Half done! It’s hard to imagine that we’ll be leaving Leipzig in two weeks’ time as it seems we just arrived yesterday. The past week has been full of Gotik Treffen, some group excursions to interesting neighborhoods, and the beginning of what looks to be an amazing Bach festival. With a music blog on the horizon, it seems like a fitting time to discuss the excellent nature found in and around Leipzig.
My first encounter with Leipzig’s vast network of parks occurred right next to our apartment complex. I went out for a run and was pleasantly surprised to find a massive grassy area with playgrounds, two lakes, a hidden biergarten, and a large hill that towers over the rest of the landscape. Curiosity brought me to the top of the hill, where I discovered a complete 360-degree view of our apartments, nearby neighborhoods, and the city center to the north. Subsequent visits around dusk have been quite beautiful, and I look forward to many more visits on the hill and surrounding areas over the next two weeks.
Though we’re landlocked in the center of Germany, Leipzig also offers a collection of large man-made lakes that serve as popular beach spots for students and residents alike. The Cospudener See, pictured below, exists in an old above-ground mine that was transformed into a freshwater lake for civilian use. One can swim, paddle board, or just relax under the sun to a scene of gentle rolling waves and competitive beach volleyball. With only a few bus stops between our lodgings at Moritzhof and the Cospudener See, I won’t be surprised to hear of more visits in our days off before this program’s conclusion.
And though we have much left to explore, perhaps two of my most favorite natural areas in Leipzig are Palmengarten and Clara-Zetkin parks. Positioned between Connewitz and Plagwitz, these parks span massive areas and offer great opportunities to hang out with friends, have dinner, and take in a bit of natural beauty. Both are positioned close to one of the many rivers running through Leipzig and are popular with local young people on most weeknights and weekends. Whether you’re looking for dance classes, a soccer game, or a great fishing spot, these parks have it all! Accessible by both tram and by foot, we are beyond lucky to be positioned close to the parks that shed some light on why many call Leipzig “eine Grünestadt” or a green city.
Reflecting on Leipzig’s vast amount of nature takes me back to my home in the suburbs and the beauty of getting out and enjoying nature. Not only is getting out to see and explore these green spaces relaxing, but it also offers nice contrast to our frequent surroundings of class and the city center. I always try to visit parks throughout the academic year, but our immersion here in Leipzig’s greenery leaves me determined to get out even more in and around Philadelphia to see all that the region has to offer. Whether it’s exploring the Wissahickon, Kelly Drive area, or any of Philadelphia’s other natural parks, there much to be gained in adding some variety to our frequent studies on North Broad. And for those without the option to leave campus, even just some extra time spent at Beury Beach or the other green spaces located on campus can go a long way in making the most out of our college experience.
And now, with the sun setting on this fourth blog post, I await future visits to my favorite parks next week with the sweet sound of Bach and Mendelssohn telling tales of old in the background.