Central Aust '09
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Next stop after Bamberg was Nurnberg, quite a signifiant city in Germany's history.
We arrived after a comfortable trip, into the main railway station which is huge! I guess this was our first experience with a "real" Hauptbahnhof (main railway station), as there was a mini shopping mall within the station itself - shops including a newsagent, a butcher, a bakery and more. This bakery soon proved to be somewhat of a favourite :)
Directly outside the railway station was a large junction, with plenty of traffic and also some trams passing by. This seems to be the boundary between the old town, and the new town. Our hotel (IBIS Nurnberg Marientor) was an easy walk from the railway station, not even 5 minutes, so we settled quite nicely.
By the time we unpacked it was getting fairly late so we headed out for a walk. We walked towards the old town, grabbed some ice cream, took some photos and just generaly observed the scenery. It was really quite peaceful walking around, just a few late-night shops open and not too many people. Ater a short time, we headed back to the hotel.
The next morning we grabbed a coffee (at our favourite bakery!) and began our sightseeing walk around the old town using the maps that we found on the Internet. The entrance to the old town is dominated by a huge guard tower which is apparently called Stadtbefestigung. From there, it's miles of old cobbled streets, lots of pedestrians, lots of bicycles and hardly any cars.
We did the "Historic Mile" tour, which is a self-guided walk around the old town. This takes you past numerous sights and has an accompanying document which explains what you are looking at. We passed Mauthall (Toll House) which is now a pub/restaurant, St Lorenzkirche (St Lorenz Church), Nassauerhaus, Heilig-Geist-Spital (Hospital of Holy Ghost) and we ended up in Hauptplatz, the main town square. There was a market on that day, funnily enough called Hauptmarkt. There was also some weird modern art/scuplture, which was just a tower of plastic chairs like the type you'd find at a school ... different - yes, art - I'm not sure? Unfortunately, art or no art, this sculpture was built over the top of Schner Brunnen, the Beautiful Fountain.
After Hauptplatz we saw Fraunkirche (Church of Our Lady) and we were lucky enough to see the ringing of the bells. After that was St Sebalduskirche and the Alte Rathaus on the way to Kaiserburg Castle where we did a quick tour, and paid a few Euro to hear the story of the castle including a demonstration of the really deep well. The tour guide here was excellent, told a great story, and was happy to have a chat afterwards. The view from the top of the guard tower was amazing!
After Kaiserburg Castle we were off to Reichsparteitagsgelande (Nazi Congress Hall). This is a little outside the Old Town, so bus 36, 55 and 65 go there. I seem to recall we took bus 36, which stopped on the first street below the castle, Theresianstrasse from memory!
Reichsparteitagsgelande (Nazi Congress Hall) is a modern museum, built right into the historic Nazi structure. The museum was great value, with excellent displays and exhibits. At the end is a walkway several storeys up which takes you to a good lookout of the Nazi building, as to give you a chance to see how huge it really is!
Next was a walk around the lake next to Reichsparteitagsgelande. The lake is very pleasant, with lots of people out for a walk, run and roller blade. There was also a small stall selling food, so I grabbed some Currywurst mit Brochen - Curried Sausage with Bread - and Briony grabbed some Pommes Frittes - Chips.
Right round the other side of the lake is the old Nazi Rally Grounds (Zeppelin Field). This is the massive stone structure that everyone would know - it's the one where Hitler was standing with the microphones in front of him and two massive Nazi flags to his side - this is the classic Hitler image from all the movies. It's still in decent shape, although a lot of damage is obvious from a rather interesting history and also some more recent history in the form of people riding their skateboards on the steps.
After the return bus journey, we finished the Historic Mile walk, past St Elisabeth Kirche, Weisserturm (White Tower) and the "Marriage Merry-go-round" Fountain. The fountain had no water at the time we visited but was still very interesting - it tells the story of marriage and life, including having children, fighting, eating, getting fat and dying!
Final stop for the night was the Enchilada Mexican Restaurant which was on a street called Obstmarkt. Fantastic food, great atmosphere, but us Aussies still found it a little strange that the Germans still smoke cigarettes in their restaurants! Food was great!
Next morning was the train to Prague...
Next : Prague, Czech Republic
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