Friday, January 06, 2006

Nuremburg Part II or How the Reich Stole Christmas

I had planned an early start. I was going to visit all 14 of the featured attractions inside the city walls after a trip the Nazi Rally grounds and museum, but per usual, I slept in. After a long, unnecessary tram trip (do not take the #9 Tram in the direction of Thon—that is the wrong ‘end of line’), I made it to the museum. The building itself is a modern addition to the coliseum built as part of a larger complex intended to both intimidate, and flaunt the power of the Reich. It remains the largest example of Nazi architecture standing. The entrance to the museum is scary, brilliant but scary…
Unfortunately, the rest of the museum isn’t nearly as impressive; an audio guide is free with admission, and absolutely necessary for those of us who don’t speak German, and all there is. One moves from wall to wall “reading” different nuggets of information with the occasional video and blown-up photo. There are little to no exhibits (in the traditional sense), artifacts, memorabilia. Just wall after wall of words. In German.

The whole experience put me in kind of a bad mood, for several reasons: 1.) It was a museum about the following the rise of Hitler’s power, his armed forces, and even a few jewels from his concentration camps. 2.) As interesting as it could have been, it wasn’t 3.) and because of that, sooooooo boring. 4.) The whole thing added two hours to my late start. 4b.) It was rainy and cold outside, so 4c.) I wasn’t able to walk the 2 k.m. to the Zepplin Field where all the action took place. Hhmpf.
I took a bus back to town—knowing simply that it was headed into the city walls—and not any idea where. I hopped off when I saw an old church and went inside. I’ve seen my fair share of European churches/cathedrals, and they all sort of blur together unless I am able to identify them by their history and/or cultural signification (a bit of a buff, I am).

As I didn’t have a guide to any of the churches, their architecture, or their reliquary, I just walked around and enjoyed the handmade Christmas decorations. Seeing these Bavarian churches (okay, no onion domes*, but as they are in Bavaria, they count) all decked out for the season was something to behold—and each one was so different. I loved it.
That afternoon, I walked around town for several hours, spent even more time and money at the market and ate the following:
2 Nuremburg sausages (which really equals four as they serve two skinny little sausages on one roll)
3 deep-fried hashbrown-type patties with applesauce
1 serving of nougat
1 shish of chocolate-covered fruit
1 mug (shaped like Santa’s boot hand-painted with scenes from the market—which I got to keep!) of glüwien.
1giant mug of hot chocolate
1 piece of spice cake
It was a dark, miserable day with cold, icy drizzle and wind which was seemingly unaffected by the large buildings across its path, but I was able to take some great photos, lose my way back to the Lett M Sleep, only to once again find myself between the wall of medieval brick and mortar, and a wall of half-naked, skanky women. I was easily able to find my way from there. Thank God for landmarks.
I took a nap and chatted with a bunkmate. Marissa from Australia spoke a little German and gave me a few tips. She also introduced me to a few other hostelmates. They were all headed out to a local pub and invited me along. There was no crazy partying in Nuremburg, there was actually no partying of any kind. One pint of Guinness—what is it with people flocking to Irish pubs—1.) they’re everywhere—would you really rather go there than a…oh, I dunno: a German pub? 2.) We had met some rather intriguing (and nice to look at) local boys, but after losing them in the shuffle (some ass from our little int’l group insisted on moving down tha’ the pub instead of the agreed upon bar, I really wasn’t in the mood to party, and was back in bed by midnight.
I really enjoyed my stay in Nuremburg. Had I the time (and choice), I would’ve stayed an extra day there. The people I met at the Lett M Sleep, and my experiences in town left me content to have stayed a while longer, see more churches (maybe go to a Christmas service), check out some of the other landmarks, museums, and galleries (of which there are a lot of in the area).

*I am told that Catholic churches in the heart of Bavaria all feature onion domes, while the Protestant houses of worship tend to be much more subdued and… well, Protestant.


Blogger European said...

All the Christmas markets I went to were good for one thing: food. No happy walnut people, but booths and booths of mood rings and hair scrunchies. *shudder* And the worst bit was the blaring music: annoying American Christmas songs translated into German sung by children's choirs. I have a feeling it helps them sell their Gluehwein...

5:43 PM  

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