Monday, August 08, 2016

Nuremberg--A City of Good and Ill

Saturday, June 27, 2015
We arrived in Nuremberg around lunchtime and our short stay did not get off to a great start as it was cloudy with occasional spitting showers.  We chose the "included" standard city tour rather than an extra alternate that concentrated on visiting sites connected to the Nazi era including the Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg War Trials were held.  On the drive into the city proper our coach didn't stop much and photos from a moving vehicle with the windows covered with raindrops leave a great deal to be desired.    We did, however, get a decent look at the old medieval walls and the variety of defensive towers, which are among the best preserved of any German city. 

They have even managed to preserve some of the old city gates. 

 My bus window shots did manage an acceptable image of the main RR station. Our guide noted that it was a way stop for migrants trying to get transport to other parts of Europe. 
Also the Opera House.

 And the Nazi War Museum or Documentation Center,

which has a viewing bridge that juts out in the vast unfinished colosseum  shaped Nazi Rally Grounds.  Had it been completed by Hitler it would have held a 100,000 people.
 Now it is just a brick shell (eerily like its historical namesake)  that the tourist coaches drive through. 

The old town was protected by moats as well as walls and has several fascinating bridges

and plenty of  restored ancient streetscapes. 

Our coach finally deposited us on the top of the rocky mount that contains the huge Imperial Castle or Kaiserburg.  The fortress was never taken during its long lifetime and you can see why as you enter.  You walk by old towers like the Luginsland and 

 onto a spindly wooden bridge over the old now empty moat.

Coming off the bridge you enter a dark tunnel through an outer defensive wall.

 An opening in the roof of tunnel enabled defenders to pour down wrath upon any attackers.

If a foe managed to fight his way through the tunnel, all he gained was an additional high walled 2nd perimeter courtyard where more lethal projectiles would no doubt be rained down upon him.  

It would take fighting through another gate to reach the central palace environs or bailey.    

"Attackers Be Warned" says my wife's journal. There are hundreds of people in there and the women's WC has only three stalls. :) 

Central to this area is the ultimate lookout--the Sinwell Tower which probably dates back to the 12th century.  It was the final keep and no doubt the repository for the most valued objects as well as the king's treasury.  

Across from it is a small two story building from 1563 that contains a keeper's cottage and the castle's deep well.  The well itself  clearly dates from much earlier as no castle fortress would be built without some kind of siege resistant water supply.  You gotta hydrate the troops. 

From the ramparts in front of the tower you can gaze down on the old city with its signature red roofs and beyond.

You are also reminded by your guide that many of the castle buildings as well as 80% of the town in front of you were destroyed or heavily damaged by allied bombing in WW II. Click to enlarge this photo.

A cobblestone walkway leads down off the front of castle mount into the old town below.  It was quite steep and rough. Another warning to any tourist that Europe is no place for thin soled strappy sandals or loose fitting clogs.  Get yourself some good thick soled real walking shoes to protect against blisters and ankle sprains.

Once down to the old town again, it was a short stroll to the area honoring Nuremberg's most famous artist-- Albrecht Durer.  His home is lovingly restored.

There is,  of course, the requisite statue.

And even a satirical take on one of his most famous paintings.

Some further walking took us toward the central market square and St. Sebald Church where our guide turned us loose for some free time before our coach picked us up again. 

Unfortunately, showers started to plague us again.  We stepped into a supermarket to check out what was carried and ended up in buying some local mustard in squeeze tubes that we thought might travel better in a suitcase than a glass bottle.
Back out on the street an interesting clock caught our attention. It was on the front of the Catholic "Church of Our Lady."  The doors were open and in we went.

In the late afternoon it was almost deserted.  We settled into a pew to rest our feet and listen.  In a few minutes we were the only ones there aside from a young man playing the organ down near the altar. There is nothing quite like that sound echoing gently through a soaring space. It was one of those serendipitous moments when, for fifteen blessed minutes, you felt what it was like to be a traveler and not a tourist. We had discovered something by ourselves; it was not on the tour, we were alone, and felt sublimely fulfilled. 

Just as we left the church a short stab of sunlight illuminated the decorated clock high above the entrance. It was just enough to make a colorful bookend to our remembrance of those moments inside.

We returned to the bustle of the central market squares which, like most European markets, was packed with small booths selling a variety of enticing wares.

Big brats were on offer for the larger appetites.

while tasty, more Regensburg style, smaller sausages in a bun were being flogged for a quick snack.

German bakers are known for their cakes, but a confection we had not seen before seemed to be a popular item.  A woman rolled out and shaped dough in strips that were draped around a a cylindrical mold attached to a wooden handled skewer.

The skewers were popped into an oven that rotated them in the heat.

When golden brown the finished treats are pulled off the skewers, rolled in sugar, and delivered piping hot to the buyer.  Delish!

Upon our return to the boat late that afternoon  the ship's waiters and waitresses gathered at the gangway to prepare us for the Captain's Farewell dinner.

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