I just love this time of year and all the festivity, don’t you? So here is a little history on how the first Christmas Market got started. Nurnberg being one of the oldest markets dates back to 1500.
Known in Germany as Christkinchesmarkt meaning Christ child Market has through the years changed its name to Christkindle Markts. The idea started out to be a place to buy and sell a variety of goods to be held throughout the year when the Christmas season came it turned into the place to go to purchase or order everything needed to make your own special Holiday. Toys were one of the most popular items along with pastries and other local foods, candles molds, cutters for baking, and last but not least and what I consider the coup de grace a plump turkey or goose.
Today we had a small tour of Nurnberg. Full of notable historical events starting with this area is the second largest in Bavaria and before the war was the most beautiful of medieval cities in Germany. In the 16th century Nurnberg became the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman empire of the German Nation. Also famous for being the first railroad route in Germany going from Nurnberg to Furth.
Nurnberg is known to be where Adolph Hitler lived during WWII. He built a replica of the Roman Coliseum for his offices to show the world he was stronger than any past Roman emperor from there. Now eerily peaceful with a small lake and park the site can still send chills down your spine. The infamous Parade Route historically had troops marching past Hitler standing on his podium as the soldiers march by in salute. This all sits right behind the small park in front of his Offices. The stadium that looks more like a bunch of concrete buildings are now grown over with weeds that wind their way though the concrete steps and road of the procession.
Its strange standing right there in the middle of where so much of WWII took place. Now it seems more like a ghost town than the busy hub it was. I think the only people who come here are tourists like us and the grounds keeper. But you also get taken back in time as you stand on the podium where Hitler once stood. You can almost see it happening right before your very eyes. That’s if you have a great imagination like I do. It was leaves you with a hauntingly sad emotion when you realize the atrocities that came from this place. Why didn’t we see it coming, why did we follow like sheep, why did we hurt so many in tragic ways? I hope the world will always remember and never let something like this ever happen again. Why can’t we follow our hearts and do what’s right instead of following others who have been misguided into believing a lie? Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Its just it all came to life today and it seemed to have an effect. That’s good isn’t it?
Getting back to a lighter atmosphere our next stop was one of the 3 largest churches in Nurnberg, St. Sebaldus, a 13th century Romanesque cathedral with additions in Gothic. This church is popular with visitors in fact St. Sebaldus is buried here. The saint known for performing many miracles in his life, is still on the pilgrim trail to this day. Originally born a prince from Denmark like St. Francis Assisi he lived as a hermit. In his life he did much good for the poor like this interesting miracle: It was a cold winters night there was a widow who could not afford to buy wood to heat her house. Sebaldus had her gather the icicles outside then threw them on the fire where they burned better than wood! The church does not have much in traditional stained glass but some of the art pieces were impressive.
We didn’t have time for anything else but we did drive through the older areas of Nurnberg and I think I’d like to come back sometime and see a little more on my own.
After the day in the city it was good to get back to the ship and set sail for Regensburg. A quick note about Viking River Cruises, I noticed that anytime you board the ship there is always someone to give you a welcome greeting. The crew goes out of their way to make sure you will have a good time on the cruise. Dinners are at 6:00PM and Viking tends to have mostly Americans unlike some of the other river cruises so food is brought out quickly. You know us Americans, we are fast food junkies! Dinners last no longer than 1 hour as in contrast European dining on other ships are the highlight of the day and will last over 2 hours so you could relax and visit with other travelers. There will be a briefing right after dinner every night then some sort of entertainment after.
That’s all for today, can’t wait for tomorrow I’ve heard really good things about Regensburg especially their sausage house so I’ll tell you if its all true tomorrow.