Magdeburg: The city of Otto

As we continued to head eastwards for Easter in Berlin our destination was Magdeburg, ‘City of Otto’, and former capital of the Saxony-Anhalt region.

We parked alongside the fast-flowing and wide river Elbe next to tourist boats berthed up for the winter. A stroll around the town revealed a surprising mix of 10th and 12th century churches and monasteries rubbing shoulders with gigantic concrete and steel shopping centres, and the utterly bizarre pseudo-moorish building by the architect Friedensreich Huntertwasser.


Glossy pink, wobbly-looking and crowned with golden cupolas and domes it is now home to empty retail units in its labyrinthine passage ways.

The biting wind and driving sleet did nothing to soften the gloomy views along Brieter Weg, once one of Germany’s most impressive Imperial boulevards. The two remaining patrician houses looked proudly forlorn amongst the socialist-style apartment blocks built as the city reconstructed itself after the war.

A piping hot bowl of Kartoffelnsuppe cheered us up and we meandered back along the riverside to Bertha before settling in for a suspiciously quiet night under our single street lamp and listening to the sound of the boats creaking gently in the water alongside us.