Yesterday I set out to explore Leipzig on foot. These particular feet aren't used to all that much walking, and after 3 1/2 hours of it throughout the day, they ached. I tell myself it's good for me. The reality of being without a car for four months is just now sinking in. But the weather was gorgeous, the sun shone, and Leipzig is interesting, once I got past the closed office buildings lining PragerStrasse (IBM, Kia, T-Mobile) and reached the city center.
There was a graduation ceremony for some trade school going on in the Gewandhaus, the beautiful concert hall built by the GDR. Outside, graduates were gathering in little groups under signs that even I could translate: ELECTRICIANS. COOKS. MECHANICS. The cooks wore long white aprons over their suits, the electricians had tool aprons over theirs, etc. The group in top hats and tails had no sign -- were they magicians? The whole thing looked magical, beside a huge fountain amid a riot of flowerbeds under a blue sky. Naturally, I forgot my camera.
Leipzig is under heavy construction. I saw almost as many cranes as I had in China last year. Between the building sites in the city center were streets closed to cars and crammed with cafes, shops, bookstores. I bought a guide book in English, to identify what I was looking at. The English is a bit off, in a charming way. A legend about the Mendes Fountain says: "The benefactress Marianne Pauline Mende should have held a shady establishment and wanted to atone her sins by donating this well. This was written by Ergon Erwin Kisch once. That the reporter was taken in by a mistake can not be facilitated."
On the way home, I got lost. Later, going to the supermarket I had been taken to only the day before, I cut through a pretty little park and got lost again. I was atoning my sin of forgetting not only the camera but the map, a mistake all too easily facilitated.
Tomorrow classes begin. I need to go over my introductory notes, get up earlier than I have been, and not get lost on the way to campus.