There’s nobody here but us Saxons
Brian Starbuck shares his experience of holidaymaking in a part of Germany where Brits rarely go.
There’s no one here but us Saxons. That is how it feels sometimes – we have landed in a place where the people are friendly, the landscape attractive and no one knows about it but us. The locals appear pleased we have come to visit but not in the least surprised – they have known all along that it is a good place to be.
We first holidayed here while seeking out family roots in Zeitz, southeast of Leipzig, six years ago. My partner Liz felt that we should spend a few days in the countryside and booked a farm stay near Mittweida, about 40 miles to the east. For us and our now 13 year old boy this has proved the best holiday decision ever. We have been welcomed almost as family and have been back every year since. It certainly helps that Liz is fluent in German as many locals do not speak much English.
Mittweida itself has a pretty centre, but the town museum rather reluctantly admitted that we were the only English visitors they had ever had. We like pork, potatoes and cucumber and that is a very good thing in this part of Saxony. It’s best not to be a vegetarian.
The town is within a fairly easy drive of Dresden, Meissen and Saxon Switzerland, the biggest tourist attractions hereabouts. A visit to the Meissen factory is interesting and the prices eyewatering. The Saxon Industry Museum in Chemnitz is the best I have ever been to anywhere, with the comedy highlight the camper Trabant, essentially a Trabant with a tent perched on top. The Trabbie was made a few miles away in Zwickau.
As for the farm where we stay, it has been wonderful for our youngster Henry. There is real work to be done with feeding the animals, mending farm equipment, moving the electric fence to allow cattle onto fresh pasture and best of all – driving farm machinery. Seeing your own 13 year old in sole charge of a combine harvester is quite an experience. This is no theme park and children need to behave very well indeed to be safe and to make a proper contribution. We enjoy ourselves wandering around the farm, sitting in the yard and chatting with the family and visitors.
Trips to the open air swimming pool in Rochlitz are a great value treat – a lovely pool in landscaped grounds with a café serving chips and mayonnaise followed with homemade pear ice cream by the pool. It all adds up to a little bit of heaven in Saxony.
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