Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Travels: A Quick Weekend Dash to Leipzig!

Due to a series of unfortunate events (it was Friday the 13th, after all), we arrived in Leipzig late and only managed to check in and grab a sushi dinner at the local Japanese restaurant before everything closed on us (I didn't even get my pudding, hmph!)
Spicy fish soup as a starter- delish!

Sashimi for him.

Eel for me!

However, this morning I woke up and the breathlessly spectacular Steinberger Grandhotel shone through in all its glory. I spent some time wandering around the corridors (okay, I got a bit lost) and the interiors are just as fabulous as the exterior: 

Steinberger Grandhotel is not for nothing the number 1 hotel ranked in Leipzig as well as garnering a 5 star rating so I'll do a proper hotel review for you after this Sunday when we check out. Until then, trust me when I say: swoon.

Anyhow, woke up, did a bit of research and cross-checking for directions, and headed out for a brunch. I ended up at "Alex", a restaurant right around the corner from the hotel with a massive outdoor patio and a pretty nice view:

I adore chai tea and coffee so you can imagine my delight when I saw that the Chai Presso (€2,60) was available. Promptly ordered that and waited for it to arrive... which, thanks to the Saturday morning brunch crowd, took fifteen minutes to come out. 

I then ordered a Red Curry and Coconut Soup as my starter. Thirty minutes later, it came: creamy tomato goodness. I swear it tasted like a creamy tomato soup. It came with a skewer of chicken breast in the middle. It was filling enough to have as a light lunch, but I had it in my head to order a Caesar Chicken Burger, so despite the warning signs of the delay in service, I went for it.

AND ended up regretting it. 15 minutes passed... then 30... then 45 minutes. At this point, I was going to miss the 3PM choral orchestra I had planned to attend so I inquired to the waitress about my food- and then she told me that the kitchen hadn't received the order. W.T.F. So I just paid for my soup and chai and left. I was very annoyed.


I had heard that one of the MUST DO things in Leipzig is to check out the choir/orchestra concert at Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church), so I hustled it out of there and speed-walked the three minutes to the location. One great thing about the Steinberger is its amazingly central location- everything is well within a 3-5 minute walk reach.

Thomaskirche is a beautiful Lutheran church most famous for being the place where Bach used to be choir director for 27 years. Martin Luther preached here in 1539, Mozart played the organ in 1789, and Richard Wagner studied piano at Thomaskirche. Today, the church hosts many free choral concerts by Thomanerchor, which was founded in 1212, and is one of the oldest and most famous boys' choir in Germany.

Just take a look at the beautiful outside of the church!

Johann Sebastian Bach's remains are located at this church, and many people come to pay their respects.

After this, I leisurely walked back to the hotel to drop some things off so I could do some damage at the shopping in the platz. Which I did. Haul video perhaps?

I would have to the say that the most striking thing about Lepzig is the breathtaking architecture that is at every corner. The masterful way that they maintained and converted the buildings to house more modern stores and restaurants is admirable and something Korea should take note of. There is something infinitely more charming when eating at a restaurant housed in a historical building restaurant than new high rises and buildings dumped on top of each other.

This bank, for example, fits in perfectly with the classical buildings.

So when in Leipzig:
DO: Stay at the Steigenberger Grandhotel. The five star rating is absolutely deserved, and I'll elaborate in the hotel review.
DO: Check out the choral/orchestral concerts held at Thomaskirche, held three times a day. You will have to pay for the concerts at night after 6PM, but the ones during the daytime are open for all visitors and require only a €2 fee. 

DON'T: Although "Alex Restaurant" has the yummiest chai expresso drink I've ever had (combining my love for chai and coffee in one spicy morning kick to the face), their service is quite possibly one of the worst I've ever experienced considering their upscale setting. The restaurant itself has a perfect location in a quaint little plaza sandwiched between a beautiful statue and the beginnings of the shopping plaza, but the restaurant either suffers from a shortage of servers or they need to update their serving methods because you will literally end up wasting 3 hours of your life if you order a coffee, starter, and main. If you've got things to do and places to see, avoid "Alex Restaurant" like the plague.
More about Leipzig tomorrow!

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