• Day13

    Nuremberg and Boarding the Boat

    September 27, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    This morning we had to pack up and sadly leave the beautiful city of Prague. Dad had two remaining free breakfasts to use up so Mom and Rae enjoyed the lovely continental breakfast (and made sure to sneak some dates for Brooke). The guys instead opted for a hearty breakfast of........McDonald's!! Nothing like an sausage and egg McMuffin to get you going in the morning! I grabbed a greasy breakfast for Brooke on the way out as well, she was most grateful. Then it was loading up the van with our same driver, Martin, from before.

    The car ride was about 3 hours to Nuremberg. Rae and I finished watching Beauty and Beast, Brett read and listened to a podcast, Mom napped and then read about the cruise, Brooke blogged and read her book (didn't nap that much actually), and Dad looked at the pictures in the Czech newspaper and pretended to know what was going on.

    We arrived at the pier in Nuremberg and found our boat, the River Beatrice. We were able to unload all of our bags and check into the boat. The rest of the tour group actually began in Prague as the official start to the tour and were still en route when we arrived, so it wasn't a mob of people yet.

    The cruise company called us a taxi and we all loaded into one car to head into the main part of Nuremberg. We were planning to join up with the rest of the tour group at 2:00 PM so we had about an hour and a half to ourselves. First order of business for the two of us was to hit up the ATM to take out more Euros (no thanks to Oktoberfest). After that we toodled around the main town square a bit. Grabbed a lunch of bratwurst on a bun with onions, definitely hit the spot. Brooke and I wandered up to a Toy Museum to glance at the entrance. It looked like a history of all sorts of toys that children played with. If we had more time we would definitely take the time to go through it.

    While we were walking back to the square, I noticed that a bus had shown up with the sign UniWorld on it (which was the name of the cruise company) and it was only 12:50 PM. We started to get a bit worried since we might miss the tour and I didn't know where the rest of the family was. Turns out that they arrived an hour early in order to see the square as well, perfect.

    Since we still had time, we went to Wicklein, a Czech gingerbread store. They make authentic Czech gingerbread there which is quite different then how we make it at home. There seem to be more spices and fruit used, and there was a unique wafer adhered to the bottom of the cookie. Turns out that this was actually similar to a communion host. When monks would make the gingerbread years ago, they realized if they used the communion bread it would not stick to the baking sheet and acted like a parchment paper. Very interesting!

    We had about a half hour until the tour started and we noticed that Brett grabbed a beer while he was sitting in the square. This sounded like a great idea since the sun was finally out and we were going to be going on a walking tour (so we assumed). Brooke and I walked over to the cafe and got a bottle each. Brooke was really happy to walk around in the city with a cold beer, and why not, we're on vacation! We walked over to the tour meeting point and met up with the cruise director. We then found out that we were getting on the bus and the tour was around the city, and we can't bring drinks onto the bus! Uh oh! That meant we had to hurry up and finish our drinks, and I had to help Brooke out quite a bit.

    The bus first went by the Palace of Justice where they held the Nuremberg Trials after WWII and held the Nazi leaders accountable for the war crimes. It was amazing to drive past the place where it actually happened. Then there was a fancy cemetery and some other stuff. I'm not really sure because for some reason the motion of the bus, the calming voice of the tour guide, and perhaps some things mentioned earlier, I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open! Brooke did fine though!

    Our first stop was at the Nuremberg Castle where we walked through it and our tour guide explained some of the features and history. The most interesting part was that during WWII, the castle was 90% bombed and they managed to rebuild it after the war!

    After the castle, we boarded back onto the bus and headed off to the former Nazi rally grounds. This is the area where Hitler held his political rallies and propaganda videos during the 30's before the war started. We first drove through the Congress Hall which was supposed to be a massive stadium that would rival the Colosseum in Rome. It was never finished due to the war starting. There is a museum as part of it explaining the history of the Nazi party, but it is not a massively beautiful tourist site, quite ugly in fact.

    Next we went to the Zeppelin Fields which is the actual spot where Hitler held the Nazi rallies. This is a massive field that could probably fit four football fields in the center and the outside is surrounded by stone steps for seating. A lot of the stone steps are overgrown with weeds and grass. Both of these structures have been left standing in order to remind everyone of the terrible atrocities that happened and to make sure it never happens again. Our guide also explained that the city of Nuremberg has elected to use the former Nazi rally grounds in ways that the Nazis would not approve of. We found it very interesting that the buildings are not being preserved in beautiful ways (as opposed to the buildings in Prague). They are not used as money making devices, they are just there as remembrance.

    We finally got back to the boat and waited in the line to grab our room keys, then were escorted to our stateroom. Quite small, but to be expected. We unpacked all of our clothes (which will be a treat not to have to pack up in 2 days) and got a bit organized. Then found a good seat in the lounge for the start of the introductions and listened to the Captains safety speech.

    Immediately following that was dinner in the dining room on the main deck. The room is beautifully decorated and it sounds like we will be having a 3 course dinner each night while we're here. Uh-oh said my waistline! The dining hall did get quite loud with 150 guests in one main room that isn't designed for sound, but I guess we'll have to expect that. All 6 of us had the local veal for dinner, then I ordered a cheesecake for dessert and Brooke had a cheese platter (which she loved), others had a honeycomb ice cup. As soon as my dessert came I immediately had food envy and ended up ordering a second dessert. Waistline satisfied for the short term, will be unhappy when we get home.

    Right after dinner I did a quick load of laundry and now have a reload of clean underwear for the remainder of the trip!

    Turns out that the four of us kids are the youngest people on the boat by 20 years! When Rae went up to the bar to order a drink, the bartender was definitely surprised to see someone younger. After dinner, the 4 kids headed down to the lounge to do some reading and writing (Dad went to bed). We sat in the far corner by the door as there was a "sock-hop" happening on the dance floor (+50's dancing). The four of us were doing highly "intellectual activities". Brett was journaling, Rae was transcribing her journal, Brooke was reading, and I was typing this blog. We had so many questions by the other guests of "are you guys students?" and "are you doing homework?". But it's all good, everyone is very friendly. Brooke went to bed early to get some solid rest (still has a cough) and the 3 of us went and sat at the bar and chatted with the staff as we had our night cap.

    Tyler and Brooke
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