Welcome to my place . . . Leipzig

German city has many free guided walking tours and abundance of authentic eateries

Brigid Hynan in Leipzig

Brigid Hynan in Leipzig

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Brigid Hynan is originally from Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, and now lives in Limerick city. She has taught English as a foreign language for seven years. She has lived in Malta, Scotland, Philippines, Switzerland, France and Germany, including Leipzig.

Where is the first place you brought people when they came to visit you in Leipzig?

The Market Place in the heart of Leipzig is a great place to start to get a feel for the city. Relax with a coffee or beer and soak up the sights and sounds, people-watch, tune into the language and get a feel for the place. The Old Town Hall dominates and the square hosts a farmers’ market every Tuesday and Thursday as well as the Christmas market.

What are the top three things that don’t cost money in Leipzig?

St Thomas Church, a short stroll from the Market Place, houses the burial tomb of Johann Sebastian Bach. It is also home to St Thomas Boys’ Choir which formed in 1212, making it the oldest cultural establishment in Leipzig. Continue into the heart of Leipzig and you will come across a network of passageways that evoke the city’s tradition for trade fairs and exhibitions dating back over 500 years.

Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a sense of Leipzig?

For great pub food head to Rathskeller on Lotter Straße. I would recommend the schnitzel washed down with a local Hefeweizen beer or local wine. A little out of the city centre on Karl-Heine Straße is Kaiserbad beergarden and restaurant serving traditional, affordable food all made from local ingredients served in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

For coffee and pastries stop off at Café Riquet, another beautiful Art Nouveau building, and try the famous Leipzig lerche pastry. It translates to “lark pie”, and was actually served using larks back in the 17th century, but the modern version is a delicious pastry with almond and marzipan filling.

Christmas market at Leipzig’s Market Place
Christmas market at Leipzig’s Market Place

Always popular for a snack on the go are the bratwurst stalls dotted all over the city. Enjoy one of the many sausages in a roll or go to Thuringer Hof, Burgstraße, for truly authentic Thuringer sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes.

Where is the best place to get a sense of the history of Leipzig?

Take one of the many guided walking tours, some of which are free, or alternately try a Trabant tour. A Trabant car is a symbol of the former Eastern Europe. Either way you will get a wonderful insight to the history of the city. Stop off at the Zeitgeschictliches Forum in Old City Hall in Market Place. There, you find a trove of East German contemporary history from the end of the second World War. Entry is free but it is well worth paying five euro for an English guide.

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after visiting Leipzig?

“Echter Leipzig Brotsch naps” is a bread brandy that makes a lovely after-dinner drink, so maybe take some bratwurst sausage and some “Leipzig lerche” for a nostalgic taste of Leipzig when you get home. If you get to visit the Porsche factory 20 minutes outside the city, you will find wonderful memorabilia that you or your friends back home will cherish.

If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live overseas, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We would love to hear from you.

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