Before we started planning this trip the only thing we associated with Nuremberg was the WWII Nuremberg Trials. That is probably typical for many people and such a shame because we learned there is so much more to Nuremberg than its dark past.
This first day was also our first day in Europe. That means we had messed up internal clocks from jet lag, which is why we found ourselves in a beer garden eating lunch at 3:00 pm. We of course had some German beer, and I had a pretzel while my husband had the famous Nuremberg sausages. Fortified and happy we were off on our city walk!
When we reached St. Lawrence Church we were at the intersection of Nuremberg’s two main streets. This is where the Bavarian Kings would have processed to the Cathedral. Now the street includes a Starbucks, L’Occitaine, Pandora jewelry, and other stores. I texted my mom that I could have been in the middle of our mall, not in the middle of a historic place in a town that is 1,000 years old.
The first thing that is awe-inspiring when visiting most towns in Germany, and on our visit to Normandy two years ago, is many of the buildings we saw and entered were destroyed during WWII. This Cathedral is one of those buildings. To think these buildings were rebuilt with their artwork and windows restored or replaced is amazing. Most of the time if you did not know this fact you would have no idea half, or all, of the building was rubble 75 years ago.
When we reached the town square the market was open and I found gingerbread cookies. Yes, within two hours of being in Germany we had beer, pretzels, and now gingerbread. This was going to be an awesome culinary trip for us carb and beer lovers!
Good thing we had the carbs and gingerbread because we were in for an uphill climb to the Nuremberg Castle. One thing we don’t remember and we have to explain to people as we are huffing and puffing, is we live in Florida. Florida is flat – our highest elevation is Bok Tower at 295 feet. We have no hills, we barely have inclines, and on top of that we live in a ranch house! When we are faced with steps or hills, or even slight inclines, it takes us time, and can even wipe us out!
Finally we made it to the top – a little winded, but we made it! We were a little disappointed by the castle itself. All you really need to see there is the deep well. Why? Remember the hill I just complained about – that means the well is deep – 164 feet deep! To demonstrate the depth they gather everyone in the well room, and the guide pours a bucket of water into the well. It takes about seven seconds until it hits the water at the bottom of the well! Then they lower a candle so you can kind of see how deep the well is. This is what you are paying for in the price of admission to see.
Our second day in Nuremberg was our WWII day. We hopped on the trolley to the Documentation Center and Congress Hall. Congress Hall was left unfinished due to the start of the war. There are even rocks sitting about left in mid-construction, and after the war Nuremberg was not going to complete Hitler’s dream. The first thing you notice about the Documentation Center is a metal and glass shaft driven into it. This is symbolic. The building was designed by Albert Speer. The shaft is a symbolic spear – signifying a spear being driven through Speer and Hitler’s goals.
The museum, as with all WWII museums, is sobering, educational, and just makes you walk away wondering “why” and “how”. The Documentation Center is attached to Congress Hall. We, well I, because my husband is afraid of heights, walked out on the “spear”/bridge to look at Congress Hall. This is modeled after Rome’s Colosseum. You can see the idea of it, when looking from a distance. Thankfully this was never finished.
We tried to walk around to Zeppelin Field. This is the site of many of the rallies that are synonymous with Hitler and can be seen in most historical documentaries. We almost got around to the field, but realized that there was a car race there, so we could not get in. If we were with my Dad I am betting we would have gone into the race and been able to see the field!
Would we visit Nuremberg again, probably not, we loved our time in Munich and other areas of Germany much more. That being said, my husband is a history nut, and this is good place to visit if you are interested in learning more about WWII. Just make sure there isn’t a car race on the day you want to visit Zeppelin Field!