Our first day in Germany was spent in Nürnberg. We arrived at Hotel Garni Keiml at 10pm, only to discover that it was located down a side street that was lined with sex shops and strip joints. We were a little apprehensive, but the hotel was lovely, the hostess was very friendly, and we couldn't see the shops from our room anyway (though we were surprised that the disco ran all night on a Sunday night!). At 5am we both gave up trying to sleep (I guess our clocks were out of whack) and we headed out to do some exploring. When we returned to our hotel, we had the most wonderful breakfast spread in a beautiful breakfast room: fresh buns, eggs, granola, yoghurt, cheese, meat, fruit, tea, coffee, juice... beautiful!
With our tummies full, we headed out to explore Nürnberg. Using our trusty Rick Steve's book as a guide, we toured the old town, snapping shots of old churches, fountains, and buildings, several of which were undergoing reconstruction. Then we wandered up to the castle where we were treated to great views of the town.
After lunch (wurst in a cheese stick... yummy!) we headed back to the car and drove out to the Nazi Documentation Centre, located at the Nazi Parade grounds. What a fascinating museum! It chronicles the history of the Nazi party, Hitler's vision for the future (Berlin was to be capital of the world by 1950!), and why the party was ultimately so successful in winning the hearts and confidence of the German people. Quite scary really, but I felt that the entire display served as a warning to people. I was also impressed that while we were there, several young soldiers were there to tour the facility. I got the impression it was compulsary. Good idea... (not just for Germany). We originally had planned to tour the parade grounds too, but after learning that they were being used for a soccer field, it just didn't seem like it would be as meaningful.
With a few hours of daylight remaining (daylight yes, warmth no... it's pretty chilly!), we got back into our little Renault Clio (very cute!) and decided to check out the northern portion of the Romatic Road. But more on that later..
We finally made it! The layover in Vancouver was manageable... YVR is like a mall with all the stores, amenities, and places to chow. Our flight into Amsterdam was uneventful, but I will tell you one thing: never try to sleep on a flight shared with 60+ Spanish high school students returning from an exchange to Canada. I assure you, resistance is futile. We weren't all that impressed with Amsterdam airport. We found it quite dirty, expensive, and there were not enough seats. Despite this, we both managed to grab a few Zs while we waited for our flight.