Nuremberg is awesome! We’ve completely fallen in love with its walls, towers, and sausages, and spent the week exhausting ourselves with tourism. And then, it was on to Bonn to hang out with our friend Richard and do a bit more exploring.
Monday 3/6: Our very first act of the week was to head to the immigration office to attempt to apply for a working holiday visa; of course this was a complete waste of time. To get one, I’d first need to register as a resident of Nuremberg, which isn’t possible — I’m not a resident! Apparently I could go through the NZ consulate in Berlin or Hamburg, but as we’re arriving in those cities after my 31st birthday, it’s a no-go. At least we have a backup plan: I can apply for residency as the wife of a UK citizen. I just thought that the working holiday visa would be easier – ha!
It was spitting a little but we decided to explore the city anyway, and visited the market in the Hauptplatz as well as a handcraft market. Then we stopped into the tourist office and picked up the press kit that our contact Karola had put together for us and fought the rain until we found a great cafe (the Wanderer) to examine it in — and it was awesome! As well as a bunch of great brochures, there was a book about how to spend three days in Nuremberg and a cute Albrecht Dürer Playmobil figurine.
Before heading back to Kadda’s place for lunch, we watched the glockenspiel on the Frauenkirche; it was really good.
We spent the rest of the day working, then had dinner with Kadda and her flatmate Tanya, and Craig smashed us all at a game of Wizard.
Tuesday 4/6: We’d arranged to meet Wolfram of the tourism board at 10am, and only got a little lost on our way there. The meeting went well; he, Susanne and Karola were all very helpful and gave us lots of information about how we could spend the rest of our time in Nuremberg — there’s such a lot to do!
We crossed the road to the Craftsmen’s courtyard for a snack of Drei im Weckla, Nuremberg’s favourite tiny sausages in a bun. Then we used our Nuremberg Cards to spent a couple of hours in the Railway and Communication Museums and stopped at the supermarket before having lunch back at Kadda’s. Then we packed up and moved house — we were spending the rest of the week at the Youth Hostel.
The hostel is housed in the castle’s former stables, and our room was on the seventh floor in a section called Luginsland, which includes a tower. We had a great view over the city and the room was really well decorated and equipped.
After making our beds, hiring some towels and lamenting the fact that the wifi didn’t reach us, we unpacked our bags and discovered that we had lost our camera-battery charger. Craig had suspected this to be the case for a few days but it was sadly confirmed when we checked every pocket of both our bags. So, after an hour at Albrecht Dürer’s House, we spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a replacement. A large store called Saturn offered a bulky two-part option, and a smaller shop had two very expensive (and big) choices. So we caught the U-bahn (and got separated on the way) to a shopping centre that had a MediaMarkt and found a not-so-bad charger for a reasonable price, and bought it.
We were pretty tired by this time, so we had dinner in a small restaurant and headed home for the evening.
Wednesday 5/6: Our plan for the day was to get our heads around Nuremberg’s Nazi heritage, so we headed out to the Documentation Centre at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. The exhibition was excellent and the audioguides really helped us to understand the lead up to the Second World War and Nuremberg’s role in it.
Next, we U-bahned across town to the Memorium Nuremberg Trials, which was interesting but not as moving as the doco centre.
After a quick lunch, we headed back into the central city to join a tour of the underground cellars. The tour was conducted in German but we were given audioguides; it was really interesting to learn about why the cellars were built and how they were used in the war.
We had a short rest at the hostel before heading out again; this time, the theme was art. We only had half an hour at the design museum before it closed, but that was enough to see everything; the museum of contemporary art was open later but half an hour was enough there too. After a beer in the beer garden in the ArtCultureQuarter, we headed to the Germanishes Nationalmuseum, which was fantastic. Of course we got horribly lost inside its vast interior, but we did manage to see the Rembrandt prints and paintings, several works by Dürer, and the two oldest globes in the world, as well as a LOT of other exhibits.
Back at the hostel, we put together a salad for dinner and collapsed, exhausted, into bed.
Thursday 6/6: We’d hoped to see the inside of the castle whose stable we were staying in, but it was closed for works and we couldn’t go in. Instead, we signed up for a tour that would take us underneath it, and headed to the Fembo museum. This was surprisingly good; it’s a museum of the city housed in an old merchant’s house, and would be a great first stop on a visit to Nuremberg to get your head around its geography and history.
We stopped in at the Toy Museum, which was better than Craig had expected and not as good and I had, and walked down to Glocklein restaurant for lunch with Wolfram — sausages and beer are traditional!
We didn’t have much time at the Tower of the Senses, but it was definitely enjoyable, as was the Casemates and Water Conduits underground tour we did immediately afterwards. When that finished we caught a tram to the zoo; although we had only an hour or so there before it closed, we made the most of it — the best part was seeing the manatees.
On the way home we stopped at two different grills to have a Drei im Weckla in each; Craig wanted to do some comparison shopping. They were both delicious.
Friday 7/6: We’d hoped to have a glorious sleep in after our crazy days of tourism, but the most logical train to catch left at 9:30, so we had to get up pretty early. At the train station, we skipped the queue of forty or so people and went to the first-class desk to have our German Rail Passes validated, then hopped on our first official train of IndieGermany. The journey to Koblenz took about three hours, during which we both worked feverishly to finish writing articles and reviews about Nuremberg; we had time to see the Lorelei rock and the Rhine in flood, though.
This flooding has been affecting people all over Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, but there had been no evidence of it in Nuremberg. It did affect us today though: we can use our German Rail Passes on some boats on the Rhine and Mainz rivers, and we’d planned to do the last leg of our journey from Nuremberg to Bonn by boat. I’d suspected that services might be disrupted so had sent a query email to the boat company, but got no reply, and since our friend Richard in Bonn said that most boats seemed to be running normally, we showed up in Koblenz expecting to leave on a boat. Nope. Apparently services were going to resume the next day.
We were feeling tired and annoyed, so found a restaurant for lunch then set ourselves up in a shady part of the park bordering the Rhine. It was a beautiful day and just lying on the grass felt like the best thing we could possibly be doing.
Eventually it was time to go, and we made our way to Bonn (with a slightly error-filled stop in Cologne) and met our friend and host Richard at a great bar called Pendel. It was warm enough to be outside in short sleeves, we had beer, life was good.
Saturday 8/6: Ahhh, the joy of a sleep in! The only thing that could make it better would be a cooked breakfast — and Richard made us one. Then he took us for a short tour of the city before heading to work; we stopped in at the tourist office to pick up some Welcome Cards and information, then spent an hour or so at home working before heading out to use them. We’d planned to visit the Konig Museum, which we though was a zoo (it isn’t) and as it was pelting down with rain when we came out of the underground station, we decided to choose another option. This second option wasn’t at all where it was marked on the map, so we headed back the way we came to a third choice: the Kunsthalle art gallery. I was feeling frustrated and annoyed so Craig medicated me with coffee before we entered the exhibition; it was about the Iroquois of North America and was quite interesting.
Back home, Craig cooked dinner and later on he headed out alone to join Richard at a bar to celebrate a friend’s birthday; he had a good time and even spoke a bit of Spanish. In the meantime, I stayed in and read my book.
Sunday 9/6: After another sleep in, Craig and I headed out to visit Beethoven’s birthplace — it’s kind of an important stop on a visit to Bonn. We weren’t too impressed with the museum itself, but loved the 21st-century version of one of Beethoven’s operas which is presented in the basement. We were given 3D glasses and could interact with the characters, who were all represented by different shapes.
Back home, we had lunch with Richard then headed out again to see some more museums. Both the Stadt Museum and the Egyptian Museum were a little disappointing because there wasn’t enough information in English, though the artefacts on display were interesting to see. The next two museums more than made up for it, though. At the Konig Museum, which is a well-curated zoological museum and not a zoo at all, we were given brand-new audio guides, which need a bit of work but really added to the experience. And the Haus der Geschichte, which deals with German history after World War Two, was a world-class museum with one of the best audioguides I’ve heard for some time: well acted and with texts of appropriate lengths — and all for free. Craig and I both agreed that we’d have happily paid €10 for entrance.
Our Welcome Cards had expired by this time so we couldn’t use them for public transport any more, so we walked back to Richard’s via the city centre.