My time was up in Munich so I hopped on my first high-speed train, or any type of train as far as I can recall, and headed to Nuremberg. Train riding is fast and efficient. You book your ticket and can show up anytime until the doors close. No taking off your shoes. No taking off your belt. No removing anything from your bag. You can bring as much luggage as you like as long as you can carry it yourself. I didn’t even need a seat reservation, you just find one that is empty and have a seat, provided it wasn’t reserved by someone else. The cabin is quiet, even as you speed across the countryside at 180 mph. I like trains.
I arrived in Nuremberg in the early afternoon. A quick five minute walk from the station and I am at my hotel, which is situated right next to the old town medieval wall and tower. I still can’t get over having all that history right there in front of you, it’s just part of the city.
I take a little walk around the old town, it’s small and I was staying on the main street, so everything was right out my front door. I take a 30 minute walk up to the castle, stopping as I go, and have a quick look around at the castle before heading to find some grub and call it an evening.
My plan for the first full day in Nuremberg is see the old Nazi rally grounds. It’s a short 10 minute tram ride from the hotel. As the tram pulls up to the stop I can see the Congress Hall, the place is gigantic. First stop is the documentation center for the audio guided tour. It takes about an hour and a half and traces the steps of the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. I was fascinated and also learned a heck of lot. I found it scary how a far right nationalist movement could gain power so easily in a democratic society and then take over authoritarian control.
I took a few photos of the inside of the building, I’m not sure they really show how big this place is – and it was never finished. There was supposed to be a giant dome on top when it was all said and done.
From there you can take a self guided tour of the grounds, which I did. I can tell you it is a lot of walking and not very well marked. You wind around a lake where I stopped to take a few photos of the grand entrance road which is now being used to store equipment for a winter carnival of some sort.
After a long walk you reach Hindenburg field where all those Nazi rallies you’ve probably seen in documentaries were held. While the field is fenced off and over grown with weeds, and a section of road was being used for a motorcycle training class, you could climb to the top of the podium where Hitler once stood.
Much of it is in disrepair, and I don’t think the German’s are too keen on restoring it for obvious reasons, they do keep it up well enough as a reminder of the horrors that once were.
I hoof it a good long ways back to the tram station. When I’m about 50 feet from getting on the tram I hear a loud thud as the weight around my left hip is suddenly gone. I look back to see my trusty camera laying on the concrete side walk. My heart sinks. I pick it up and it looks fine, just a little ding. I try to focus. Nothing. I can see through the lens and it says f-stop 0. For those of you who don’t know photography you should never see an f-stop 0. This was bad. Very bad.
I sit down and try to fiddle with it, hoping maybe something just got knocked out of place, but no luck. I look at my strap to see if it broke, because theoretically this shouldn’t have happened. The strap is screwed into the base of the camera. But the strap is fine. Somehow it worked it’s way loose.
I was crushed. One week into the trip and the camera was broken. I sat sulking on the tram ride home and bellied up to the closest bar and ordered a grosses bier.