A Tale of 2 BERGs: A favorite among favorites and reliving childhood memories
Nürnberg – a favorite among favorites
Wednesday was the day to travel to Nürnberg. If I had to choose a favorite city, it would have to be Nürnberg – probably because it’s the city I know the best, but I also thoroughly enjoy the rich history and architecture, even though the city was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. We started a bit later because Rudolf wanted to clear walnuts that had fallen in the backyard from their huge tree, and it also gave me some time to wrap up the previous entry.
Once we arrived at the main station, it was like returning to visit an old friend. Once again, some things had changed, but other things remain the same. Stores have come and gone and the population has diversified, but the landmarks of the city, such as the two imposing Gothic cathedrals of St. Lorenz (my favorite) and St. Sebald, the tower and complex of the fortress on top of the hill overlooking the city and the 8 grand watch towers that comprise part of the old city wall serve as reminders that this was a powerful city in the Middle Ages and beyond. Around 500,000 people call Nürnberg home today.
We wandered the city, ate at the famous Bratwurst stand in front of the Lorenzkirche, and had coffee and cake while watching people go by on their way to the Hauptmarkt. At 5:00PM we visited the short Vesper service at the Lorenzkirche (Kurzandacht). If Nürnberg is my favorite city then the Lorenzkirche is by far my favorite church in the world.
The priest talked about the church’s bells during the short sermonette. There are 16 bells, the largest of which dates to 1320 and only rang during major holidays and events such as Christmas, Easter, etc. That bell no longer rings, as it was destroyed in a bombing raid and remains at the back of the church as a reminder of the horrors of war. You can run your hand along the seam where the bell was repaired (see pictures). She went on to talk about how bells signal the sunrise and sunset, 9:00PM and the end of the day, and noon, and the bell that rings throughout the day to signal the quarter hours. Even when we no longer “hear” the bells, they are still integrated into our lives. I found the message meaningful.
After the vesper service, I walked through the church, lit a couple of candles and looked forward to a return visit in the near future. There’s a lot of construction in the church right now because Nürnberg is hosting Germany’s Lutheran Church convention in June 2023.
We then came across the “Altstadtfest” (Old City Fest), attended by many, despite the cool temperatures. I then had time to go back to the Hauptmarkt (place of the world famous Christkindlesmarkt every Advent season) and found the gold ring on the Schöner Brunnen (pretty fountain) so I could spin it and make my usual wish. Walked along the Pegnitz River at sunset and the buildings were especially striking.
It was a gorgeous day in my favorite place. See first group of pictures below.
Amberg – another first
Thursday it was time to visit someplace new – Amberg – located about 55 miles to the east of Neuendettelsau. As you may have guessed, it’s a different region (Oberpfalz) and they speak a different dialect (Oberpfälzisch). The landscape in this region reminds me a lot of North Georgia with rolling hills and granite outcroppings. It took about 90 minutes to get there by train and we had to change in Nürnberg. Amberg also happens to be Rudolf’s hometown, and I hadn’t been there before.
Once we got there, we walked around the old part of the city and Rudolf showed me the church where he was confirmed. (We had seen the church where he was baptized on the way into town.) We walked along the Vils River, which cuts through the middle of town and peeked in the big catholic Basilica St. Martin. We also found the smallest honeymoon hotel in the world (see pictures), the ice cream shop where Rudolf went as a little boy, and other such highlights.
We found a neat restaurant for lunch and were able to sit outside. The food was delicious and the waitress was really good. During lunch Hans and Mary’s daughter, Anna, called, as she is finishing up her teaching requirements this year near Amberg and she has an apartment in town. We met up with her and walked around some more of the sites along the old town wall, including the old jail, which is now transformed into a hotel.
After a nice chat over coffee and cake it was time to head back to the train station for the 90-minute ride back home. Then it was time to pack and get ready for the next leg of the adventure, which will lead us to the left side of the Rhine and Rheinland-Pfalz and the home of Hans and Mary Gaul.
Photos 1: Nürnberg, left to right, top to bottom
Row 1: Tower near Plärrer; Pegnitz River; Schöner Brunnen
Row 2: Frauenkirche at Hauptmarkt; near Altstadtfest; St. Lorenz bell
Row 3: Sacresty by Veit Stoss; Angel's Greeting; Lorenzkirche
Row 4: View up to the tower and the fortress on the hill
Photos 2: Amberg, left to right, top to bottom
Row 1: City wall; Hotel in former jail; Rudolf and Anna Gaul
Row 2: Outside city wall; Marktplatz (market square)
Row 3: Main shopping street; honeymoon hotel; Vils River and Basilica St. Martin
Row 4: Restaurant; market square, Paulaner church (Rudolf's confirmation)