October 3-5, 2009
I was supposed to head to Nuremberg from Dachau, via train. I got back to the Dachau Bahnhof with about 6 minutes before my train was scheduled to leave. It wasn’t a big station, but I had to run to the locker where I had stored my bag and then make it to my track #7. I saw Tracks 1-4 clearly marked and then the exit. What I didn’t see was the track I was supposed to be catching the train from. I ran back to the timetable thinking I had written down the wrong platform. Nope, it was definitely from #7. As I stood on the Track 1 Platform, I could see the other 3 tracks this side of a concrete wall. By now, my 6 minutes were up and if I learned anything about the German rail system, if it’s a minute past the scheduled departure time, you’re just shit out of luck. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone that worked at the station and when I knew that I had missed my train I started planning out my next best option. I was going to have to take the next train back to Munich and then hope there would be one leaving shortly to Nuremberg. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but I was supposed to be meeting my couchsurfing host at the train station in Nuremberg. When I got to Munich, I saw that I had 5 minutes to catch the next train to Nuremberg, which didn’t leave me any time to call my host to let him know that I would be showing up an hour later than planned. When I got on the train, I asked the guy across the aisle from me if he had a cell phone I could borrow. He was a super cool guy from Franfurt who worked in Munich during the week. He was more than willing to let me borrow his phone at no cost (I tried to pay him!). I talked with him the whole ride to Nuremberg.
I met my host in Nuremberg and headed to his place. He had a private party to head to that night and felt bad that I couldn’t join him, so he arranged for me to meet up with other couchsurfers in the area at a local bar, We headed there, but the place was closed and he had no idea where they would be. To be perfectly honest I was ok with not spending the night at the bar after all the drinking I had done at Oktoberfest. Yes, it would have been fun to meet up with locals, but a night in wasn’t the worst option in the world. He headed to his party and I headed back toward his place while looking for a place to grab a bite to eat. It was beginning to get dark, and when I turned the corner to walk up another street I discovered the castle. I remember reading about the castle in a guide book, but since my main motivation for coming here was to see the Courthouse, I sorta forgot about this attraction. After walking around the grounds for a bit, I headed off to find a place to eat. I settled on a Greek restaurant a few blocks away. When I walked in, the front of the restaurant had most of the tables filled, while the back was completely empty. Instead of getting sat up front amongst the rest of the patrons, I was put in the back by myself. I felt like the adult that they didn’t have room for at the adult table during Thanksgiving, so they stick you at the children’s table. Only this time, there were no kids to join me. The waiter didn’t speak any English, but it wasn’t needed for me to order my food and soda. Before my food came though, he came by with a complimentary shot of Ouzo. Since we had a language barrier, I couldn’t tell him I didn’t like the stuff, but I also didn’t want to be rude so I took the shot while he stood there waiting for me.
The food was good, but I couldn’t wait to get to the couch that awaited me.
For the record: Track #7 at the Dachau Bahnhof does exist. You have to walk past Tracks 1-4, through the exit and on the other side of the above-referenced wall you’ll find Track #7. Tracks 5-6 are still MIA.
Carsten, my host, had to be the most accommodating person in the world. He had bought fresh pastries and baked goods for breakfast and had a dinner planned to cook that evening. He offered to give me a tour of Nuremberg during the day. He is everything that is good about couchsurfing. It was nice to have someone not only to walk around with, but to give some local insight on the attractions. We walked around the castle and old town. We went to the towns famous Hauptmarkt, which becomes one of the most popular come Christmas time. I spun the golden ring on the fountain three times for luck. We explored St. Sebold’s, which had been destroyed (as was most of the city) during WWII and then completely rebuilt. We ended the afternoon at the Dokumentation Center. Nuremberg holds a place in history as being the home to the Nuremberg Trials for the Nazi war criminals. The Center used to be a popular place for Hitler and the Nazi Party to hold rallies. It’s also one of the few Albert Speer designed buildings not destroyed after the war. What distinguished this Center from the one in Obersalzberg, were the amount of videos to watch. Almost every one of the 19 exhibits started or ended with a video. Near the end I found myself not sitting for 10 minutes to watch, like I did in the beginning. Carsten had never been there before, so I bought a pass for him to join me, otherwise he would have just been sitting in the lobby for a long time. That night we had a nice dinner and Carsten helped me figure out how to find the Courthouse the next day. We learned that tours are only offered on the weekends, but I should be able to walk around some on Monday. The next day we said goodbye and I thanked him profusely for his generosity. He was heading to work and I was heading to the Courthouse before heading to Berlin.
The Courthouse was a fair distance away from where I was staying, but it was a nice walk over the river and through the town to make. I found a couple places to stop and look around through before I made it to Futherstrasse, the street the Courthouse would be on. Room 600 is where the infamous Nuremberg Trials were held and is in the Palace of Justice building. While I couldn’t take a tour, I walked into the building and to the window and asked if I could walk around. The policeman on duty let me know that I was free to explore, I couldn’t take any pictures and since Room 600 was under construction for another year, I couldn’t go anywhere near it. That sucked, but I walked up to the floor and hallway leading to the Courtroom. I tested the waters to see if I could get closer, but they had it locked up pretty well. I may have quickly pulled out my camera when no one was around and took a picture…maybe…
Now it’s off to Berlin…
Other attractions in Nuremberg:
St. Lorenz-Kirche—probably the most famous church in Nuremberg, dating back to the 13th century. The main portal is pretty amazing to stand in.
Helig-Geist-Spital—stands for “Hospital of the Holy Spirit.” When built, it was one of the largest hospitals of its time.
Rathaus—the Town Hall.
Germaniches Nationalmuseum (German National Museum)—home to various artifacts from the German-speaking world.