Leipzig, founded in the 13th Century, today has a population of 500,000, and is the city where the peaceful revolution that eventually toppled communist rule in Eastern Germany began in1989. It is also the place where the composer Johann Sebastian Bach is buried, and where Martin Luther once preached. Like most major German cities, it was badly damaged by bombs during WW II. It rained heavily while we were visiting, so no one in the group strayed far from the meeting point near St. Thomas Church. The only photos I took were in and around that historic building.
St. Thomas was built beginning in the same year that Columbus sailed for America, 1496. Mozart played here, and JS Bach directed the church's boys choir from 1723 to 1750. That famous composer is buried in the church. Too bad the organ he played is no longer there. Here are my photos, including one taken of a building near the church.
After our all too short visit, we went from Saxony into the northern part of the State of Bavaria, and the city of Nuremberg, famous as the setting of the War Crime Trials that followed WW II. But Nuremberg, with a population over 400,000, is well know for other things too - children's toys and gingerbread, sausages, and the famous Christmas market. The city's roots can be traced back to the 12th Century. We checked into the Hilton Nurenberg.
More recently, Nuremberg had the dubious distinction of being one of Hitler's favorite haunts. Nazi rallies were often held in the large outdoor stadium, a part of which is still standing. Today, the stadium is used for Rock concerts and such. Santana had performed there a short time before we arrived, and the tent cities hundreds of young music lovers had erected near the stadium were being dismantled, with bleary-eyed youths picking up mountains of refuse in the camping area. They didn't clean up the area in front of the bleachers though.
Our group got a bit tipsy on the fumes from the broken beer bottles we had to step over. I could not help but think, as I viewed the aftermath of the concert, what Hitler would have thought could he have looked ahead and seen the future use of his prized stadium. Perhaps he would have killed himself years earlier, saving the world a lot of grief?
The weather had improved when we arrived, and we spent several hours exploring the market center area. Here are the pictures I took of churches, buildings, store windows and the market square, where entertainers were performing for the crowd.
The next day, we headed south, further into Bavaria. The flat countryside was beginning to turn hilly now. We were now traveling Germany's "Romantic Road" leading to the Alps. A surprise awaited us at our morning stop - the stunning 13th Century medieval city of Rothenburg. Here it is. A celebration was in progress. Townsfolk dress in authentic uniforms and reenact an old battle. This was reminiscent of our own Civil War celebrations.
In the afternoon, we proceeded into South Bavaria, headed for Munich.