Germany, Day 17: Town Without Pity

Today we took a day trip to Leipzig.  I was really excited to check this city out because for many years it was the home base of the father of modern music Johann Sebastian Bach.  Bach was the cantor at the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) and is buried in the floor there.  Leipzig is also the hometown of Felix Mendelssohn (meh) and an easy 1 hour train ride from Dresden on the ICE train (express train).  We got in to Leipzig and it was cloudy and blustery – definitely started feeling like autumn.  Once we got on the correct tram, we headed into the old city, and I’m sad to say it lacks the easygoing character of Dresden and the cute factor of some of the other cities we visited.  We went right away to the Thomaskirche because I was REALLY excited to see that Bach stuff.

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From the outside, the Thomaskirche is quite different from a lot of the churches and cathedrals we’ve already seen, probably because it’s Lutheran.  We turned the corner and there he was, JS Bach in front of his favourite instrument (pipe organ) and roll of music in hand.

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We moved inside the church and gawked at the TWO beautiful organs and quickly made our way to Bach’s grave.  Turns out, it may or may not be Bach’s actual remains – because JS wasn’t super popular in his actual day, he was buried in a modest graveyard.  When people discovered that he was actually a musical genius, they dug up what they think was his remains and re-buried them in the floor of this church.

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We then moved across the lane to the small but thorough Bach Museum.  Of course I had to buy some Bach goodies in the gift shop and then Ma, Pa and I moved into the “Treasures Room” – ACTUAL handwritten Bach manuscripts!  There was not photography allowed of that room, but had there been I would have taken ALL the photos of those manuscripts.  The museum had a lot of really cool features, including a room that played a Bach piece and you would press different buttons to isolate the different instruments in the piece, a room that had organ pipes suspended from the ceiling and if you clutched one and put your ear up to it, it would play you a Bach piece.  My favourite room was what I can best describe as an opium den for Bach fans: couches with screens and headphones affixed to them.  You put on the headphones and commandeer the touch screen where you can pick exactly what kind of Bach piece you would like to listen to – Sacred organ works, secular cantatas, etc.  We must have stayed there about a half our and all listened to our own streams.  Before we knew it we had walked through the whole thing and it was 1330hrs – time for lunch!

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I wanted to go to a place called Coffe Baum for lunch as it claims to be the oldest coffee bar in Europe still in operation.  We decided to brave the winds and sat outside.  Unfortunately, our server was not only completely disinterested/hated her job, but it’s the first time I have actually felt that a server hates me and everything I stand for.  Like, the kind of hate where she would have vandalized my car in high school or spread shitty gossip about me at the office, not because I’ve been mean to her, but because she’s awful.  Despite her terrible attitude, lunch was very good.

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We decided to call it a day in Leipzig and walked past the Thomaskirche, heading back to the tram station in order to catch the 1631hrs ICE train back to Dresden.

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We got to the train station at 1530hrs, so we went to Starbucks and had a coffee before heading to our platform to catch our train.  1631hrs rolled around and our train hadn’t come yet.  Pa then noticed the sign for our platform stated our train would be 3o minutes late (the stereotype that German trains run on time is a myth).  After the 30 minutes passed and still no train, we checked again – this time the board said 40 minutes late, and we noticed no other ICE trains had entered the station.  At 60 minutes, Pa noticed that the board had taken the entire train info down, so we made the quick decision to run a few platforms over and take the regional train.  The ICE train is a super fast express train and would have taken a little less than an our and the regional train makes all the stops and ended up taking 1 hour 40 minutes.  We got into Dresden at 1945 hours, over 2 hours later than we expected to be.  We headed to a pub for some pan fried potatoes and beers, headed back to the hotel and called it.

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