Sunday, October 12, 2008


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.


P.F. said...

Thank you for sharing your adventure with us, Nancy! I, for one, am enjoying it hugely.

Mark said...

Reminds me of a college friend who bought a '70s Honda complete with original bill of sale & manual. Apparently the Japanese personify different things than us Westerners, as the manual cautioned "beware the Mud Puddle, for therein lies the Skid Demon."
Hab' ein schone gereisse!
(Ich habe nicht so oft Deutsh gesprachen, seit ich die in die Uni gelernt. Entschuldigen Sie!)