May 16, 2010

Saturday in Nuremburg

Side note: To finish up the last post, our afternoon was thwarted by the religious fest - none of the galleries we wanted to see were open! Oh well, we had a great time walking around. Now on to Nuremberg....

Nuremberg was an interesting day trip, although it's a slightly long day from Munich unless you're a hardcore traveler. Um, and I guess we were yesterday (3 museums in 9 hours!!!). The city had been preserved from medieval times until WWII when about 75% of the city was leveled by bombs. It was rebuilt and restored based on what it looked like before so you can see still some of the buildings from the 14th century.

An interesting part we learned about was there was a big synagogue (that looked beautiful in the pictures), which was torn down right before WWII. Nothing was ever built in that spot - as far as it looks like on the map - so the plaza seems like it's now a haunting reminder to its residents of the part Nuremberg played in the persecution of the Jews in WWII (e.g., Nuremberg laws taking away rights of Jews, the Nazi rally grounds and later the Nuremberg trials to prosecute the army leaders).

I regress, back to present day - we took a really early train at 7 am and got into Nuremberg around 9. Walking from the train station into the old town, we stopped by a few fountains (more on those in another post as they have water spouts in unusual spots) and a large church. Crossing over the river on one of the several bridges, we reached the Hauptmarket, central market, where the stalls were just setting up; that's how early we were.

We took a quick coffee break to set a plan of attack and then we went up to the artist Albert Durer's house, still standing even after a bomb exploded in front of it in WWII. One side and the roof had to be restored, but it was looking good after more than 500 years. Inside, there was a museum about Durer, how the artist's family lived and the time period on an audio guide with his "long-dead" wife (seemed to be a pattern in Nuremberg). After that, we walked around the city until we came to a lunch place... Mexican food that was SOOO not even close to being Mexican, it was disturbing. To give you an idea, picture slimy neon orange "cheese" on a burrito filled with spinach and green beans (no arroz con frijoles anywhere). Then and there, we decided never to try Mexican food in Germany ever again.

After our disgusting lunch and some excellent chocolate to get the bad taste out, we walked along the river and then crossed it to go to the Germanisches Museum, a massive museum about German cultural history dating way way way back. We saw everything from musical instruments to paintings to ancient tools to clothing styles through the centuries to Jewish tombstones that had been recovered. It was a large and varied museum with just about everything in it, but I wanted to learn more about Nuremberg's history.

So we went to the city museum Fembohaus for an overview and we had audio guides again with more long-dead people talking to us about the house's history. It was fascinating to see the contribution of each family member throughout the centuries to the house's decor and use. They also had amazing photographs from pre- and post-WWII bombings that showed the house and the cityscape. They did have films about Nuremberg's role in WWII, but unfortunately, it was all in German - no English subtitles or English selection on the audio guides. Sometimes I'm amazed at how much this country doesn't cater to tourists in its museums and historical sites. It's a shame, but I guess they don't get as many tourists as Spain which had a lot available in English at heavily-touristed sites.

Wrapping up our day trip, we had a lovely, quick Italian dinner before climbing on the train, thoroughly exhausted from our day. During this week, I'll post about other aspects of our day trip. Next week I'll be in New York for the week so it'll be a little quiet on the blog (unless Greg takes over... *hint hint*).

I'll leave you now with a photo of me taking over Nuremberg. This is what happens when you leave Greg and I alone, waiting for a video and with only a small city model to look at.

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