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Phespirit goes to Germany
Leipzig     January 2012

It always rains on Phespirit in Germany. East or west, summer or winter, it makes no difference. At some point the skies will fade white, then grey, then darken, and finally pour forth ribbons of water onto the streets, the parks, the market squares and always onto Phespirit. During his January trip to Leipzig that point was reached at the start of his second day. It barely let up thereafter. Of course, bad weather could be taken for granted given the time of year so Phespirit's plans for sightseeing were not greatly dampened, even if he himself was. His top five sights:

  1. Thomaskirche.

    What better opportunity to attend a choir performance than at Thomaskirche? Here the St Thomas's Church Choir performs works by Johann Sebastian Bach in the very place where he himself was choirmaster (1723-1750) and most prolific in his output.

  2. Monument to the Battle of the Nations.

    The defeat of Napoleon at Leipzig in 1813 by the armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden clearly meant a great deal to the locals. It inspired them to erect this truly colossal monument. Standing 91m high, with a 124m square base and comprising 26,500 granite blocks, it is a monster.

  3. Asisi Panometer.

    Every once in a while the overcrowded world of art turns out an original piece that is simple in concept yet grandiose in execution. Here is one: a disused gasometer with its whole interior given over to a single vast 360° panorama. For Phespirit's visit it was the Amazon rainforest, with accompanying sound and light.

  4. Schiller House.

    This quaint little 18th century farmhouse has been preserved inconguously amid larger more modern structures because the playwrite Friedrich Schiller lived here in 1785. Within these walls he penned 'Ode to Joy' and made a start on 'Don Carlos'. Curious, perhaps even cute.

  5. Museum der bildenden Künste.

    Phespirit always visits the local fine arts museum. This one is enormous, albeit not blessed with the greatest collection. Still some good quality on show, such as Josef Wenglein's 'Late Autumn in the Isarwinkel (near Bad Tölz)', 1892.

As a break from sightseeing, Phespirit whiled away a few hours at Sachsen Therme. Thus, even when indoors for a prolonged period he remained constantly soaked. And then as a break from Leipzig, Phespirit visited the neighbouring town of Halle, which was rather nice. So setting aside the foul weather there really wasn't much to be faulted on this trip. Phespirit had booked himself five nights when four would probably have sufficed but that merely meant he could extend his relaxing hours. There are two certainties for Phespirit in Germany: (i) it will rain; (ii) every day gets filled.

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