So for this weekend, I decided to take a last minute trip to Nuremberg, in the south of Germany (Bavaria). It cost me a fair bit actually as I was going last minute but what with free weekends and being so close to Cologne main station I thought that it was a great opportunity to explore! So that’s exactly what I did.
I booked via AirBnB, and after two declines (unknown reasons) I finally got a small apartment in the centre of Nuremberg and only 10 minutes on the tram!! BINGO!
I took the ICE train which was my first high speed train journey in Germany. I worked at Eurostar for 1 year on and off and had heard A LOT about the ICE train. I must say I was very impressed and did feel like I was cheating on Eurostar a little bit …(Sorry guys). They all have head rests that you can actually call a headrest and not just a small piece cloth covering the seat. It was an actual pillow! and the leg room was amazing!! For someone that measures at 5ft 9 1/2 I am always grateful for the extra couple of inches on long haul travel. The trays don’t squeak when you put them up and down and lots of window time to look at the glorious countryside! I also loved the fact that the notices on the train come in German and ENGLISH!!! On the way there the train guard didn’t speak English, but as I sit and write this on the train, the train driver spoke in English. It’s the small touches.
So anyway once I arrived in Nuremberg, Michael the man I was renting from met me at the station in his car. I have been notified that for safety I probably shouldn’t have done that, but he was on a tight schedule and I had already spoken to him on the phone and knew what he looked like, but I wouldn’t condone that for single female travellers! So he picked me up in his Alfa Romeo which was lovely and like any German, he drove like one too. When I drive the van drivers are always up your back, breaking at the last minute and nipping in and out of traffic. Well Michael drove like that, I knew he knew his car inside and out and I didn’t feel unsafe but my life! talk about break last minute and up the back of other cars – but that’s just normal for them. Not as polite as the English ;).
The apartment was very nice! Clean and tidy. He actually lives there so smelt of boy and lots of ties and manly things everywhere. It also had this on the wall….
He did British Foreign Politics as a PhD so his classmates thought it would be nice to get him a full length posts of Tony! I can’t say I was best pleased to have that idiot facing the bed but hey 😛
So he left and I got comfortable in the double bed and set up my laptop to watch Orange is the New Black. I managed to Skype Karl too, which was nice. The internet was really good so I was able to speak properly to him and for sometime too.
I was out of the door by 9am and caught the tram from just down the road. €3 for a single which I don’t find unreasonable. I was in the main city centre in about 10 minutes and then I decided to take a walk around the city. At this time of the morning it was fairly deserted. I went first to the medieval walled section. It was beautiful. Quaint little shops that had ornaments and trinkets ready for Easter as well as jewellery. There was a small pub there too and places to eat. It was so lovely. Most of the shops were shut so I had a nice little window shop. It was pretty much me and Chinese tourist aha.
After that I took a stroll into the main square, where the christmas markets take place. It was stunning. The old town is just stunning. Somewhat like Hildesheim but on a bigger scale. I went into the Evangelical Church there and lit a candle for my nan. It’s weird. My nan and myself aren’t religious but I find comfort in lighting a candle for her in a church or cathedral that I visit. I suppose it’s just nice to light it in memory of her and know it will continue burning for some hours after I’m gone and keep her alive.
The gold in this church was crazy! HUGE statues and the stained windows were beautiful. At this time in the day it was sunny so the sun light was coming through the window and making everything glisten.
From there I then took a walk taking pictures of anything that look remotely interesting, soaking up the atmosphere of this place that I have only ever known to be related heavily to World War 2. Nice to get a different feeling for it myself and not have it tarred by something so horrific.
I have been eyeing up some dresses online from H&M so I took a look in there and bought a jump suit and a dress! oops! but the dress has dogs on 😉 and the jump suit is rather posh and backless so I couldn’t resist. I needed something for Karl’s birthday so was only right…:P
From there I went to the Nazi Rally Grounds. The whole reason I travelled this far in the first place. For anyone that knows me well, I have such a huge interest in World War 2. It started from school and learning briefly about it and because my Grandad was captured I have always wanted to know more about that. As I’ve got older I have wanted to learn not just about the terrible things that happened but more about the political side of it and why it came to be what it did. Being in Germany I’ve wanted to know how the war is portrayed over here and get the other side of the story. I have read about the Nazi rally grounds in many books and seen them in footage, so it has been on my list of places to see.
I got the tram there and was there within 10 minutes! and went into the museum first that is within the north wing of the Congress Hall. A huge building, originally built to hold 50,000 people and have a place for Hitler and his main men to relax. It was never finished and so from the outside it looks like the Collseum in Rome but when you see the inside it just worn red brick and sandstone (pictures below). You can see the placings of where things would have been but its just overgrown and used to house things for concerts.
The museum was great! I had my little audio guide and unlike that of the El De Haus it started in order. It took you from the beginning just after World War 1 in Germany and what Hitler was doing at that time. It was really interesting to learn about where he came from and what his thinking was. I am half way through reading Hitlers biography ‘Mein Kampf’ which I knew he wrote in prison but I never truly knew why he was in there! But this museum detailed all of that and how he was so brash and confident that he would house marches in the town and storm conferences with this backward thinking. It was from there that he got put in prison for protesting and trying to take over Munich in Bavaria. He was wounded along with many other Nazi’s and was imprisoned and charged for treason. What got me is just how fast he started gaining a following and how big the party started to grow!
The pictures below of the railway track is an installation to mark the people that were killed during the Holocaust. The grey cardboard pieces have names of the dead on them. Unfortunately, they couldn’t put all the names of the dead within the installation as this would then result in the railway track being around 5-6 miles long maybe even more to be able to fit in all the names.
Below is the Congress Hall (where the museum is held) that was designed by Albert Speer. It was set to house 50,000 people but wasn’t actually finished as you can see from the pictures below.
They had some good footage and it wasn’t a boring museum. It was just fascinating to learn who this man was and how he was just an absolute mentalist! Which I knew already but this definitely confirmed that! The audio guide I felt was little sarcastic at times, which was pretty funny. One sentence went a little like this..
‘Hitler had the Nazi rally grounds to show the world what kind of a party they were, how big they were but also to show how big his insecurities were and how much of a small man he was.’ hahaha.
I then went from the museum and walked around the lake to get to the other parts of the grounds, the ones I feel are the most famous. The Zeppelin Field.
These facial expressions are my way of expressing my feelings towards the Nazi party..and these buildings..Even though it was really interesting..
It was fascinating walking to the top and standing in the stand where Hitler would have stood. I looked out from there across the grounds to the stands and it really is hard to imagine the whole place filled with that many people! There were people playing football and I could hear the men shouting and being rowdy from their game. It made me think of the noise that must have been created when 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of people were roaring ‘Heil Hitler.’ How scary and overwhelming.
The grounds as you can see from the picture has since been turned into a football field and a running track. The other concrete parts are now a lorry and caravan park. It’s weird to think this was once a place of huge evil and tyranny and now its just built on and over took by people of modern society. Towards the end of the war, the grounds were blown up by us but also by the Germans themselves. They blew the swastika off the top of it. It is now half the size as it was once was. You can see sections of it that would have the swastika signs on but is now just a stain on the brick.
There is a door you can go through (see below) but it has since been shut to the public, what a shame! I found some pictures from the Daily Mail that shows you the untouched inside of the Zeppelin Tribune. It’s definitely elaborate!
I walked from there around the lakes to try and find another section called the ‘Hall of Honour’ but I couldn’t find it. This part of the grounds was initially built to give remembrance for the soldiers lost in World War 1 but Hitler decided to have it for the remembrance of the men and women that died in the name of the party. Fortunately, it was never used for that and Hitler went there a couple of times for the remembrance of World War 1 soldiers. 10 seconds on the tram to go back home after admitting defeat I went past the building I was looking for. But never mind. I got to see what I wanted to see and there is always next time!
I went back into the city centre and Nuremberg was then awake and brimming with people! The shops here are great, from your normal high street stores to your high end of fashion and things I only dream about owning! It was raining at this time and I was cold and hungry so I decided to go back.
I had something to eat and watched Orange is the New Black and started watching ‘Catch Me If You Can’ with Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks.
This was pretty much my weekend in a nut shell. I felt guilty for not exploring anymore then I did, considering the price I payed to go. But it was so good and I knew the Nazi museum would be worth it.
I researched into the grounds a bit more when I got back to the apartment and found that the Mayor of Nuremberg wants to renovate the rally grounds so that people can visit and see them. Some locals aren’t happy about it due to the £60 million it will take to do it but other people are all for it. I personally think that it should be renovated not in a glamour way but in a way to bring people to see it. It is part of history and everyone should see it just once. It makes you gain prospective and makes you realise and helps you understand what kind of people they were. Yes ok you know that they were evil and horrific crimes were committed but after seeing the rally grounds and the idea that Hitler had I really pity him. I never had that feeling before, I just had anger. But now I pity him and feel sorry for him that he went to such great lengths to have these structures built to try and scare the world and to try and make everyone see what a leader he was. But instead he was just a small little man, with one testicle trying to get some company with twisted visions.
Anyway enough about that, it was fantastic trip and I am so glad that I got to go and see another part of Germany. I have the money to do it at the moment so why not and I can’t see myself having the time or the money to come back and see everything I want to in the future.
Next week I go to Brussels, Belgium to see my friend from drama school. Another city that I have never seen and another country too! 🙂 Excited!!!
On a happier note..
I want to wish my Mum a wonderful Mother’s day and I am sorry I can’t be there this weekend but only 13 days until I’m home again. You’re the greatest mum and offer so much support and love that I can’t ever be without you. Love you loads oxoxoxo