The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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3:20pm on Saturday, 10th July, 2010:
You want to know what Leipzig looks like, then?
Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of web sites that will show you. Meanwhile, here are some photos I took while I was there...
The pedestrian crossings still have that little GDR man like the ones in Berlin do.
Leipzig natives (well, my driver) seem to be quite proud of the fact that the railway station is the biggest in Europe with 23 working platforms:
I don't know if the €1 cost to use the toilet is also some kind of record, but it's three times as much as they demand at Liverpool Street...
The side of the hotel was quite colourfully decorated:
The most touristy parts of the city are currently being dug up to make an underground line. As Leipzig is built on vast seams of brown coal, this has not proven easy — they've been at it 5 years and have another 2 or 3 to go before they finish. This is the old town hall with a crane sticking out of its head and a set of garish barriers stopping people from walking onto the building site I've tastefully cropped off to the left:
The sign says man at work, and it looks as if he is, too:
I guess they don't have those smoking-indoors laws yet in Germany?
Or, put another way, non-smokers not welcome.
This is the view from my hotel window:
Why yes, they are building an underground station there, how did you guess?
These don't sound as if they should be legal:
I don't believe we're quite this gloating in England when we win a match:
However, I do have to say I like these wing mirror socks they have:
This is a huge glass church they're building:
Yet another sad victory for the forces of religion...
I have no idea what this giant metal egg is supposed to symbolise:
The same applies to this group of figures nearby:
I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation as to why this modern building has an ancient corner grafted onto it:
This is quite nice: it's a small water fountain with a bell shape. You wet your hands in the water, draw them across those handles at the top, and it makes a satisfying resonance:
This group of Hari Krishna groupies were wandering around:
The intoner had a wireless microphone like pop singers use, so all they need now is for their clothing to catch up with modern technological developments too and they'll be right there at the cutting edge for cults.
This was in the middle of one square. There was no plaque explaining what it was (not that I could have understood it if there had been), it was just there:
Leipzig is a German city of about 500,000 people. Unlike in a British city, you don't ask "is there an opera house here?" you ask "which is the best opera house here?". This is apparently Leipzig's:
Of course, also unlike in a British city, you don't ask "is there a transvestite revue here?"...
There are a number of franchises that seem to be using a Mc prefix in their name:
Even McDonalds is getting in on the act:
This decoration on a barrier surrounding some construction work gives heart to those of us who can't draw:
Mind you, I harbour a suspicion that it was done by a 12-year-old, not a professional artist.
This is the roof of a shop:
It's bad enough having to mow your lawn, but having to mow your roof, well, I can see why they've neglected it.
This lake is where we went on Thursday evening:
It's not a natural lake: it was formed by flooding an old open-cast mine. It's enormous, so you can imagine what the mine must have been like. Furthermore, it's the smallest of about six lakes in the area. The GDR must have really needed that brown coal...
This wall stands alone on the construction site outside the hotel:
I guess the owner didn't want to sell it...
This isn't a chair I'd want to sit in during a thunderstorm:
That's a lightning conductor on the wall behind it.
I'm pretty sure that this is a spoof act:
Please tell me that this is, too:
The chest hair, the chest hair...
Note to computer game texture artists:
When that shell pattern reaches a corner, you turn it round. You don't keep it pointing dogmatically in the same direction.
One of the joys of walking around somewhere you haven't been to before is that you come across things like this:
The plaque was in German, but as far as I could tell it only explained who donated the person-sized statue of a lion wearing human clothes, it didn't say what it was. For all I know, every German child would recognise it as easily we would a statue of Noddy, but then it could be a piece of modern art making a statement about the nature of the globalisation of banking. Who knows? This, on the other hand, is a bit more obvious:
The Nazi salute and swastika-angled leg, along with the Communist fist and keep-on-truckin' goose-step and the little guy trying to get out of the body: yes, it's a commentary on recent East German history. I know this, because it's outside a museum of recent East German History.
This ad in a shop window looks fine until...
...you look at the registration number on the car and see it's reflected as if in a mirror. The original image would have looked like this:
That doesn't look so walking-towards, though. Yes, I realise this would have worked better if I'd blown up the registration number so you could read it, but it's out of focus and you can't. You're just going to have to trust me on this one...
This looks like just an ordinary piece of public art near the station:
Except, hold on, what's that hanging off it?
Apparently, Leipzig's students like to carry out raids among themselves, seizing shoes as trophies. These are then hurled onto the branches of the metal tree for public display. It's great to know that students the world over do things like this.
Where would you go if you wanted to book a quick holiday? Judging by this row of bucket shops, in Leipzig you go to the airport:
There must have been 15 or 20 of them there. It's as if people pack their bags, go to the airport, book a holiday, then go off on it there and then.
This airport is made of lego!
And that's Leipzig.
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