Sunday, December 20, 2009

6. Danube River Cruise - Nürnberg (12/19-20/09)

Saturday, December 19, 2009
It had snowed last night! The sundeck was closed the whole trip, not only because of low bridges, but because of the possibility of frostbite!
Steps to the sun deck
Sometime during the night we left the Danube River and entered the Main (River)-Danube Canal. Now instead of going upriver, we were going downhill. The locks were unbelievably deep.
Entering the lock
The water is draining out
We sink lower and lower
The gate lifts to allow us to exit
Meanwhile, we had been playing Bingo!
Calling Bingo numbers
A light lunch was offered in the lounge, before we arrived in Nürnberg, Germany.
Light lunch buffet
After lunch, we started with a bus tour (this time, we did not "park" in the city!) which took us first to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Because of Nürnberg's ties with the Holy Roman Empire, Adolf Hitler wanted to make this city the ideological center of his Drittes Reich (Third Empire, or Third Reich). The large Kongresshalle was to be even greater than the Coliseum in Rome,
but it was not completed. Here, the Kongresshalle is seen across a frozen lake.
It was to have stadium seating for 50,000 and be roofed over.
The Zeppelin Tribune
Zeppelin Tribune
was where the rallies were held, with up to 400,000 people. We also passed the Palace of Justice where the Nürnberg Trials were held in 1945.
Next we headed into the old town. The Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle) is made up of parts belonging to the Babenbergs, to the Holy Roman Emperors, and city council. Below, the 1495 Imperial Stables (now a youth hostel) sits between a 14th century city council tower, and a Babenberg (1050) tower.
Imperial Stables
The castle was impregnable with a deep moat
Deep moat
and a curved entry bridge.
Curved entry
We had a hazy view over the city of Nürnberg.
View from the Imperial Castle
Deeper in the castle were the women's quarters, which was the only section to be heated.
Women's quarters
We had to be careful when we left the castle and took a steep path downhill in slush and snow.
Leaving the Imperial Castle
We kept going downhill towards the main square, past reconstructed 15th and 16th century houses. Unlike Passau and Regensburg, Nürnberg was a target of bombing, and was 90% destroyed. However, every effort was made to restore the inner city to its former glory. The Fembohaus was the best-preserved patrician home, now a museum.
The Nürnberg Rathaus (City Hall) was very large and had three ornate portals.
View of City Hall towers
City Hall portal
We arrived in the main square, site of the world-famous Christkindlmarkt (Christ Child Market, or Christmas market). Here our guide left us on our own to shop! There was a giant Christmas carousel (or Christmas pyramid).
Supersize Christmas carousel
The Schöner Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain)
Beautiful Fountain
had a golden ring that you could spin three times for good luck.
Brynne spins the golden ring
Creating a backdrop for the market was the Frauenkirche (Our Lady's Church, late-Gothic, 1361).
One of the signature items from the Nürnberger Christmas market were the prune people, made with dried fruits!
Prune people
They are given for good luck on New Year's.
The market offered beautifully decorated cookies, and Lebkuchen.
Christmas cookies
There was Glühwein (mulled wine) by the barrel (copper vat!) to keep you warm.
Glühwein stand
Brynne and Kent keep warm
Ornaments of all types;
Glass blown ornaments
Straw ornaments

 We tried the other best sausage in Germany, the Nürnberger Bratwurst,
Grilling Nürnberger Bratwurst
which comes three to a bun.After exploring the whole market, we had picked out where to purchase our Christmas decorations. But the process was very slow and we were late getting to the meeting point for the bus back to the boat. But they waited for us and we returned in time for dinner.
Brynne waves the German flag
Tonight the dinner was German-themed.

Sunday, December 20, 2009
The disembarkation procedure was very organized. Brynne and Yuriko left at 4:30 AM, and Kent and Tamiko at 7:30 AM. Snow in Paris, and snow on the East Coast of the U.S. from DC to NYC snarled air traffic. Fortunately, Brynne and Yuriko were flying to Frankfurt, Germany, then to Chicago before arriving in Buffalo 2 hours late. Kent and Tamiko were delayed enough to miss their flight in Paris, but were able to catch a later flight. That made them miss their flight in Atlanta, but going standby on the next flight to Jacksonville got them home only 2 hours late. However, their luggage arrived 24 hours later!
The duty-free shop in Paris had large-print warnings:
Cigarette carton warnings
This was the snow that tied up air traffic in Europe...
Snow at Paris airport
The end of the Danube River Cruise.

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