My travel writing project 100 Places to See in Germany will keep me very busy for the next weeks and months and I feel very happy to discover new or see again old places I’ve visited the previous years but without the proper journalistic focus.
Although I often wish that my travel plans are strictly following a very strict schedule, as usual it does not always work as in my cards. Yesterday, for instance, I was ready to go for a trip to Chemnitz, but as the train to Leipzig had a 20-minute delay, I lost the connection and spent 1 extra hour in Leipzig. I’ve been to Leipzig before, and I enjoyed the city, but the time was too short to go again in town – even though from the train station, you can arrive by tram very close to the center. I decided that I rather will explore the Central Station, have a coffee and eventually find some reviews or books.
The main problem when you commute is that you rarely have time to look around at the architecture and history of the train station. It happened to me before when I was here and thus, I used the 60 minutes between trains to explore the building with new fresh eyes.
Leipzig Central Station was built in 1915, after 6 intensive years of work, as a joint project of The Royal Saxony State Railways and Prussian State Railways. Seriously affected during WWII, it was reconstructed in the 1950s and modernised after the unification. Nowadays, is considered the largest station in terms of occupied floor area, with a 83,460 sqm. You may feel in the middle of a very busy mall. The statistics show that the train station is daily visited by 120,000 passengers, but I am sure there are many thousands who are going here for eating or shopping. There are a lot of restaurants, fast-food style (some of them hosted in very pretentious and elegant locations), and various fashion, clothing and electronic shops. Add to this some hair salons and nails parlours and you have all the elements of a mall. Ah, and a zoo shop, an incentive to visit the local Zoo, maybe. There is also a large bookstore, selling French and English books as well, with a very interesting collection of local history books in German. Another large shop is dedicated to local traditional products, from tablecloths to wooden toys.
Leipzig is an important hub for commuting to and from different parts of Germany, but also a center of development in itself. I know for instance a couple of people from Berlin that found better work opportunities there and prefer to live there and spend the weekends in the poorer capital city. Besides the book fair – first inaugurated at the beginning of the 17th century, nowadays the largest in Germany after Frankfurt – it hosts various economic and trade fairs and events.
With a busy day ahead and a delayed scheduled, I wanted to take the advantage of another couple of quiet minutes and have a second breakfast treat. After checking several locations – Lukas is the local bakery network and was tempting for the organic coffee that I tried on my way back to Berlin, but was not interested in the bread – I decided to stay for more at Coffee Fellows. They do serve bagels and the cakes were looking very attractive. The big surprise was to see that after I asked about the ingredients of some cakes, I was given a very elaborated answer and the girl in charge with the service checked for me the list for each cake I was interested in. Really impressed.
As usual, it’s all for the good. The one hour of delay was in fact a gain of 60 minutes used to discover a new location and to have a tasty white chocolate salty caramel cake. Nothing to complain about.
For more pictures from Leipzig Central Station check my Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/leipzig/