On Thursday morning, I got up early again and hopped on another train, this time to Nuremberg. I wanted to see the Christkindlmarkt, the Christ Child Market, Nuremberg’s world famous Christmas market. I got there about 12:15, and after checking into the hostel, headed out, stopping on the way to get some Nuremberg bratwurst, a smaller and more heavily spiced version than a “normal” bratwurst. I was very much in the mood for taking a lot of pictures, and so wandered around, camera in hand, seeing what caught my eye. There more than plenty, with the colorful stalls overflowing with their Christmas wares, all sorts of ornaments and carvings, and the various German Christmas foods, Glühwein and Lebkuchen. There were many people out as well, and I had no shortage of subjects to photograph.
I headed into one of the churches, the Saint Sebalduskirche. Like most of Nuremberg, it was destroyed during the second world war, but rebuilt using as much of the original stone as possible. While not the most impressive church I’ve ever seen, the inside was filled with a veritable treasure trove of interesting nooks, with carvings and paintings, and all sorts of other things decorating the place.
From there it was on to the castle. Unfortunately much of it was closed for some reason, but the museum with it’s collection of medieval armor and weapons was still open, as was the main tower. I climbed the stairs to the top, and was rewarded with a splendid view over old Nuremberg, enclosed in its rebuilt city walls, encompassing its castle, churches, and cobbled lanes. The view was aided by the castle’s location, perched on a small plateau overlooking the city.
That evening, it was back to the Christkindlmarkt. Christmas markets are totally transformed at night, with the lights and the crowds walking around, a choir singing on the stage, and the trees all lit up. I sipped a glass of glühwein and wandered from stall to stall. Unfortunately it was hard to take pictures thanks to the low light, so I put the camera away and just enjoyed the experience. Afterwards, I headed into a bar and sampled a Rauchbier from Bamberg, a beer where the hops are smoked before being added to the brew, giving the whole beer a rich smokey flavor. On the way back to the hostel, I stopped to listen to a violinist on the street playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. He was extremely talented, nailing every one of the difficult violin progessions in the pieces. His violin case, open in front of him, was full of money, and not just the normal 10 and 20 cent pieces–I saw several €20 bills in it, and a mass of other bills and larger coins.
The next morning, I headed to the Reichsparteigelände, the infamous Nazi Party Rally Grounds everyone knows from the images of the massive ranks of troops all hailing Hitler like a God. The grounds were bombed heavily during the war, and so there isn’t much left of them. Much of it has been turned into parks and such now, but enough remains to get a good view of what they were. Make sure to check out the pictures, I have a comparison of what they are now to what they used to be.
As always, there are tons more pictures in the photo gallery. Check them out. You can work your way through them chronologically starting here.