olso, another obviously rich city.
I visited the cities two main churches, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas. While they were both very beautiful, I had an especially touching moment in St. Thomas. At the front of the church is the actual grave for composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. In the church, an extremely talented organist was playing his work. To me, what was so moving was how even now people love his music and come to pay their respects. Even now his work is making an impact on others lives and I find that so incredibly moving and inspiring.
A Pano Experience to Remember
The next day I visited the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. There were a lot of stairs but the view was well worth it. If you go, make sure to take the elevator from the ground floor entrance because it gives a really cool look at the bones of the monument.
After the monument, I visited the Panometer which was absolutely incredible. The museum/art installation was focused on the Titanic when I went at was the perfect balance between informative and emotional. The beginning explained a lot about the industrial revolution and set the tone for the main feature which was a 360 degree panorama of the wreckage.
The atmosphere of the entire installation was very somber to honor the tragedy but also inspiring by the sheer scale and wonder of the artistry. It’s safe to say that I will be looking for the artists other installations.
The Nitty Gritty
I stayed in the Central Globetrotters Hostel which was much more “hostely” that the Youth Hostel in Munich. The common area was nice and I was able to save some money and make some ramen noodles for dinner during my stay. I was able to extend my stay there with no problems and I would highly recommend staying there for as long as possible on your trip because it was only €12ish a night. Definitely a bargain compared to the bigger cities.
You really don’t have to mess with the public transportation unless you go out to the monument which is nice since it seems less developed and quite expensive in comparison to some of the bigger cities. I paid €7.50 for a Leipzig day ticket. I wanted to get the 4 trip ticket because that’s all I really needed but it was actually more expensive at €10.50!
Even thought I already extended my stay in Leipzig another day, I could have gone for another one or two days more to really appreciate the beauty around every corner. I don’t know why Leipzig struck me so much harder than Munich did. I think part of it is my preference to visit smaller cities where it is actually possible to see everything. But on top of that, the entire region is definitely my cup of tea. I think I still like Dresden a bit more but the whole region is so laid back and a wonderful place to take a stroll or sip on a coffee.