Leipzig and Potsdam
Leipzig is surrounded by open pit mines that have been flooded to form artificial lakes. They even have sandy beaches – squint and it could be the Med. I stopped for a few hours to soak in the sun and take a dip.
Parts of central Leipzig also had an almost Mediterranean feel, with barely enough space between the overflowing seating and parasols of bars and restaurants to pick your way between on the tight, cobbled streets.
Other than this, Leipzig is the home of Europe’s oldest coffee shop, largest train station and the 1989 demonstrations that triggered the fall of the communist administration.
I stayed an extra night in Leipzig to shelter from the forecast thunderstorm before heading on to Potsdam and listened to open-air orchestra performing in the square as part of the ongoing Bachfest. Setting up camp that evening I thought I heard a kitten meow and when I looked around I found a skull a few metres away (but definitely no cat). Creepy.
The Sanssouci gardens of Potsdam were suitably grand, full of fountains, statues and rococo.