After a couple of days in Berlin, today was a day away from Berlin as I went on one of two back to back day trips to nearby cities.

Today I headed about 190km southwest to the city of Leipzig.

I took one of the DB Bahn ICE high speed trains the reach speeds up to 230 km/h so I arrived in just over an hour at just before noon.

Windy and Wet

So, it’s been cold this entire week here in Germany, but today, Mother Nature decided to also throw in some rain.

And not just a regular drizzle or even normal rain.

Nope, this was rain being pushed by the wind sideways.

Oh what fun!

I’m actually surprised my umbrella lasted the day as it was turned inside out several times by the heavy gusts.

You know what’s funny though?   Miserable experiences like this make for the best stories after the fact.

I mean, would I be able to retell the story of going up a building called Panorama Tower to get a 360 view of the city only to find that the rooftop is outside and uncovered?

Yeah, well, I did that today.

I paid my €5 and headed up the elevator to the top.   Naturally, I was the only one there and at that point, while laughing deliriously, I had to decide if I was just going to head back down or actually try to see the city from above.

So, after mustering up the courage, I headed out the glass door onto the even windier outer deck.   I wasn’t even 2 feet out the door before my umbrella blew inside out.


I went back inside, ditched the umbrella, got my camera out, and quickly (and I mean quickly) raced out and took a bunch of photos of Leipzig from above.

So, yeah, while at the time, being in that miserable rain was, well, miserable, as I look back at it, it makes for a great story.

Oh, and by the way, grammar teachers out there – yeah, just overlook that last sentence with seven, count them, seven commas.


So, after walking around the city in the rain for awhile, my shoes were soaked and my poor little hands were so cold from holding the umbrella.

Nothing better to remedy the situation than to head inside for a nice hearty lunch.

Today, it was the German classical dish of pizza.

Hawaiian pizza to be specific.

Ah yes, classic German food.

I had a restaurant marked on my map that offered gluten free crusts for their pizza so I headed there.

The pizza itself was €12 but the substitution crust was an additional €5.   Kinda pricy but I had my mind set up.

By the time I was done lunch it was already 1:30.

I had a little less than 3 hours before my train back to Berlin left.

Visual learning

There are a couple of museums here in Leipzig and I had both marked on my map to visit.

Now, I’m not a huge museum guy.   Don’t get me wrong, I love learning about the history of different cities and countries but I hate walking around a museum just reading placards.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that museums are kind of take it or leave it for me.   If I miss out on a museum it’s not the end of the world for me.

So, back to the two museums in downtown Leipzig…

I had read both had free entry and, ya know, for free sure I’ll pop in and give it a look.

The first museum I went to was the Bach museum.

I sauntered in only to be redirected to the nearby ticket office where I had to purchase a €10 ticket.

Ah, nope, I’ll just pass.   Like I said, I could take it or leave it.

Next museum was the Zeitgeschtliches Forum.   The museum was opened in 1999 highlighting what life was like in the separated Germany after the war.

Entrance cost?   Free!

Alrighty then, let me in…

This museum was actually perfect for me as I’m more of a visual learner and there was tons of visual delights to see as I walked through.

It’s actually uncanny to look back at old products and how life was decades ago in a slowly rebuilding Germany.

Let’s just say I took a ton of photos and learned alot.

At just after 2pm I was back out onto the street and, to my delight, the rain had stopped which was great because it was time for a little field trip.

A monument to Napoleon’s defeat

The field trip was about 5km out of the downtown center of Leipzig to Völkerschlachtdenkmal, also known as the Monument to the Battle of the Nations.

It’s basically a large monument celebrating the 1813 Battle of Leipzig where Napoleon was defeated.

I walked up to the giant structure and saw there was an entrance way.

I wasn’t quite sure if there was an option to climb to the top but I told myself that, regardless, I’d be willing to pay up to €10 to find out.

And wouldn’t you know it, the price was exactly €10.

So, inside I went and, to my delight, you could go all the way to the top.

I climbed a few stairs but, about halfway through, I opted to just hop on the elevator the rest of the way.

Considering how long the elevator took to get to the top, I’m thinking that was a wise move.

And then, with clear skies and no rain, I was able to finally take some quality photos of the entire city.   Panorama Tower be damned!

As I was walking along the outer perimeter, I noticed a sign that said “Way Up”.

Intriguing since I just assumed I was as far to the top I could get.

So, it turns out that there’s the top and then there’s the top.

I mean, how could I not, right?

As you enter the door to go up you are instantly met with ominous writing on the wall that says “167 steps” and, this time, there was no elevator to take you there.

In fact, the way up this last part was on a very, and I mean very, narrow winding staircase.   It was so narrow that there was actually a red and green traffic light at the bottom and top to tell you it was clear to go.

After a grueling walk up I finally made it to the top.

It was…


There wasn’t that much difference from what I had just seen 167 steps below but at least I could say that I did climb all the way to the top of the monument.

Of course, my legs would be cursing me later on in the evening, but whatever, I conquered the monument.

Back to Berlin

I cut it a bit close getting back into town to catch my train back to Berlin giving me mere minutes to walk to my boarding platform.

At 4:15 I was heading back to Berlin and just a bit over an hour later I was back home.

I chatted with my new roomie Jennifer from Long Island, New York for a bit.   She’s traveling on her own and heading to Prague in a couple of days and, beyond that, she has a week to go somewhere else that she hasn’t planned out yet.

Now, that’s the kind of travel I crave and haven’t done for awhile.

An epic dinner

For dinner I headed back, once again, to Schnizelei which is just a couple minutes walk from my hostel.

I’ve eaten there the last two nights having both their gluten free schnitzel and cordon bleu.

I had my eye on something else on their menu tonight.

Their tapas.

They have a collection of 12 different tapas to choose from and you can do a combination of 3, 6, or 9 of them.

Well, you know me…

I was going all out.

I chose nine.

It came out on a long wooden board, almost like a beer flight, that was so long it reached over both sides of my small table.

I just laughed and smiled.

This was going to be an adventure.

Along with a basket of gluten free bread, I was given the following tapas:

• Forellenmousse: A trout mousse – creamy and smoky
• Vegane Currywurst: with homemade vegan curry sauce
• Obazda: spicy marinated cheese – Bavarian original
• Beet Tatar: spicy vegetable tartar served with fried onions
• Kleine Rostbratwürstchen: small sausages served to sauerkraut
• Mini-Backkartoffeln: small baked potatoes with herb quark and linseed oil
• Blutwurst: blood sausage, served with apple compote
• Berliner Currywurst: served with homemade curry sauce
• Buntes Gartengemüse: with beetroot, horseradish and sunflower seed dip

The combination of 9 tapas were priced at what I thought was a reasonable €27 ($40).

As my waiter cleared my plate he mentioned that there were a couple of gluten free desserts I could have (hint, hint) but I just simply couldn’t.   I was so full!

I did, however, return a few hours later this time with Jennifer, to have some dessert.

Again I had the same dessert I had last night – the vegan vanilla ice cream in salted caramel almond crust, served with raspberry sauce.

What can I say?   I loved it that much, I had to have it again.

The other gluten free dessert – the Tobblerone Mousse – will just have to wait for tomorrow night.

And that was the day.

A day of rain, of wind, of pizza and tapas, a museum, and an imposing monument.

What a day!

Germany Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Berlin, Leipzig, Germany
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