Notorious NurembergOctober 5, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C
Nuremberg's recent history is rather notorious, but the good thing is that the city doesn't shy away from its role in the period up to and including World War II.
No leisurely lie-in this particular morning as we were due to head off at 8.15am for a tour of Nuremberg. We had another Scottish - born guide who was very pleasant, knowledgeable and informative. She is at least the third such guide we have encountered - Scottish born, long-term German resident and married with family to a local spouse. Is it a form of Scottish emigration that we were hitherto unaware of? Could it be that the Scots are always able to find better quality partners overseas? At least that's Brian's line and he is sticking to it.
It was about a 15 minute drive to our first stop, the ruins of the giant and infamous Zeppelinfeld parade ground which was the scene of Hitler's Nazi rallies. One has to be there to really appreciate the extent of Hitler's megalomania and the scale of the buildings that he commissioned and his architect Albert Speer designed. To give an idea of size, some 700000 Nazi Party supporters attended the 6th party congress in 1934. Sufficient of the structures, including the grand platform from which Hitler harangued the party faithful, remain. One can get some idea of his megalomania by visiting this and other nearby structures, including an overscale copy of the Roman Colliseum which was never fully completed. Sheer madness.
From there, we drove past the courthouse building where the famous Nazi war trials took place.
We then headed to the other side of Nuremberg where our guide took us for a walk around part of the old city. It is certainly very attractive and boasts the biggest enclosed area of any walled city anywhere.
We were then free to wander round and explore for a couple of hours. Nuremberg has a lot of interesting old buildings as well as some excellent shops. We lost a bit of time while Brian searched out a camera shop where he could get a replacement lens cap for the new camera. Camera shops are few and far between these days so we were very pleased to have found one. We could have happily spent a lot longer in Nuremberg, but unfortunately time was limited as we had to move on. One good thing was that even though it was cold the rain held off for the entire day.
We were leaving the Main river and setting off on the Main-Danube canal which links the North Sea to the Black Sea. It is a major engineering feat, being 171 kilometres long, and has 16 giant locks. Many of the passengers, us included, spent a couple of freezing but fascinating hours on the top deck as the ship manoeuvred its way through some of these locks, which are impressive engineering structures. Three of them each have lifts of 24.7 metres, and most of them are at least 15 metres. They are 12 metres wide,. making it a tricky feat to steer our 11.5 metre long ship in there without hitting the concrete sides. We calculated that the largest of the locks required over 50000 cubic metres of water each time to fill it, equivalent to more than 1000 times the volume of our pool back home. Each lock took over half an hour to navigate. We were very lucky though because we got green lights all the way. If there are other ships either ahead of us or coming towards us then we could get delayed for a long time.
In the afternoon a guest lecturer came on board and gave us an excellent half hour illustrated presentation about the canal and its history, which really put things in perspective.
It seems the original canal dates back to Roman times when, obviously, it would have been dug entirely by hand. Nowadays the locks are all controlled remotely from three control rooms.
Early in the day we were told that we'd be meeting the sister ship to the Amaverde heading in the opposite direction. Then, later, we learned that it wouldn't be happening because the other ship had had to abandon its voyage due to the low water levels in the river system. In other words we were very lucky to have made it through without us having to be offloaded and put on buses.
After dinner we relaxed in the lounge with a couple of drinks while the on-board entertainers played and sang songs from our era. Mary made a name for herself and received many compliments for her enthusiastic singing and dancing.Read more