Sunday, July 19, 2015

Travel Diary: Nürnberg

A few weeks ago I went on a whirlwind tour of Germany. My parents came to visit me for a couple of weeks so naturally we went trailing as much as we could, ever day a new city/town! But today's travel diary entry is a trip I went on not with my parents but with my boyfriend: to Nürnberg. The main reason we chose to visit this city was that, due to it's centrality, it was the host of Nazi Party Rallies and following at the close of the war, the Nürnberg Trials. I like to do more than just one thing when I go to a city, even when I just have a day, so we also planned to visit a cemetery and see the markets in the Altstadt (old part of town).

Upon arriving we walked straight to the Altstadt and thought the way to the markets would be obvious, if they weren't there as soon as we entered. Unfortunately we got lost.. I want to blame my really slow phone connection, but it's not entirely O2's fault. It wasn't so bad though because it was a nice enough day, at that point (expected heavy rain later in the day, which we'd prepared for) and the city is rather nice. In the end we found the markets and they were quite good. I prefer the markets in Freiburg myself because they've got a lot more stalls and variety. We got some strawberries (I love strawberry season!), some bärlauch pesto (bärlauch is a kind of herb/plant that is very garlicky, so this pesto is basically garlic pesto), and dried mango. As the smart travellers that we are, we'd brought our own lunch so we didn't feel the need to buy too much at the markets. I do recommend visiting if you go to Nürnberg, but if you're choosing between it and Freiburg based purely on market status I would definitely encourage you to pick Freiburg (a separate travel entry on this one day..).

After the markets we went out to Johannisfriedhof because I love cemeteries. That sounds completely morbid but I think they're really beautiful places; everything is lined up and the ones here in Germany are always very well kept with flowers on every place. This particular cemetery was not too different from others in Germany but it was a lovely place to stroll through. I really enjoy looking at all the flowers and the church at the centre is an unexpected pop of colour and structure. Apparently it's quite an historical place with some famous people's graves, including Albrecht Dürer.. but I prefer not knowing who's buried and walking around acknowledging each name I read with respect. It's really beautiful that no single grave is more grand or covered in flowers than any other.

The museum that houses all the information regarding the Nazi period is the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände (typical German mouthful) and is on the grounds were many plans were drawn for various buildings and gathering places for the Nazis. I'm not hugely into history but I know how important it is and it was actually quite an interesting museum. If you can't speak german you have to get an audio guide. The information is all on the walls like a gallery and is all in German so if you're a native/incredibly good speaker then you could save a few bucks (5 euro to be precise) and just read it. This is a really extensive and after not even getting through half of it we started not listening to each and every information board.. I don't know how long that would have taken! The best part of our visit, for me, was definitely touring the outdoor monuments/sites where monuments were planned. We managed (after a lot of effort mind you, not too happy with Norris Bike) to hire some bikes and it was the perfect way to get around. The craziest thing we saw was a couple taking their wedding photos in the grounds of the Congress Hall! Completely inappropriate. The outdoor touring after that was less crazy. Biking down paths lined with trees around a big lake: Dutzendreich, was a lovely way to spend the rest of the afternoon and seeing the sites was very interesting and thought provoking. The Zeppelinfeld was very impressive and you could even stand on the very spot where Hitler made big speeches, a scary feeling. It's quite horrifying to see how huge the Nazi Party was and how much influence they had to be able to plan and start architecture of this scale. Nowadays they put on a big rock music festival there called Rock I'm Park which I think is not a bad way to put the space to use.

The view of the Congress Hall from across the lake.

The first in a series of entries on European living and holidaying!

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