As it has been a while since our last trip (cough). We were out to discover Germany. Flying out of London City Airport (a short bus away for Mitch from work) and a connector in Frankfurt would take us to Nuremberg. We were surprised at the efficiency in how they worked their airlines. Frankfurt is the third biggest after Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle, all connected by buses and large passageways. Luckily we were led to our next point quickly and made it to Nuremberg ahead of schedule.
On arrival we were straight off the plane, straight on the underground and on our way to our AirBnB apartment. Close to 11PM, our host – Volker was diligently waiting for us as we wandered around around the street. Our studio apartment was great, complete with one of those European coffee machines. After a mandatory coffee, we couldn’t get to sleep and went for a bit of a midnight walk in search of a 24 hour supermarket.We had no luck on a supermarket being open, but when we finally got in in the morning found everything ridiculously cheap inside – especially beer! Rising early we went for a 5km run to the Nazi Rally Grounds. Well, it was supposed to be a 5km run, but some confusion between directions to Resenburg and Resenburger St took us on a bit of a detour, adding a few km onto the run. Finally arriving at the grounds, we saw most areas had been abandoned, neglected or put to more industrious use – probably for good reason. A bus depot and truck stop lied over the former Zeppelin field, where tens of thousands of Nazi rallies took place in the 1930’s. The Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände museum, connected to the large amphitheatre took us through an audioguided tour of the history of the Nazi Party and the role of the area and Nuremberg as the “most German” city in the myth.
We briefly met up with friends Simon and Annette who told us they were going to a Castle due east. Again after heading in that direction and some more confusion, we found the Castle was in fact to the West! So we got in more running as the temperature started to drop, going through the back roads and a small community Christmas market along the way. Mitch’s internal compass led him to “follow the bells” to find the centre of town. It actually worked and we made our way back to the apartment to get ready for an evening at the Xmas markets.
The Christmas Kindle Markets were on a scale that was really impressive! Nine different markets spread over the “Aldstraat” or old town area of Nuremberg, connected by a string of stalls selling their wares. Thousands of punters had come into town with authentic German novelties to cater for the swelling crowds. For food you had a ½ metre bratwurst sausages, currywurst, sauerkraut (cabbage), Lebkuchen (gingerbread), pretzels, nuremburgers, and some funny herring (cured fish) rolls.
To drink, there was beer (of course), gluhwein (mulled wine), egg nog (which was too sweet) and non alcoholic varieties for the kids. Decorations and toys were also prevalent, with zwetcshgenmännle (prune men), glass balls, felt hats, nutcracker dolls and an assortment other wooden toys. All authentic and not made in China. For the kids area there was a lit up Merry-Go-Rounds and a shed for Santa Claus.
We met up again with Simon and Annette for some gluhwein and made our way to a local bar. In the bar, like most German bars, they only had one type of beer. The bar was full so it must have been good (and cheap at 10 euro a round)! There were accordions all over the ceiling and dolls along the wall. Made our way to a restaurant for a meaty German meal we were a bit disappointed at there being no pork knuckle. A mixed grill of pork steaks, sausages, sauerkraut and kartoffelsalat (potato salad) held us in good stead and we made our way back to the same bar. Later the same place got getting very boozy as the Polka music took off. Although we didn’t know any of the words, we sang along to a few “classics”, like “Rot de Rosen” and Tom Jones “Delilah” where everyone began dancing on the tables and bars.
Our walk back through the seedy area of town had a lot of lights, but they were all red… They didn’t have much German food either, but a dirty doner kebab hit the spot. Following day, nursing a bit of a hangover we walked down the road to the Nuremberg Courthouse where the famous trials of the remaining Nazi leaders took place, including Hermann Goering, at one time second-highest-ranked member of the Nazi Party and Hitler’s designated successor, Rudolf Hoss, Commandant of Auschwitz and Rudolf Hess, exiled Deputy Führer until he flew to Scotland in 1941 in an attempt to broker peace. We sat in and watched testimonials of the victims and defendants.
Volker, our dotting host, who was tidying the apartment, patiently held onto our bags for the afternoon as we were able to explore the markets again and trek uphill to the Nuremberg Castle. Nuremberg grew in popularity as the unofficial home of the Holy Roman Empire and the successions of Emperors who travelled the empire. The large gemstone set crown sat alone in the room, nearby, photo’s of American G.I.’s wearing the crown after the Nuremberg raids, smoking cigars and parading on the ramparts.
From the Sinterwell Tower, photos of Nuremberg before and after the 1944 US and GB bombing raid (which killed 6000 people in one sweep) were shown. The town was almost completely obliterated with reports of fierce fighting carrying on from building to building in the closing weeks of the war. The rebuild of the town did its best to stay true to original designs and exteriors now look true to their original form.
A speedy exit and final passage through the markets took us back to the airport. Mitch made friends with a crazy man in a suit, who kept pushing his armrest recliner and staring at him, then he got talking to a British Physicist on the next leg. Tam managed not to leave her phone on the plane.In all, we really enjoyed Nuremberg, a really magical place, living up to its reputation as the “most German” of all cities. Well recommended for Christmas Markets.Next weekend we have Bruges Christmas markets in Belgium! So looking forward to that