We arrived in Nuremberg in the early evening and all 5 of us were impressed from the very start. We were split up once again – 2 of us in one hotel and 3 in the other. But our attempts to stay close to one another paid off – we were only a 2-3 minute walk away from each other.
The hotel we were staying in was nice, but small. Unfortunately for me things had already become tense between myself and the person I was sharing with. We are very different people and had not really known each other when we had joined the others. Our first night in Nuremberg we all went and had dinner. Fortunately both of our hotels were essentially in the centre of town so we had a lot of options open to us.
After dinner all of us went out for a short walk before retiring to our separate hotels. My roommate informed us he would not be joining us the next day though we would all meet up for dinner. I felt bad, but was kind of relieved that it would just be the 4 of us.
When we met up in the morning we soon discovered the downsides to small town Germany on a Sunday. Everything seemed to be closed. We did manage to find a coffee shop to have what we had started calling ‘European Breakfast’ (aka coffee/tea and a baked good) before heading off to our first stop of the day (and the reason Nuremberg had even made the list) – the Nuremberg Palace of Justice. On the way there though we discovered the Strasse der Menschenrechte (The Way of Human Rights).
We only noticed it because the stark white entrance stood out among the rest of the town. Naturally, our curiosity led us to check it out and we were taken by surprise by the pillar lined area with each of the pillars engraved with one of the articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each one was in a different language so the only one we could actually read was number 7 (All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law). It was a really neat thing to stumble upon considering 2 of the 4 of us had spent the first half of our summer learning about international public law including the UDHR (one of the others had been doing international business law and the other was a significant other who had not been doing our program).
We did eventually make it to the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, home to the memorial to the Nuremberg Trials. This was an amazing visit. We all had our English audio guides and it was an amazing experience to be able to sit in the same courtroom (though most of it was blocked off – understandably) where high ranking Nazis such as Herman Goering and Rudolph Hess were tried. The majority of the place had been turned into a museum which was interesting though obviously there was a lot of review. In many ways it felt like a very natural extension of ours studies. Especially when I saw a sign proclaiming ‘From Nuremberg to Den Haag’ since now I had visited both.
After leaving the memorial we were getting pretty hungry. Based on our experience from that morning we had easily decided that we would eat something at the first place we saw that was open. The other big place that we had on our agenda to see was Nuremberg Castle and we figured we could get there easily enough by just following the city wall. And so that is how we found ourselves walking along the wall.
We seemed to be walking along the wall for a lot longer than we had expected. It was not necessarily a bad thing – it made for a beautiful walk and because there were only 4 of us it meant no one was left out. At various points during our wall walk all of us said how much we liked Nuremberg. It was, quite honestly, the surprise gem. It had been added solely because of its place in the tribunals, but it was probably my favourite place that we went in Germany. I would have expected it to be Berlin because I love big cities, but it was Nuremberg that really stole my heart.
One of the best parts was when we came across a playground along the wall. And all of us took a few minutes out to play. One of us climbed this rope structure and then all of us played on the giant tire swing. We even tried to take a picture of the girls on this rope balancing thing. We barely managed to keep it together, but it was a lot of fun.
The best way I can describe Nuremberg is that it felt like we had stepped into a world of fairy tales. When we finally did reach the castle we got a little lost, but eventually we found the entrance and we managed to see most of the gardens as well. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we were disappointed that we were spending such a short time in Nuremberg.
When we met up with our fifth member he told us he had had a good day as well. He had not made it to the Trial memorial, but had seen the castle and wandered along part of the wall.
Dinner was a simple affair and then I tried to make myself scarce from my room so that my roommate could Skype with his girlfriend. It seemed like giving them their privacy was the right thing to do. Besides, it gave me the chance to walk around Nuremberg some more. We were leaving pretty early the next morning so I wanted to take a last chance to see things.
The final soccer game was going on that night as well. The other 3 had returned to their hotel to watch the big game. I myself was kind of relieved to not have to watch it and pretend to care. I would have, but I didn’t have to. A lot of people were watching it outdoors so I still caught snippets of it here and there. Enough to know who won at least. I’m not sure who we were supposed to be rooting for in the end since our team (Germany) was already out, but no one seemed devastated by the ending the next day so I’m assuming the French win was fine with our group as a whole.
I was sad to leave Nuremberg the next morning. Even though I was excited to visit the next city on our list (Prague) I kind of wished we had more time to spend in Nuremberg. While it had not been on my initial list of ‘must sees’ in Europe I was very glad we had taken the detour.
The next morning we were up and checked out early and we all met at the bus station. The bus from Nuremberg to Prague was scheduled to get us into Prague at around 9:30am. Unfortunately that was not the way it played out since the bus was over an hour late getting into Nuremberg. Needless to say we were more than a little stressed. But more about that in the next instalment.