Home > Germany, Personal > Easter Weekend: Nuremberg, Jaeger’s, Relaxation

Easter Weekend: Nuremberg, Jaeger’s, Relaxation

The four-day Easter weekend kind of snuck up on me. I’ve been so caught up in work and living a very day-to-day social life that I unfortunately did not plan ahead for having both a Friday and a Monday off. Part of that I blame on not celebrating Easter, Passover took up my thoughts instead as it happened to be this past week. Nonetheless I decided to make the best of the situation and spontaneously do an overnight to Nuremberg, a city I wanted to see, but didn’t feel the need to wait for others to come with me. Roberto coincidentally and very conveniently was renting a car for the weekend to go to London and get the rest of his stuff that he’d left there when he had moved. He offered to take me up on Thursday since Nuremberg was on the way and this way he could have company for part of his lengthy drive. Saving fifty Euros on a train ticket sounded good to me and I happily accepted.

Roberto left work early to get the car and I left around two to meet him at the apartment where he was coming to get his bags. He ended up being a few hours late because a construction crew near the main train station uncovered a bomb from WWII, that luckily was inactive, but caused quite a traffic snarl downtown. Eventually Roberto managed to get back and pick me up and we drove to Nuremberg using his handy GPS device and listening (and singing along) to music from my iPod played through his radio with another handy electronic device.

We arrived around seven in town, close to where I was staying, and I said goodbye, grabbed my backpack and walked through the gates of the medieval town wall, down a narrow alley to my residence for the evening, the amusingly named Lette’m Sleep hostel. It was a very nice hostel, designed for backpackers, nice especially considering the less than twenty Euros a night it cost to stay there. I dropped off my bag and hit the town, enjoying the cool night air as I took in the sights that I would explore more thoroughly the next day. Thanks as always to my handy Rick Steves book, I found a cool restaurant where famous artist Albrecht Durer used to eat for dinner. The food was tasty in a Bavarian way, and the Franconian beer was quite good. I wandered around some more after that before heading back to the hostel and falling asleep quickly, despite the sounds of my many roommates in the hostel room.

I woke up early the next day, eager to see the sights, and promptly got lost on the subway, not once but twice as I negotiated my way to the train station to get my ticket home ahead of time. I even got stopped by the subway police, but they were rather friendlier than their Munich counterparts, so it wasn’t too bad. After getting the ticket I went to the tram stop and hopped on the tram to the Nazi Documentation Center, the largest collection of Nazi documents in Germany, located at the site of the famous Nuremberg rallies of the 1930’s and 1930’s. I remembered the site from watching Triumph of the Will the Nazi propaganda film during Semester at Sea, but there was something eerie about actually walking in the footsteps of thousands of Nazis, even during a bright and beautiful day. I walked in Hitler’s very footsteps up to the lectern where he would give speeches during the rallies, saw the planned but never-built sites of various Nazi stadiums and buildings, and spent an instructive few hours in the museum, which had a fascinating glimpse of life in Nuremberg, what one high-ranking Nazi called the “most German of German cities,” during the time of the Nazis. Perhaps the most disturbing image for me were pictures drawn by eight and nine-year-olds of what they thought Jews were like. Put next to the incredibly racist children’s books used to teach, the pictures of fat, hook-nosed Jews reaching for money bags sent a shiver down my spine as I thought about the little kids who learned this at an age when it would really stick with them their whole life. I walked around the lake nearby for a while, thinking about what I had seen and learned, then took the tram back to town.

I spent the afternoon doing a self-guided walking tour of Nuremberg (courtesy of Rick). I saw the castle, Durer’s house (and the creepy rabbit statue based on a picture of his), and all kinds of historic statues, fountains, bridges, and churches. The church actually had a Jewish star in its floor from centuries ago when it was a synagogue before it and the Jews living nearby were burned and killed and driven away. Inside, people were setting up cameras for an Easter broadcast, which made getting around tricky but there was still a lot of great art to see. I had lunch at a nearby café, listening to a guitar player outside sing a song about not wanting to work, just wanting to “fuck the system,” and then took a tour of the castle gardens and around the city walls. By late afternoon I was ready to go, so I hopped the train back to Munich and went home, relaxing for a while and then calling it a night.

The next day I slept in and took it easy, taking a long walk around the greater Garching area and otherwise enjoying a restful, quiet day, made all the more quiet by not having a roommate all weekend. I was feeling restless by the evening though, so I was pleased when Annabelle invited me to meet up with her and some others at Jaeger’s that night.

I got to the hostel a little after nine, and the place was hopping. Not quite as busy as a Toytown night, but certainly more crowded than I expected. I sat down with Annabelle and Kristyn at a table near the bar, saying hello to them and to Cris as I got a drink. The girls were all drinking “Green Monsters,” strong green-tinted cocktails, chosen as specials for Easter. Having lived in Boston, literally across the street from the actual Green Monster, I took it upon myself to educate them about the baseball field wall that the drink derived its moniker from (along of course with the green color). There were several interesting cocktail specials that night, Annabelle’s later “Crimson Wave” drink made me laugh in particular, though I personally stuck to more staid drinks.

The table we were at was pretty large, so it was perhaps inevitable that several drunken guys came over and asked if they could share it with us. Kristyn told them no, but they mistook that for a joke and sat down anyway. Most of them were Swiss travelers, but one guy, Matt, was an American traveling through Europe who happened to have met up with the Swiss that night. They sat at our table and while I attempted conversation with one of the drunken Swiss guys, it didn’t really get very far. One of them was so drunk he actually passed out at the table while holding his glass of beer, until he knocked it off the table, broke it, and was encouraged by the bear staff (Cris and Dennis) to call it a night).

Matt wasn’t too drunk so he stuck around. Annabelle and Kristyn kept whispering that he looked like Hugh Jackman. I didn’t see it myself, but they insisted the resemblance was there. Annabelle made Kristyn switch seats with her so Kristyn would be next to him and continued to push her to flirt with him. She was successful and the two of them had quite a fun night, although the next day she complained of a vicious hangover from all the cocktails.

While I was talking to Annabelle, I got a tap on the shoulder and to my great surprise, saw Sebastian and Nora. Sebastian, Australian Jess’ boyfriend, and Nora, one of his former housemates and good friends, I had last seen at Jess’ going away party. They’re both German so it was a big surprise to see them at a hostel, but they explained they come for the cheap drinks. It was fun catching up with them, and meeting a couple of Nora’s housemates. One of them was half British and half Czech, but raised in Germany so had some fascinating insights into how people from those different cultures act. For instance German girls do not accept drink offers from German men but are usually happy to accept if the offer comes from a foreigner. She also told me some funny stories about life as a European college student, a vastly different, though intriguing experience from my own education.

For some reason we migrated to another table, near the back, where I got to know Cris’ friends, Chris, and Beatrice. Chris had been in the U.S. navy so we reminisced some about Seattle. Beatrice, a very pleasant French girl, told me about her week, which sounded like the most horrific series of events ever, yet somehow seemed quite chipper about it all, even with the pain from her shoulder surgery. I don’t know what the French equivalent of the British stiff upper lip is, but she had it. I was very much enjoying myself, but as always (and boy, am I tired of writing, let alone experiencing it), I had to leave to catch the train sooner than I would have liked. I made my farewells and went home, well-pleased with a far more sedate Saturday than I have normally experienced in Europe.

Easter Sunday started off with pleasant weather, but my walk to the Garching Lake was cut short by rain in the early afternoon. I moped around the apartment before eventually saying to hell with it and going back to Jaeger’s, hopeful for more pleasant company. Unfortunately, no one I knew was there, and Cris was too busy for more than a brief chat, so after a random, if amusing discussion of science with an Australian bloke, I made it an early night, which was just as well since I was still tired.

I spent Monday being lazy, watching television (on my computer) and not doing much. Rather than meeting out, Kerre came to visit Garching again to hang out. We chilled and watched most of Eurotrip (even funnier than I remember) but had to stop before it was over because I had told Barbara I would meet her at Killian’s. Kerre wasn’t feeling well enough to go, so Barbara and I had a couple of drinks at Killian’s discussing everything from Italian politics to the Dutch social welfare system (all applied to ourselves and people we knew). It was a nice way to round off the weekend and prepare for the week ahead, though happily there are only four days of work before another weekend, and more trips to come.

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Categories: Germany, Personal
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