Monday September 24 - Leaving the Skirnir + Nuremberg
Our suitcases were outside our door by 7am. I haven't mentioned security on a river cruise. It's very different from ocean cruising. You don't scan an ID card when come and go from the ship. Instead you are given a piece of paper when you leave for the day and you hand it back in when you return. There is no scanning or checking bags at any point when you come on the ship. I guess it's easier to track 190 people vs. thousands on a big ship. You also don't scan a card to buy things - you just tell them your suite number. Truthfully though, if you have the drink package, there is nothing to buy on the ship. There is no pressure or up-selling onboard which is nice.
After breakfast we said goodbye to the Skirnir and boarded the bus for our tour of Nuremberg. The included tour was a combined coach and walking tour.
The Rhine-Main-Danube canal that was finished in the 1990s meant the city was no longer land locked. It also means there is a 100 mile route all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
Back to our coach tour...
Nuremberg was where the Nazi Party held massive propaganda rallies from the late 1920's - late 1930's. The main rally was held annually in September and up to 700,000 people participated in the rallies. The last rally was in 1938. 1939 was cancelled because Germany attacked Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. What is considered the official start of WWII.
The Nazi's had big plans to build many more party buildings and rally grounds in Nuremberg. Hitler chose Nuremberg because of its historic connection to the Holy Roman Empire and it's central location. The structure they were working on (but didn't complete) to hold the annual rally looks very similar to the Colosseum in Rome.
We drove by the three significant Nazi Party sites. The SS Barracks - a massive building now being used for federal offices for Refugees & Migration. A large Colosseum type building which was intended to be used once a year for the annual rally. It was supposed to seat 50k. It was not finished. The final area we drove by was the Zeppelin Fields where the majority of the events took place. If you google any Nazi rally photos, they were taken here. Because we did this by bus, I don't have good photos. They are all in my head
There is a permanent exhibit called Fascination (the propaganda) and Terror (the war) which I am sure is worth a visit if I return to Nuremberg one day.
We drove by the Palace of Justice. The Allies decided to hold the war trials here because the courthouse was in tact and there was a jail attached to it. There were 21 sentences - 11 death, 7 prison sentences and 3 were acquitted. All of the trials happened in courtroom 600. This was the beginning of international justice.
We drove by the most beautiful cemetery- St. John’s. It dates to 1234 and it was built outside the town walls to control disease - notably leprosy and the bubonic plague. The grave stones are all long and flat and the cemetery is strictly controlled- only fresh flowers allowed and they must change for the season. It was voted Germany's most beautiful cemetery in 2013.
We got off the bus at the castle and walked though the “Disneyland” of medieval towns. Almost all of it was rebuilt because about 91% of the inner city of Nuremberg was bombed and destroyed in WW2.
Albrecht Durer the artist famous for Praying Hands and Young Hare is from Nuremberg. You've seen these works because they have been copied many times. Durer's works are in museums around the world (none in Nuremberg) but the bronze statue below by Jurgen Goertze called The Hare - A Tribute to Durer. It depicts the dire results of tampering with nature. Or it could be a message about no one will ever be able to recreate a young hare as well as Durer, so don't try. I'm not sure who is crushed under the crazy hare - Durer or other artists. It's up to you to decide. It is used as a landmark to the pub behind it.
Every place is proud of their culinary specialties. In Nuremberg, it's Lebkuchen and Nuremberg bratwurst. Lebkuchen is like gingerbread cookies but there is no ginger in them. It is a delicious combination of ground nuts, honey and spices such as cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. They taste like Christmas!
We also learned about the Nuremberg bratwurst - it is smaller in size, and they are the oldest sausage recipe in Germany. To be considered Nuremberg bratwurst, they must follow the traditional recipe and be made in Nuremberg. There are 3 million sausages made daily here and exported world wide. I hope we can find some at home. We had some at lunch and they were good!
Our tour brought us past the Rathaus, a cathedral (that we toured through on our own) and to the Beautiful Fountain (from the 1300's) at the square. There was a market set up as it is Oktoberfest time in Bavaria. It was fun to look around. I think this is where the Christmas markets are set up. I would love to be in Germany/Austria at Christmas market time.
We watched the glockenspiel at noon.
We had a three hour bus ride to meet our new ship, The Viking Modi, in Passau. We saw lots of forest and farmland. We made a pit stop at a McDonald’s which was very clean, had interesting pastries and lederhosen wearing staff.
Even though we are docked in Passau now, we aren't in the charming area that we will eventually explore. We are docked at what looks like the cement plant district and there is nothing around us. This is because we aren't really supposed to be in Passau for another two days.
The Modi staff welcomed us on board and the captain had a welcome toast. Our room is exactly the same as on the Skirnir.