Sabbatical 2022

Sabbatical 2022 Week 9

After a little more than a week in Berlin I had the urge to get moving again. So, I decided to visit Leipzig for a few days. Even though I used to live in Dresden, which is quite close to Leipzig, and we also had been there a couple of times, I had barely any actual memories of the city. I’m not even sure if I really had been in the city center before. So, as Leipzig is super easy to reach from Berlin (1 hour by train), I wanted to fix that.

City Center

The main station is pretty much in the middle of the city, so it’s only a short walk to reach the city center. I was quite surprised by the feeling and the style of Leipzig’s center. An interesting combination of tradition and modernism. And several sights that definitely stand out, especially the New Augusteum, a mix of university building and church. Overall the city felt very active and alive. As far as a large city goes, I enjoyed it.

Parks & Water

I explored several of Leipzig’s parks (Clara-Zetkin-Park, Palm Garden), which are quite easy to reach from the center either on foot or using one of the very convenient rental bikes that are all over the place. While the center is definitely lacking a river, the Elsterflutbett that crosses the parks does make up for it a bit. Definitely good places to be and I spent quite a lot of time walking around here, had lunch on a bench and so on.

Famous Monument & Graveyard

One thing I just had to do while in Leipzig was to visit the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. It’s truly an impressive building and very much worth a visit. The entire area feels quite serene and conveys some gravitas. Even though it’s very touristic, I didn’t mind it too much. What else would such a place be about? Climbing up the stairs all the way to the top is quite an adventure in itself and the view from the top alone is well worth the effort.

Afterwards, I did something that might mark me as a bit of a strange person, but I visited the adjoining graveyard. It’s huge and has lots and lots of old graves, crypts and is just an interesting place to explore.


The one vivid memory I had of Leipzig was its zoo. We had been there a couple of times and it definitely left an impression. So, I could not skip it and ended up spending about 6 hours there on the third day. It has such an interesting history and really has come a long way. So many clever ideas and lots of things to see, not just animals. I am still amazed at the size of the jungle house (“Gondwanaland“). And the monkey and ape area (“Pongoland“), which I think was one of the first improvements they made, still is one of the coolest enclosures I have seen.

Summary & Photos

All in all it was great to finally visit Leipzig properly. Even though I spent most of my time in the more touristy areas, I feel like I got a much better sense of the city now. It was a good time and three days also was the right amount of time to spend there.

I did not bring my camera this time, but wanted to give my new phone a bit of a workout. The photos are not amazing, but I could get used to not carrying so much gear around. 😉

Sabbatical 2022

Sabbatical 2022 Week 8

After two weeks and a few days in Northern Germany, I made my way back to Berlin.

Again, there were a few things waiting for me, so I spent some time on organizational things and paperwork. I also squeezed in time for video games again. Overall I just took things more slowly again, did whatever I felt like doing (or not doing).

And of course I had plenty of things to think about. Both my parents and my brother had shared some of their thoughts with me and we had good discussions about my situation and my future. So, I also left some space to mull things over and to allow my mind to maybe settle on a thing or two.

The one thought that definitely kept coming back to me was that I’m already a lot longer in Berlin that I ever expected to be. And I’m not exactly convinced that this is a good thing. There are very few reasons to actually stay here and I have come to realize that living in Berlin also has quite a few downsides. It’s might not be in my best interest to continue this way.

Sabbatical 2022

Sabbatical 2022 Week 6

There were still plenty of points left on our to-do list, so I stayed another week with my parents.

Home Improvements

We finished the dressing room and were all very satisfied with the result. I also spent a surprisingly long time sawing and attaching baseboards in the hallway to cover up some of the unsightly gaps between wooden walls and tiled floor. Quite the challenge due to my lack of experience. And my father doesn’t really have a woodworking shop, so the available tools added a bit to the difficulty. But the result looks surprisingly clean and my parents were happy to see it done.

Another construction site my brother and I had been discussing for quite a while was the garden tool storage behind the house. Everything that needs to be readily available is just lined up behind the house. To clean this up, we decided to build some simple barn doors there to hide them without making them less available.

It’s definitely a lot of fun to go from a rough idea and all the various random additions that immediately spring to mind to a more concrete plan and then to see the final result being quite close to that original through.

And then there is also the shed. It’s a catch-all for everything that doesn’t fit into or should not be in the house. At the same time it’s also the only “room” that even remotely acts as a workshop. There is always something to repair when you own a wooden house, so lots of things need to always be on hand. But we thought that there should definitely be a better way to use the available space.

So, one day we removed everything from the shed to start over. It looked like we were on a flea market, because we moved everything into the carport, stacked it on tables etc. After reviewing the space we recognized that the old wardrobe that used to be in the dressing room would fit right in there. So, we modified it a bit and then assembled it in there to create a lot more space to organize and store all the various bits and bobs.


Even though I had come North to get things done, we of course also squeezed in some vacation activities to make use of the awesome weather. We took several walks around the lakes in the area, visited some of the small cities (e.g. Mölln and Ahrensburg) and one day we headed over to the wildlife park in Eekholt, which I can highly recommend!

Sabbatical 2022

Sabbatical 2022 Week 5

As mentioned in an earlier post, I had plans to visit my folks in Northern Germany. This is exactly what I did. On Monday I hopped on a train and drove to Hamburg and from there out into the countryside. I had made this decision very spontaneously and surprised my parents a bit by showing up on their doorstep, which is unusual as they usually pick me up from the train station. But I really wanted to give public transport a try and took the bus (which only goes every hour or so).

“Work Vacation”

Normally I’m very much in vacation mode when I stay with my parents, but this time I explicitly wanted to be active and get things done. So, on the first evening and throughout the next days I started compiling a list of things that needed to be done. There was a variety of repairs and improvements on the house, some work to be done in the garden and also some woodworking.

I did my best to stay motivated and to get things done and have to say that it worked quite well. And it was fun, too. My parents endured my energy bursts and went along, sometimes a bit apprehensive, but overall eager to also see things getting finished.

Dressing Room

One of the main jobs to get done was a complete overhaul of my parents’ dressing room. So, we started early on by making plans and deciding what the new interior should look like. To keep things somewhat simple, we decided on the classic wardrobe from IKEA with sliding doors, but that also meant figuring out the logistics of picking it up, assembling it etc.

We ended up spending the weekend on disassembly, driving back and forth and putting everything together. Unfortunately, we had to wait for some parts, which were not available, so we could not finish everything right away and had to delay the last 20% until next week.

Gardening and more

Something deceptively simple that I always enjoy when I’m out there in the countryside is the fact that there is a garden. I live in a flat on the 5th floor, so I never get the opportunity to walk around and tend a garden. It’s a nice change of pace, so I made sure to help out with mowing the lawn, watering the plants and doing lots of smaller things around the house.

I really enjoy doing things with my hands. Seeing the immediate result and feeling physically exhausted (rather than mentally, which is more common for me) is very good.

Sabbatical 2022

Sabbatical 2022 Week 4

I returned from my vacation in Tyrol and there were a couple of things waiting for me that I had to take care of. Mostly paperwork for various things that had been sitting in my letterbox for a while.

Of course, I also spend some time going through the photos I took in Austria, sorted them and edited them. To be completely honest, the result was a bit underwhelming, but in the end there are only so many ways to shoot mountains. It’s still a good documentation of my trip and ultimately I didn’t do it primarily for photography. The best photos can be found in the “Discovering Austria” album on my photo blog.

The rest of this week I spent recovering from having walked so much. I did this by cooking and experimenting with some new recipes. And of course I made plenty of time for video games as well. I took some smaller walks in Köpenick, too, and just kept things very chill.