Our last evening in Berlin we packed up ready to leave first thing in the morning, off for three nights in the Christmas capital of Germany, Nürnberg. The next morning we were ready to go and didn’t even stop for breakfast until we got to the train station. We found a bakery-type store in the hauptbahnhof (the biggest train station I’ve ever seen!) and got apple pastries and a fruit salad for breakfast. They were very tasty!
The train to Nürnberg took about five hours and was a relatively good trip. We got lunch in the café cart – I wasn’t organised enough to buy that before we got on the train – and had currywürst and beer (guess who) and flammkuchen (guess who again). I did think about flying from Berlin to Nürnberg but the cheap flight left at a time which would have required us to get up at ridiculous o’clock so I went with the train. If you find a cheap flight that would be faster, but I’m finding the more I travel the more I hate airports and flying, so unless it’s a significant price or time saving I prefer the train.
We stayed in a little hotel called Hotel Garni Probst just inside the old town walls of Nürnberg. Our bed and pillows were very comfortable which was nice after the ones we had in Berlin. The room was actually fairly huge and had two arm chairs and a little table. The TV also had English channels! So we watched some BBC and CNBC while we were there. The breakfast was also one of the best we’ve been served in Germany. We were told at the beginning that it was free, then we’re told on our last morning it was actually €5 each per day because we booked through the tourism office which doesn’t include the breakfast. I was pretty cranky about that until I checked and found that our reservation confirmation did indeed specify no meals were included. Oh well, €5 was pretty good for cold meats and cheese, soft boiled eggs, bread rolls and jams, fresh fruit, yogurt, tea, coffee and juice.
We spent most of our time in Nürnberg split between the old town & Christmas markets, and the Nazi party rally grounds. The first day we arrived at the rally grounds at about 2pm, and by the time we got out of the documentation centre (museum basically) it was too dark to go and see the buildings, so we went back the next day.
The documentation centre was interesting, although again a lot of it was stuff we already knew about. The most interesting bits were at the end, right when you’re hurrying up ready to leave! The whole thing talks a lot about on the social mania that sprung up around Nazism and the rallies that were held every year, as well as the buildings themselves which were built for this purpose. There was a bit at the end too which talked about the Nürnberg trials of the 21 highest ranking Nazis. I found that quite interesting, although it always depresses me that Hitler avoided all of that, even though he would have got the death penalty anyway (as 12 of the 21 did).
When we returned the next day we went for a walk into the congress hall (which was going to be Hitler’s version of the Colosseum), then walked down the great street before waking down past the Zeppelin Field (which you can’t get into) to the grandstand where Hitler made his speeches over the Zeppelin Field.
You can climb all over that to your heart’s content, although there are signs warning you do so at your own risk. They are looking at completely refurbishing the grandstand, although it could cost in the region of €70 million.
We quite enjoyed the main Christmas market, although I was a bit disappointed that it was really no more unique than any of the Berlin markets we visited. It really wasn’t any bigger than the Alexanderplatz market either – as the Nürnberg market is so famous I expected it to be huge. We also bought a gingerbread heart biscuit, but it was overcooked so tasted mildly burnt and was very chewy. I actually really enjoyed walking through the children’s Christmas market, where as well as the normal stalls selling things there were interactive activities like dip-dying candles, decorating your own biscuits, and glass engraving. There was also the craftsman’s market near the entrance to the old town which I quite liked, and where Andre bought me a blown-glass snowman Christmas decoration. Andre also picked up some halva for himself from the Israeli stand at the international sister city market. We looked for tablet at the Scottish stand but there wasn’t any!
One morning we also took a walk up to the castle to see the view and walked around the complex a bit, but didn’t pay to enter any of the castle buildings.
On the whole I found Nürnberg to be a little overrated, although did enjoy the smaller markets and the Nazi Rally Grounds, and Andre loved the old town.