A bright morning in Leipzig among the buzz of the city. Between Bach’s famous St Thomas Church and the Gewandhaus concert hall, streets and alleyways packed with life, boutiques and cafés beckon. Inconspicuous entrances open out into brightly lit passages and glittering arcades full of temptation. Those who are practised in the art of strolling simply go with the flow of the city. Observe, enjoy and join in. And if your legs feel tired after a long day, open your ears to the St Thomas choir and your eyes to modern art in Plagwitz’s converted cotton mill. That’s life in Leipzig.

Life doesn’t stop where the city ends, though. Some say that it really begins when the southern fringes of the city merge into the Neuseenland lake district. Here, where huge diggers used to excavate lignite, kite surfers and canoeists now dart over vast expanses of water. Elegant sailing boats are moored at the marina, while in the beach café a latte macchiato is followed by another glass of Prosecco. Or two. With a view of Lake Cospuden, the golfers work on their handicaps, while sandcastles are carefully sculpted nearby.

A huge expanse of water measuring around 70 square kilometres will eventually be created here on the site of the old open cast mine, although it is yet to be completed. In the meantime, there’s still lots to do even without water: instead of earthmovers, quad bikers charge along hair-raising tracks. Hikers revel in the wide open landscape, with cyclists sharing their enthusiasm.

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