08.07.2012 - 09.07.2012 24 °C
It is now Sunday, July 8th and we left Regensburg last night. We sailed through the night and awoke to another beautiful sunny morning cruising thru the spectacular German countryside. Much of the cruise so far has been in lovely pastoral country with lush growth along the shores broken up by the occaisonal small town. We are now in the Main Danube Canal which is not more than several hundred meters wide and often not wide enough to turn the ship around. By lunch time we arrived at Nuremberg. After breakfast there was an interesting presentation from a local expert on the history and development of the European Union. After getting tied up in Nuremberg we had a light lunch and quickly departed for a city tour of Nuremberg. The first stop on the tour was the unfinished Nazi Party Rally Grounds – a massive structure modeled after the Colliseum in Rome and clearly a monument to Hitler's ego. It is so massive you would need an ariel picture to get an idea of its size.
Dave inside the Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Nearby is the location of the old Nuremberg courts of justice where the famous Nuremberg Trials took place in Courtroom 600.
Like so many of the German cities that we are visiting, Nuremberg was heavily bombed during WW2 and about 80% of the city center was destroyed, so many of the buildings we saw have been restored to their original form after the war. Restoration of old sites has been a huge industry after the war and they have done a wonderful job of recreating the many old sections of towns that were completely leveled during WW2. Nuremberg is a lovely old city with more of those square Italian-inspired towers. While here we also visited the very old and beautifully restored Nuremberg Castle.
Square Tower of Nuremberg Castle
The Castle is very large with a dry moat surrounding its walls. It has a very steep entrance and many steep roads and pathways within the castle. It is easy to see why it was designed to be easy to defend and very difficult to conquer.
Inside Nuremberg Castle
In the 15th and 16th centuries Nuremberg became the center of the German Renaissance and was the place where Albrecht Durer lived – he is considered the Leonardo da Vinci of Germany. He was very important and so his house is right outside the castle. If you look closely you can see the castle walls on the right of the street across from his house.
Albrecht Durer’s House
With the reformation and Martin Luther, many of the previously Catholic churches and cathedrals were converted to Lutheran Churches. The churches that were already owned by the municipality as many were in that era were converted to Lutheran as a result of a vote by the citizens. Only the churches that were owned by the Catholic church remained Catholic. Here we have a Lutheran Church. Note the different colors of the stones which show what was rebuilt after WW2.
After the castle tour we walked down into to the central Market Square
where we saw what they have named "The Beautiful Fountain"
The Beautiful Fountain
And the Church of Our Lady which is one of the few Catholic Churches in Nuremberg
The Church of Our Lady
After a little free time to explore we hopped on our tour bus and returned to the ship.
We left Nuremberg at 1 am and through the night and the next morning we continued along the Main-Danube canal to Bamburg on the Main River. There was more beautiful scenery with the castles, churches and cathedrals.
Bambeg is one of the few cities not destroyed by WW2 bombing and was named an UNESCO World Heritage site because of its many medieval structures. We took a coach into town and had another guided walking tour. While we were on tour, the ship was going to move on and we were to rendezvous with the ship further down the river.
Of note is the Town Hall which was built on a bridge because the Prince-Bishop of the day wouldn’t give the city fathers any land because he didn’t want any other authorities challenging his authority. Local artists vied to have their painting on the wall as a local marketing tool. Note the leg sticking out at the base at the far end. At this point in history the line between church, state and military was often very blurred and church leaders were often municipal leaders and even military commanders too.
Old Town Hall
In the picture below, the building at the right with the curved openings at the base was a slaughter house. Its location made it convenient to dump waste into the river, hardly an environmental best practice. The row of medieval houses to the left is called Little Venice.
Little Venice and slaughter house.
We went on to visit the Bamberg Cathedral but it was closed due to renovation.
We saw the "New Residence" which was never finished – note the construction links ready to tie in the anticipated 3rd wing running down the corner at the left side of the building.
The New Residence
Bamberg is famous for beer (a common claim of many of the towns in Bavaria), especially the Rauchbier which is a smoked beer made with malt dried over open flames and which tastes a bit like smoked ham. To me it was the perfect example of people saying: “This tastes terrible – try it”. So naturally we stopped by one of the local roadhouses famous for this beer and tried it with our new friends from the ship.
Hazel, Steve, Jeanne, Bernie, Ron, Charm and Rebecca.
We returned to our coaches and learned that the ship had been delayed at one of the locks and would be an hour late meeting us at the prearranged rendezvous point. The Program Director and Managers improvised quickly and arranged for the coaches to drive us around for a tour of the local countryside. 90 minutes later we arrived at a small road along side the canal just as the ship arrived at the meeting point. We all got to stand around on the bank of the canal and watch as the crew set up the gangplank. The captain, not a man with a lot of patience, was once again not a happy camper with the delay as it would negatively impact his preset schedule once again.
The unhappy Captain
Setting up the gangplank
The staff were wonderful and clapped as we appeared and offered us treats and champagne as we boarded.
Soon after we were underway the canal joined the Main River. The Main is a narrow river with a lot of locks. While we slept the ship passed through 14 as we headed to Wurzburg.