Back to Nürnberg, Part One

This weekend, I found myself with a free Saturday-  no plans.  What I did have was a BahnCard, a nearby train station, and a surge of wanderlust.  But where could I go that would be interesting, but wouldn’t involve a hotel or an overnight stay…  well, I never did get to see all the touristy stuff in Nuremberg, so that seemed like a winner.

Administrative note #1:  I referred to the city in the title of this post as Nürnberg, and in the paragraph above as Nuremberg.  Both are correct- Nürnberg is the German word, and Nuremberg is the English spelling.  (See also: Munich and München.)

Administrative note #2: I’m splitting this trip into two posts because I’ve got about twenty photographs and there’s a good and logical place to split them apart.  Moving on!

Every trip to another place so far has started with the same thing:  Trains!  And while the view from the train last time I travelled was snow covered fields, this time around the green is starting to come back.  The snow that was there melted off, and the plants are pretty happy about it.

The trip to Nuremberg on an ICE (Inter City Express) train is roughly an hour long; a very quick and comfortable ride.  Once I got to the city, I followed the signs to the tram, which is basically a ground level train system.  The streetcars in San Francisco are more or less the same thing.

Side note:  The crutches the girl in this picture is using?  They’re very common in Germany.  Frankly, I think they’re much better than the sore-armpit crutches that are commonplace in the US when people sprain an ankle or what have you.

The #9 tram takes about ten minutes to get to the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände, or the Doku-Zentrum for short.  This is the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds.  It’s a museum in the unfinished Congress Hall where many Nazi party rallies were held.

There is a tremendous amount of archival footage from the Nazi rallies, along with artifacts from that time.  Although Nazi symbols and paraphernalia are illegal in Germany in the present day, that wasn’t always so.  There’s an example of old army man toys- the same kind that children in the US play with all the time.  The difference between little green US Army men and these is obvious and striking though:

It’s also interesting to see the commemorative things-  this is the sort of products that the Franklin Mint sells today, except this was all Hitler all the time:

There were also newspapers on display from many nations during that time period.  It was interesting for me to see the political cartoons of the time from the American newspaper.

There were a great many photographs and films of bombings, of allied troops reaching Nuremberg, and so forth.  There was an entire section dedicated to the Nuremberg trials, and the original books, logs, and tapes of the Goering interviews are all on display here.

The exit path of the museum contains a section with chips that have the names of many concentration camp victims on them, along with the names of the camps.  It’s designed to look like a train track that goes on and on-  very striking.

All in all, this was a fascinating museum.  Since my arrival, I’ve seen lots of news reports about Nazi activity- as I said previously, it’s illegal here now, but there are still pockets of Nazi activity in some of the cities.  While I don’t think anything like the Holocaust could happen again, this was still a pretty sobering experience.

Luckily, the rest of the Nuremberg trip was all fun and games.  And lots of walking.  Lots and lots of walking.   That will all be in the next post.

ICE Train


Friday was a holiday here in Bavaria. It was Epiphany, a Christian holiday celebrating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus.  Since the office was closed, it seemed like a great day to take a day trip out of Regensburg.   First stop- the train station!

ICE Train

The ICE (Inter City Express) trains here are amazing.  They look a bit like Disney’s Monorail trains.  They’re fast, quiet, and smooth as glass.  The seats are incredibly comfortable as well, and it was actually very affordable.

The destination?  Nuremberg!   I’d heard that there was a toy museum there, and indeed there is- Nuremberg is apparently quite large in the toy community, and there’s even an International Toy Fair held there every year.

The train station in Nuremberg is significantly larger than the one in Regensburg, so we had to walk a bit to get out of it.  This is in the center of it:

Nuremberg wall.

Once in Nuremberg, we were on foot, so it’s hard to miss things like this whopping great cathedral.  I like the one in Regensburg better, but I think that’s just home-team pride speaking.

The goal for the day was to visit the Spielzeug, aka the Nuremberg  Toy Museum.  It was four stories tall and contained toys going back to the middle ages, including a great toy train section and an entire room full of creepy porcelain dolls.  They also put ALF, Babar, Garfield, E.T., and some Star Wars figures into the same display case, so that was fun for me.  Unfortunately, this picture is the only one I can show you, because they didn’t allow photography inside.

Toy museum

After we finished at the museum, we walked around the city for a while.   Almost everything was closed for the holiday, with the exception of restaurants, cafes, and museums, but that didn’t stop the street musicians from trying-  I’ve never seen so many accordions one any day that didn’t involve a Weird Al concert.  We also saw people dressed in the appropriate costumes for the holiday, and we ran into some Mormon missionaries who, as amusing coincidence would have it, one lived in the town where our company’s Utah office is located.  There was also this man, the bubble maker.  He was fascinating to watch, and the second bubble photograph seen here is my favorite picture from the entire day.

Bubble manBubble!

I didn’t learn of Nuremberg’s famous castle until after we returned from the trip.  (Note to self: When travelling in Germany, always check for castles.  They’re everywhere here, like Starbucks back in the U.S.)  I did, however, learn of Schöner Brunnen, the site of a rather amazing fountain surrounded by a wrought iron fence.  There is a golden ring welded into the fence which is said to bring good fortune to those who touch it.  Naturally, I had to see this one for myself…

Schöner BrunnenNuremberg Ring

That was pretty much it for the trip to Nuremberg though, except for lunch (average pasta) and dessert (amazing apple strudel).  I really need to re-think the idea of traveling on holidays.  It’s got to be much more interesting when things are open.

Now I need to decide where to go for my next trip!