It’s late October and the autumn changes are arriving later than expected. During my time in Wisconsin, autumn is signaled with the brilliant cocktail of yellow, orange, and red leaves lining roads and parks. Germany was a bit of a late bloomer and the colors weren’t showing as brilliantly due to the warmer weather. I was looking for fall colors wherever I could and up to this point, I haven’t been able to fulfill that wish.
My time in Toy Town was sadly over and now I was heading north with a stop in Nuremberg. The only bit of information I knew of Nuremberg was the trials of the Nazis that took place after WWII. The train ride was about 90 minutes so I started researching some things to do in the city. The first thing that popped up was a world famous Christmas Market (Weinachtsmarkt). I love Christmas! It’s my favorite holiday and I was crossing my fingers that I wasn’t too early to see it. Next attraction that popped up was the Imperial Castle. Castles aren’t’ something we have in the states. After my tour through the Rhines valley up to the Village of Sankt Goar, Heidelberg, and a day trip to Neuschwanstein; I still hadn’t gotten enough of castles.
After arriving, I do what I always do. Found a place for my luggage, whether checking in to the hostel or renting a locker, and started exploring the town.
The air was crisp, but the skies were blue and not many people were around. It was still early and a Sunday, so the only thing I could do was to walk around. Germany on a Sunday is desolate. Everything except some cafes and the train stations are closed. I was getting excited because hidden in the still green foliage were the pops of autumnal colors creeping through. FINALLY!! I get to see my fall. I walked through what seemed like every nook and cranny of the cobblestoned city. As I was walking up on a hill, the Imperial Castle I had read about earlier came into view. Once considered an impenetrable fortress during the Holy Roman Empire, now serves as a museum and vantage point to view the whole city.
There was some construction going on but I was still able to explore the museum, chapel, and the Sinwell Tower. There was a demonstration linked to the Sinwell Tower and I just missed the tour. The next showing was 45 minutes away. To pass the time, I started my way to the courtyard. Entering the courtyard, I was stopped in my tracks by the visual feast of the vined walls before me.
After a mini photo-shoot, I bought my ticket for the museum and started my tour. My biggest frustrations with a lot of the museums in Germany, especially the smaller ones, were the lack of translations available. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the plethora of English-translated information. There were brochures available, some of the little placards in the exhibit were translated, and the digital kiosks spread throughout had English versions available.
Side Tip: The little placards next to the exhibits are what makes the museum interesting. Google translate was super helpful when no English translations were available, especially the app where you can translate from a picture. Super cool!
Upon a sitting session at one kiosk I came to learn about something called “The Golden Bull”
The Golden Bull
During the reign of the Holy Roman Empire, Emperor Charles IV wrote a set of laws called “The Golden Bull.” These laws determined the procedure for electing a new ruler. There were heads of seven noble families and they came together in Nuremberg to vote for a new ruler, via majority decision. If they couldn’t come to a decision within 30 days, they were to continue the proceedings on a diet of bread and water until a decision was made.
If only they thirty-day rule applied today…ah, the good ole days.
The laws also dictated inheritance, voting rights of the seven heads, political duties, and coinage among other things.
The chapel was really impressive as well. There’s an upper and lower level. The upper level was reserved for the king, as it has access directly to his chamber. The lower level is reserved for everyone else.
For more information about the layout and Chapel, check out the Nuremberg city website.
After my tour, and missing a couple showings, I had about a 15-minute wait until I could enter the tower. Once the time came to be let in, the anticipation for this show was built up. My face was numb at this point and all I wanted was a hot beverage and a giant quilt wrapped around me. I fortified my resolve, as I knew that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon and prepared for the “show.”
First, we go to the deep well that provided water provisions for the castle back in the day. The Imperial castle was once used as a fortress so a water source was needed for the troops behind the wall. This was their source. In a show of its depth, the group huddled around the well where an iron tray was suspended over the cavernous hole. Placed on the tray were four white candles flickering in the updraft of the well. The guide fetches a pitcher of water and pours the water into the opening. The swirling of the water echoed throughout its descent. After what seemed like minutes, an abrupt crash is heard marking the bottom has been reached. After some other presentations involving the well, the group was escorted up a spiral staircase to the top of the tower. Opening the door to the outside, the daylight blinded me and what gradually came into view was the best view of the city. As I stood there looking out among the red roofs and patinaed spires, I couldn’t help thinking of all the history that walked through this city.
Truly an enchanting city and one I would love to go back in peak Christmas market season.