Nuremberg was another destination that (admittedly) we chose partly because of it’s convenient location – a comfortable days drive from Munich – as well as its historical significance. It was in this city that, in November 1945, trials were held to condemn the war crimes committed by senior Nazi officials during WWII.
After visiting Dachau this week and learning so much about the atrocious crimes committed during these years, to visit Nuremberg and learn about the aftermath was a sort of natural progression.
Our host, Eva, lived close to the centre and as she was working during our first day so we agreed to do our own thing and meet up later for dinner. She kindly let me use one of her bicycles so after breakfast I took a ride into the city and met Jake at the Palace of Justice. Here we were able to visit the courtroom used during the Nuremberg trials and also an exhibition relating to this time.
With entry to the exhibition we were given an audio guide and so we could explore at our leisure. As courtroom 600 (the room in which the trials were carried out) is still in active use it is never guaranteed one can visit during a tour. However, today we were lucky as it was open for visitors. This first section for the tour was most interesting for me because there was a physical artifact to look at whilst listening to the information.
The rest of the museum is in the attic of the courtroom which has been fantastically converted to display – in detail – this historic event. These trials were the first of their kind, in so much as they were the first in which leading political and military figures were held account for the atrocities they committed. It set a precedents for the future and we are still seeing political figures being tried for war crimes today – although in my opinion not as many Western leaders as should be.
The exhibition is made up of many excerpts from the evidence and the court case itself as well as information about the complex set up of the court case. It is incredibly detailed and takes a very long time complete, for us it was maybe a little too much.
After a couple of hours in the exhibition, the information became a bit overwhelming so we decided to make our way into the city for lunch. Eva had recommended that we visit a tiny island in the middle of the river Pegnitz so it was here, with a view over the water, that we ate.
While Jake was off searching for a knee brace I took a walk around. I was quite surprised at the size of the historical centre of Nuremberg: The city is surrounded by huge walls and inside these walls is an interesting mix of old and new buildings. Somehow it all fits in and works together well. We found out later that a large percentage of the buildings were destroyed during WWII. Many were reconstructed to look as they did before meaning they aren’t really as old as they look!
One of the main historical attraction is the castle, and luckily I could park the bike right outside and was able to have a little look myself.
For our second day we wanted to get out of the city and into the countryside around Nuremberg. Eva had recommended we head to the north east of the city into a thickly forested area with quaint villages, nice roads for Jake and hiking trails for me.
The ride through this area is just beautiful, I can’t remember exactly which roads we took but I doubt it matters. The whole area is undulating and so I think the choice for fun roads is almost endless. We stopped just outside one village for a local lunch and it was lovely, there was also about 3 dozen Harleys which made the choice ever the easier.
After lunch I left Jake with his book and went for a walk to the next town, Waischenfeld. The footpath took me through the forest and along the river for about 10km. It was really beautiful and I enjoyed my walk a lot but it wasn’t half as peaceful as I was expecting. On the other side of the river was the main road so cars and bikes were continuously whizzing past.
Waischenfeld was a gorgeous little town. I’d arranged to meet Jake at the castle and my walk up there took me along a ‘sculpture path’. Here, alongside the river, were maybe a dozen sculptures, all unique and very modern. Not really what I expected among farmhouses and fields.
We had a choice for our return journey, Autobahn or small roads, of course we chose the small roads. As we passed through one of the villages Louise spotted this amazing fortified church. Unfortunately we can’t say much about it apart from it was just an amazing little gem that you can only find by travelling in this way.
On out last night I took the bicycle and the camera back into the city. At first I was surprised at just how busy it was but then remembered that it was Saturday evening. Going on this month is also the Old Town Festival so in the main square is full of market stalls and this evening, full of people. I’d noticed previously the stage in the square and this evening a band was playing. I stopped and watched a while and while listening noticed what great mix of people were there which, along with the music and stalls, created such a great atmosphere.