Ich Liebe Nurnberg! (I Love Nuremberg)
Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
11Trip End Sep 17, 2010
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Arrived by train in Nurnberg. Directions I printed from the hostel said "cross street from main station, turn left, and walk along old city wall." Well they really meant old city wall! The altstadt (old town) is surrounded by the medieval city wall and a moat, and at the far north end is the castle nurnberg! Exiting the main station facing north the first thing that strikes you is a huge defensive tower along the wall guarding one of the main entrances to the old town (one of about eight towers still guarding the perimeter). Our hostel is just inside the walls of the altstadt.
When we get to our hostel, the man behind the counter (who looks kinda like "comic book guy" character from The Simpsons......just google it..lol) is wearing a t-shirt that says "Nurnberg: Proudly avoiding bombs since 1945". I had to laugh at that, ...
After check-in we walked thru the center of old town to find some food, and just behind the hostel walked past a monument that consisted of several tall white marble pillars in a single row stretching maybe fifty yards down the middle of a street. Each pillar was carved in several languages, and when we got to the end there was a large white marble arch carved with the date and "U.N." We realized it was commemorating the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the writing on each pillar was each article of the declaration.
Back at the hostel we planned out our sightseeing for tomorrow, and met some new people in the hostel common room (my new favorite thing to do.) There's a couple (23 / 24 y/o) who've been traveling for 10 months! So no more complaints about how long I've been gone, ok??
Day 2---we got up early and took the SBahn (metro) to the Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, just a few stops away
The museum itself was incredibly moving. An audio tour provided with admission walked us through 15-20 rooms with exhibits and videos showing the rise of Hitler and the NSDAP. It explained how everything the party did was to subjugate the individual to the group, and create a cult of Hitler wherein he was a larger-than-life figure above questioning in people's minds.
The remaining bulk of the exhibit was dedicated to the history of the Rally Grounds in Nurnberg, and how the city became the stronghold of the party loyalty. The grounds were constructed with a wide 2km street for the parading soldiers to march past. The street, (the Grosse Strasse, "Great Street"), was lined up with the medieval Castle Nurnberg, symbolically linking the history of Germany with the future of the Nazi Party, (like I said, everything was done for a specific reason)
Halfway down the Grosse Strasse we turned left towards the Zeppelin Field (like a blimp, not the band). This must have been an incredible sight at one time. The huge rectangular stadium has large stone structures at intervals that resemble square pillbox bunkers. During rallies they would have had enormous red banners with the Nazi swastika on each of these bunkers, and giant torch-like fires for light. At one end was the Fuerer's viewing box and speaking platform. There also would have been large anti-aircraft lights around the perimeter shooting columns of light straight into the sky, creating what must have been a very impressive and intimidating sight.
The party used this field (before the war) for the staging of mock battle scenarios for the public, showing not only the might of the German military forces, but also preparing the minds of the people for war.
Once we got back, we walked around the old town taking in the sights
Our last stop of the night was Courtroom 600--the courtroom where the infamous Nuremburg Trials were held after the war. We had to take a short train ride from old town to reach it. When we reached the spot, we found no plaque to commemorate this event. The whole building was closed for renovations, so we couldnt go inside either. The only indication we were in the right place was the address we had in the guidebook.. oh well. It was still like being a part of history just to stand near some of these places.
We left Nurnberg on a late train tuesday to Prague
Well we gave up after about an hour wandering the lonely streets of Hof and went back through the twisting and turning streets to find the station. We met two more men heading our way from the station in search of the bar and told them we had no luck, so we all went back to the station together. One was a Tunisian, who spoke broken English, Arabic, and Italian. We were able to talk to him in a mixture of Spanish, German, and English, and whatever Italian phrases I could remember from The Godfather..(unfortunately, those phrases arent exactly polite conversation starters.) The other man, a drunk German, spoke a little more English than the Arab, but all he wanted to talk about was how lovely his hometown Leipzig is, and how we should come visit it instead of going to Dresden..
Well the train finally came, much to our relief, and we pressed on towards Prague, arriving in the early afternoon on the 18th.