Nürnberg

We mostly know it as Nuremberg but the German name is Nürnberg. It has a long history as a centre of imperial power but we mostly remember it as the site of the Nuremberg rallies of the Nazi era and of the Nuremberg trials for war crimes in the aftermath of the war. For us it was a suitably located place to break our journey across Germany to Berlin.

Hellers 24 in Friedrichshafen does not offer a breakfast option but the tariff does include a free ‘day starter’ in the basement area. That consists of coffee or tea and a variety of croissants and other pastries. When that was offered to us last night it did not take long to decide that was our simplest option for breakfast. It was open from 7:00 am and we were there a little before 7:30 am. It did not take long to consume a couple of small pastries with coffee and we were on the road by 8:15 am.

It was my turn to drive the 260 km or so to Nürnberg. The weather forecasts Majella watched last night had suggested rain and it was overcast as we set out. As we drove on there were glimpses of blue through the morning mist and occasionally there was enough light for cars to cast shadows on the road but at other times the mist thickened again and we thought the forecasts might be right.

DSC_6999About an hour up the road we noticed signs to a UNESCO site and turned off to see what we might find. Our limited German and a sign with little more than a title meant we did not know what we were looking for and a quick web search found a site with no English. We never did find the site and still have no idea what it might have offered. We were able to tell from the website that it opened at 10:00 am and were not keen to wait 40 minutes in any case. The short deviation did take us through some quaint villages and gave us a closer look at the countryside than we could get from the highways.

We made another deviation in search of coffee at Ulm but found ourselves in a city with major road works around its tram lines and additional traffic deviations for a fun run or similar event. We saw no open cafes and headed back to the highway where we eventually found coffee at a highway service centre.

Even with those stops we were still driving into Nürnberg soon after 1:00 pm but it was almost another hour before we reached our hotel. Somehow I had formed the impression that we would need to find parking in a parking station so, as we wound through the narrow and busy streets toward the hotel we started looking for parking. The old area we were in was busy and parking spaces were rare. Eventually we found a vacant metered space where we could park (for free on Sunday) and walked the 10 minutes or so to the hotel.

There was a short term parking space there that we could have used and the hotel had parking available for a small fee some distance away. We checked in, walked back to the car, had coffee on the way, drove back to the hotel, unloaded, drove to the parking space, and set out to see the Nürnberg old town. The weather had held off until that point with some blue sky visible but there were a few spots of rain as we unloaded our gear from the car.

DSC_7017Our parking was near part of the old city wall and the castle so we spent some time exploring that area before going further. By that time the threat of rain had disappeared and we enjoyed blue sky and sunshine for the rest of the afternoon. The castle area is undergoing what appeared to be significant renovation or restoration work with cranes and scaffolding obscuring some parts of the structure. We discovered that Nürnberg had been a favoured imperial seat from the time of the Holy Roman Empire. That established its significance in German consciousness up to and including the Nazi period.

DSC_7029From there walked down the hill and visited the Albrecht Dürer Haus. He was born in Nürnberg in 1471 and had lived in the house for the 25 years before his death in 1528. I was surprised to find that Majella had not heard of Dürer. The audioguide explained the history of the house which had passed into other hands after his death and of the works that had been acquired by other cities and individuals in various ways. The house contained copies of his work to give an idea of the extent and excellence of what he had achieved. It was an interesting way to spend a bit more than an hour.

DSC_7053Further down the hill as we headed for the river we found the central market square full of market stalls. Majella had to walk the complete market to see what was on offer. Fortunately, after walking up and down the first row, the spaces were narrow enough to be able to inspect both sides on a single pass. Even more fortunately, Majella is not Virginia, and we got away with just a couple of interesting kitchen gadgets, some fabric for an as yet undetermined purpose, and some excellent (if price is a guide) organic berries. We did eventually make it to and across the river for a wider look at the old town. Despite the devastation from the World War there are many beautiful old buildings around the city and we enjoyed seeing those.

It was dinner time by then so I suggested we find somewhere to eat on the way back to the hotel. There were restaurants in the city area where we were then but it seemed better to go part way back, eat, and then walk the shorter distance. As we walked back up the hill places to eat were rare and Majella was contemplating having berries for dinner because she declined to backtrack. Luckily we found the Nürnberger Alm just short of our hotel and ate there.

It was a good find. The server had enough English to seat us and take our orders but the menus were in German and we were not sure what we would be eating until it arrived. Both items were variations of schnitzel, fried crumbed meat, with cheese in my case, and potato salad. I had a dark house beer which Majella sipped. Space was tight and another couple, he a German and she Bulgarian, with their small baby joined us. He had some English so we managed some conversation. During dinner I was approached by man from Seattle who thought I resembled his friend from San Diego and wanted to photograph me. Dinner was much more interesting than anticipated.

The short walk back to the hotel was quick. Majella managed to find an English language channel, CNN, on the television and settled comfortably for the night.