“Magdeburg is the best example of the worst communism has to offer in the realm of architecture.” This was a quote I read in a travel book about Magdeburg just before visiting. After reading that I was truly excited for what lay in store and I wasn’t at all disappointed upon my arrival. Bleak, desolate, grey and hopeless are the adjectives that immediately come to mind once stepping off the bus. I never thought it possible, but I actually felt as if I was transported back to the 1950s.
I had my worst hotel experience there with a hotel that rated itself as 7-star. Wow! If this was 7-star, then I can only imagine what budget accommodation must feel like. The hotel room consisted of two single beds in a giant room with a tiny television in the corner. Aside from the beds, there was absolutely no furniture in the room. A giant window led to a wondrous view; dilapidated concrete mills and factories that had not been used in what seemed like 40 years. I remember a bum struggling with a shopping cart full of empty beer bottles, no doubt attempting to return them for a refund that would be reinvested in yet more beer. I watched him for nearly 30 minutes and he never did make it. Was I an asshole for laughing at him? In hindsight I think he had the last laugh. After all, he actually had something to do in Magdeburg.
For all of its architectural and ambianic faults, the locals more than make up for the city’s shortcomings. Cool isn’t even a word to describe them. I suppose for living in such a depressing city you’d have to compensate in some way or other. I never thought it possible, but the people of Magdeburg are quite fashionable, friendly and have an unbelievably wonderful sense of humour. (Note: I’ve noticed that East German cities have far friendlier people than its Western counterparts. They also have a really good sense of humour. I guess when drunk Russians occupy you for decades one must have a sense of humour about it).
I never thought I’d say this, but of all the cities I’ve been to, Magdeburg definitely had the most beautiful girls and they were all more than accommodating (friendly I mean, not sexually … although, I never stuck around long enough to find out if the latter was true).
I won’t even begin to try to explain what to see in Magdeburg as a tourist because I haven’t the slightest clue. I would recommend going to Projekt 7 on a Saturday night, though. Some great music, some hot dance moves, some great fashion and lots of German lager flowing until who knows when. I left at 6 a.m. and the club was still packed.