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  • Germany the Great

    The travel across Germany continues over the capital city of the Holy Roman Empire, the city of Johann Sebastian Bach and the rebuilt Leipzig where I met UltraMadNuss before getting to Gorlitz

    Nuremberg

    Nuremberg is a city full of history. Founded in the Medieval ages between Franconia and Bavaria has been of grater symbolism in many periods. Unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire was with Augsburg one of the main trade cities between the south and the north of Europe. It was in Nuremberg where the kings of Germany must hold their first Imperial Diet. It also took great importance during the Nazis, as it was the site of the massive Nazi Party conventions – the Nuremberg rallies. To lately be the host of the Nuremberg Process were the Nazis where judge of their war crimes and crimes against humanity in the first process after the Second World War.

    In Nuremberg I stayed in a hostel. After installing myself I started talking with the girl at the reception. She showed me what to visit in a map and we stayed talking for a while. I had a seat at the reception to look for some information in Internet and we kept on talking about activities and sites to visit during the weekend.

    Once I realize that most of the places to visit Agnes will want to visit them as well I decided to spend the rest of the evening cooking something healthy at the hostel and chilling a little bit.

    At the hostel apart to increase my friendly relationship with the German girl at the reception, I had a couple of anecdotes.

    Anecdote

    While cooking and dinning several guests passed by the kitchen and dining room. One, a German guy, long and tall with blond mid-long hair. Probably it wasn’t the first that came to the room, but the first I remember as he completely ignored my intention of making friends when he didn’t answer my salutation. I spoke clearly and in a proper tone to be heard, but he didn’t even turn around. As if I were talking with someone else when there was no one else at the kitchen at that time. He ate some cereals with milk seated at the long table in the middle of the room looking in the opposite direction of where I was.

    Later a couple of Asian girls came and ate precook food at the table at the end. I just keep with my cooking without saying nothing this time. A single girl, sat as well at the table at the rear of the room looking towards the kitchen. The long tables of the hostel were in matter of minutes all with someone. The only conversation was between the Asiatic girls.

    After a while, the guy that avoid my existence stud up and sat next to the single girl at the last table. He introduced himself, sat in front and they starting talking together. Couple of minutes later he bought a couple of beers at the reception desk and they move to the terrace. Note that the terrace was just a platform in a parking courtyard.

    I ate my dinner and stayed at the kitchen updating my social networks. When the hostel closed the terrace both came back in. At that time, I was talking with the reception girl that I was about to stay at the hostel this night to rest a bit and update my blog when they arrived. As we finished talking the blond girl with the German guy ask her which options they had to hang out that night. Once they thought what they were about to do, the girl came to me and ask me if I would like to join them. I, completely surprise that she asked me looked to the tall blond guy behind her. He was at least as surprised as I was. I could read in his face how this wasn’t part of his plan. Not to make him a favour, moreover to be consequent with my previous decision, I gently reject the offer.

    Anecdote

    The second event that touch me that night happened late night. I still at the kitchen watching a TV program, eating chocolate and drinking the little white wine that remained from cooking. I was seated at the first table from where I can see all the others. From time to time there was guest that came in and went out from the room. This time the anecdote is about a girl. She came talking on her phone. She had a seat a couple of tables inside facing towards me. She was crying. That touch me. I started to wondered how could I help her? What might have happened? I felt that something has happened to her that was out of her control and she could do nothing but accept her new circumstance.

    A previews me would have gone to ask her after she hang out the phone. However, at that time I considered better to do nothing. People sometimes just need time to accept their circumstances. All that I get from her quebequois French among tears is that she was supposed to travel with a friend and now she was on her own.

    I thought to tell her to join me the next day to Bamberg, but again, this time I decided to let her. From the couple of times she looked at me I may dare to say that she realized that if she need something she can tell me. At least is what I was feeling and wanted to transmit her when our eyes looked to each other.

    To be sure that she understood my message, before getting to my room, I approached to her table and gave her the chocolate I saved for her. Without words, she just gave me back a soft smile while holding his phone next to her ear.

    20/08

    Full of energy after a chilling night I went to Bamberg instead of visiting Nuremberg. Agnes was about to arrive along the day to Nuremberg and I considered more appropriate to visit the city with her.

    Bamberg

    Bamberg is a medieval city at the north of Nuremberg over the river Regnitz. Most part of the town is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1993.

    I had no previous idea of this city. However, I kind of like to go visiting small cities and villages next to my main destinations. As in Regensburg I simply get lost myself among the streets of the village. A part from the Dome of Bamberg, the city hall in the middle of the river with its decorated facades might be the more interesting point of the city. Another sightseeing is the convent of St. Michael on the top of the hill. From there you can have a great panorama of what is Bamberg, a medieval city centre surrounded of a modern city. As the city is located between a group of several islands in the river, it is full of bridges.

    Bamberg

    Bamberg and the river Regnitz

    Bamberg City Hall

    City Hall of Bamberg

    View from St. Michael

    Panorama of Bamberg

    St. Michale Abbey

    St. Michael Abbey

    I spent in Bamberg the morning and I went back to Nuremberg in the afternoon to meet Agnes at the hostel. She happened to found a bed not only in the same hostel as me, but also at the same room.

    The afternoon we went to visit the Nuremberg Process Memorial. As it is not in the city centre, we went there with the underground.

    The Nuremberg Process Memorial is the building where took place the trial against the crimes committed by the Nazis during the Second World War. It is basically a trial room, room 600 which still host trials today and a room on top of it with a lot of information about the relevance of this process. Again, the visit could have taken the full day. We didn’t get to visit it all as we had to hurry up as they were closing.

    Room 600

    Room 600

    Justice at the room 600

    German and Roman justice at the Room 600

    For sure, it is worth visiting this memorial to learn how the process changed our world. A part from being the first war trial, it is here where direct translation sat their importance. This trial was the precedent of the actual Haya Tribunal and of other international organisations.

    After visiting this Memorial, I get to understand what happened at this court after the II World War. Also I won’t forget, that one way or another, more fair or not, people in favour or against this process and its results, it was the winners of the war the ones that sentenced the looser. Another fact that I liked to learnt is how Germans dealt with their terrific past since then.

    Dear reader! If you have ever visited this place or have interest for these historic event, please share your point of view and opinion in a comment. I’ll love to read it.

    After this, in terms of new information, intense visit to the Nuremberg Process Memorial we walked back to the centre of Nuremberg. As it was Agnes’ last day in Germany we walked up to the Castle visiting the main sightseeing of the city. After the castle we followed the city medieval wall back to the hostel. After a German Kebab we went for a beer in a courtyard at the defensive wall of the city next to our hostel.

    21/08

    Agnes had to leave to the airport before noon so we woke up early to have a walk and something for breakfast. Hopefully the previous day we get to visit most of the interesting points of the city cause at the end this morning we hadn’t time to.

    In the way to lunch a Rumanian bus driver, heard us talking Spanish while we were walking and came to us. After asking us if we were Spanish and finding out the origin of Agnes accent he started his monologue. He told us about his qualities recognising languages, about how many countries he had left at, how many languages he speaks and about his believe of a third world war about to come. Winter is coming! He told us about his geopolitical approaches and believes, but never let us talk. After a long monologue where we couldn’t express our point of view we left him in order to have a breakfast. We had no more time left.

     

    After saying farewell to Agnes and thank her for joining me on my trip with a warm hug at the train station I took the U-Bhan to the Reichtsparteitstageländen.

    The Reichtsparteitstageländen is an area at the southest of Nuremberg bigger than the city centre of the city. This area was originally a garden and houses that the Nazis demolished to create the area designed for the rallies or Nazi demonstrations. In the area, Albert Speer, the architect of Hitler designed several buildings for the different events and commemorations. Where is now located Luipolds garden was the memorial for the deaths during the war. The Congress Hall is now the museum that explains the relevance of the Nazi party rally grounds and of Nuremberg during the Nazi period and the war. The last big area is the Zeppelin field now a sort of sports arena.

    Zeppelin Arena

    Zeppelin field

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    Zeppelin Arena

    Zeppelin Field

    Most of the buildings are preserved in ruins and the Luipold Arena has been transformed in a garden. The architecture was thought to demonstrate how great was the Reich and how little every single human. This was achieved with classical architecture oversized. After being there and watched the videos of the demonstrations, I can perfectly imagine how a single soldier in the crowd may have felt as part of the Nazi army.

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    Luipold Arena

    Reichsparteitag 1933, Aufmarsch der Fahnen der SA

    Reichsparteitag 1933, Aufmarsch der Fahnen der SA

    Once again, I spent a couple of hours visiting the museum at the Congress Hall. Not to talk too much about this area, I suggest you to visit it.

    Reichtsparteitstageländen Museum

    Reichtsparteitstageländen  Museum

    Congres Hall

    Reichtsparteitstageländen Hall

    Late afternoon I went back to the city centre with the S-Bahn and walked again as I did with Agnes but this time taking more time to visit every single building and wandering around every corner.

    Nuremberg

    Panorama of Nuremberg

    Nuremberg

    Nuremberg and the river Pegnitz

    Relax in Nuremberg

    For the sunset I sat bellow the Imperial Castle in a beer bar full of people. I felt like doing what people does to see what it feels. Back to the hostel I bought something to eat.

    Anecdote

    After dinner, on the way to the hostel, happy of all what I was living and discovering, hearing music, I walked dancing and singing at the time I have an Ice-cream. If you don’t know me, imagine a skinny guy that looks like 35 years old with a chocolate ice-cream dancing and singing. Like that I walked all along the city walls of Nuremberg in his interior side. To my surprise, all of a sudden, in one of my multiple jumps and 360º turn I saw at my left a red façade full of windows with neon lights coming out from the interior. One every three was closed, but the others were open with a mid-age “lady” lack of clothing looking at me with a smile in her face. I was in the red district of Nuremberg licking an ice-cream. How appropriate, isn’t it?

    You can Imagine my reaction. My face turned as red as the walls of the red district. Pretending that nothing has happened and laughing in my interior I continued my way to the hostel.

    That night at the hostel I talked with the Canadian girl before going to bed and from her experience I am just going to say that “shit happens”. She was much better and positive despite what happened.

    22/08

    In the morning I prepare myself and left Nuremberg and the Bavarian region to go to Saxonys biggest city Leipzig

    Leipzig

    Leipzig was one of the great trade cities since the Holy Roman Empire as it was located between the routes East-West and North-South of central Europe. For this reason, it has been as well a great cultural city.

    I came to Leipzig just for one day before meeting Magnus at Dresden. For this reason, I just had a fast walk at the city centre. The city is a mixture of modern buildings and historic ones. It is visible in the streets how the destruction during the war, the communism and the further transformation has left place to contemporary buildings between the historic ones. I guess there has been many debates regarding these interventions. The commercial activities are present in every street of the old town.

    In Leipzig I visited the church of St. Thomas where is buried Johann Sebastian Bach and which organ has been played by Mozart, Wagner and Beethoven. I went to the church of St. Nicholas in the city centre, and the Art Museum.

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    Neues Augusteum

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    Thomaskirche

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    Perimetral Garden

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    Reicsgericht

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    City Hall

    Not to late I get in the train to Dresden. My friend Magnus was already there waiting for me.

    Dresden

    Is the capital of the eastern German state of Saxony that needed to be fully reconstructed after controversial American and British bombing of Dresden in World War II. This city was well known for his baroque and rococo style.

    In Dresden I met Magnus at the train station. He came along with her friend Michelle.

    Magnus also called “UltraMadNuss” is a sportive guy from Berlin that I had the chance to meet at the “Camino de Santiago” (Way to Santiago) last Easter. With him, Charly, Taka and Britt we made a team that use to walk between 40 and 50 km per day. That was my place.

    Magnus then told me that he would love to meet me in my “theRodTrip” and he did. Also he came with a challenge for himself. He was about to run from Dresden to back to Berlin on his own. This guy is awesome.

    After encountering Magnus, we went to meet his friends, Jonas and Patricia. This couple with their little son Mark hosted us the two nights we stayed at Dresden. We met them at a bar where burgers were half price. Nice deal for supper.

    Later I walked with Magnus to the northern part of the river to a garden where was expected to be the party place of Dresden. I wasn’t surprise that it wasn’t. However, we had a seat on the grass and had a beer while talking about our recent life, our experiences and thoughts. It happens that Magnus and I we had a lot of ideas in common. We both like challenges and to enjoy life in a healthy way. Don’t misunderstand me, we also like beer, meat and kebabs.

    Dresden Nichts

    Dresden Nicht’s

    From the garden in the way back to the tram we stopped at a tavern with craft beer to take a drink. There, seated at the bar, we had the chance to talk to the bartender and talk with him about our future adventures. Magnus is this kind of friend that will support my craziness.

    Back to the house we were staying, that was out of the city we share a nice romantic night walk continuing our conversation talking about friendship and love.

    23/08

    In the morning, we went for breakfast with Magnus friend Michelle at a bar she use to work. There the deal was 10€ for a coffee with a huge buffet all you can eat included. Stomach filled we went for a walk on the city centre. It was then, walking along the rebuilt buildings when I realized that two Christmas from now I stopped in Dresden in the way to Berlin. It was such a fast stop that I barely remembered.

    Super Breackfast

    Breakfastslow

    Walking the Zwinger, the opera house and along the Elbe river Magnus and Michelle explained to me how the city was bombed by the Allies in revenge for London bombing. The city was completely destroyed and rebuilt after the war brick by brick. It’s easy to distinguish in the walls which bricks and stones are originals and which are new.

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    the Zwinger

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    Opera House

    Next to the river we had a long talk with a man that was selling gravures with nice texts about zodiac and professions. Unfortunately, there were only in German so it is hard to sell them to tourist. In their talk, Magnus offered help to translate them to English. It wouldn’t be him who commit the translation but her cousin who works on it.

    We continued our walk back to the city centre passing by the two big churches. We were about to get in the Frauekirche but there was a lot of people coming in at the same time, so we decided that it was not worth. So we went shopping.

    Magnus needed some stuff for his next-day run to Berlin. I, after been thinking of renewed my backpack I decided that if I saw a good one no so expensive I will do it. We went to several sport shops and at the end I get one new rucksack.

    We ate something together next to the fountain at the main commercial street studying how the bubble-makers’ business worked in the city.

    In the afternoon we went to see Jonas teaching Badminton. Jonas and Magnus knows each other as both are teachers of these speciality. Jonas told me that they had really good players from here that even get to play international competitions. They are all teenagers though.

    It was nice to see how is a badminton class with Madnus explaining me what is every exercise for. It not all about strength, also about coordination, technic and strategy and there are exercises to improve all these aspects.

    As we both like to walk, we took the long way back home. In other terms, we get a bit lost in our way back. My orientation skills didn’t work that day as good as the previous and the GPS played a little bit with us. Anyway we get home with pizzas to share with Patricia who was trying to sleep Markus.

    While we cook the pizzas I move all my stuffs from one backpack to the other and I gave my old one to Magnus.

    Before getting to bed I chatted with Jonas about his house. He wanted to make a second floor and he asked me for advice. He also explained me about badminton, the competitions and the kids he’s teaching.

    We went to bed early as next day Magnus started his way running to Berlin.

    24/08

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    ready for the adventure

    Early in the morning, we went with our backpacks to the train station where I left mine and then I get Magnus’ and a bike to follow him running. We did together 15km along the Elbe river to the North. Then we stop for a coffee in a little coffee shop. Back to the river we get in different ways next to a signal of the “Camino de Santiago”. How symbolic.

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    Farewell UltraMadNuss

     

    When saying farewell after a big hug that made me sad I confess Magnus how happy I was to encounter him in life. Is the people like him that push me forward to achieve my dreams. He admitted that he felt quite a similar feeling.

    I ride back to Dresden and once in town I visited the Frauekirche. As it was no weekend there was less people visiting it. Then I went to the train station and get in a train to Gorlitz, my last stop in Germany.

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    Leipzig at the horizon

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    Leipzig Old Town

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    Gorlitz

    Gorlitz is a little village in the boarder with Poland. Actually I may said, it is divided in two by the boarder that goes along the river that divides the city. In the other side of the river there is the city of Zgorzelec. Gorlitz is not at all a touristic destination. However, recently it has get increase the number of visitors after been in films like Inglorious Bastards. It is a really well preserved city from the time before the war. The old town is more medieval, but the immediate surroundings still keep the beauty of the XVIII and XIX century German architecture and urbanism.

    I get to the train station of Gorlitz, but my hostel was already in Zgorzelec. So actually, I was sleeping in Poland already. The train station here wasn’t as fancy as all the others I had visited in Germany. Was it because it is a village? Or because it was in the boarder?

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    View of Germany from Poland

    I went to my hostel where no one speaks English so I had to manage with my bare knowledge of German and after install myself I went to visit the village before everything closed.

    I only get to visit the cathedral on time.

    Anecdote

    At the cathedral which is free entrance I was taking pictures when someone approaches me. It was one of the guys in charge of the building. He told me that I had to pay 2€ to take pictures. I still do not understand why you have to pay for taking a picture. Any clue?

    After the cathedral I walked the city with no destination admiring the facades and the churches and other public buildings that I came across. I ended up buying one big spicy kebab and ate it next to the river watching the sunset reflected in the polish side.

    The bridge that link both countries turns to a fountain when the night comes. It was a nice spectacle to finish the day.

    25/08

    Next morning, I wasn’t in a hurry to get my train to Wroclaw as Elise was about to get late night there. I decided then to visit some of the little churches in Gorlitz that the previous day were close when I passed by.

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    Beer bath

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    Streets of Gorlitz

    They were preparing some kind of event in the village and It seemed to me that the event was about to take place in both sides of the river. That was a proof to me that in both countries they live as a single village. The big difference regarding other villages is that here, Tabaco and Alcohol shops are most of them next to the bridge in the Polis side of the river.

    After lunch I get on the train to Wroclaw.

    As always I sat in a two face two seat. Here there was no table. Little later than our depart, a lady came to me. She started talking me in German but when she found out that I speak no German she changed to English. She asked me for something of value I was carrying with me. Not need to be of economic value, but of personal value. She explained to me that this was part of an art campaign to celebrate the train link between Dresden and Wroclaw.

    After thinking for a while, I explained him that nothing I was carrying has a significant value to me. I recently get rid of everything and what I’m taking with me is just useful. If I happen to be stolen or lose anything I will have to struggle more with the fact of not being able to use this facility than with the symbolic lost. I realized that the most valuable thing I am carrying with me is my life.

    As she didn’t find a clear answer she asked me for the object that has been more time with me. Almost everything is barely new. Just few things are older than one year. Then I realize that my watch has been with me for much longer. I get it long long time ago with my uncles in the Caribbean Sea. I told her and I offered to her to paint it.

    While she was painting my watch she told me what was all these about. It seems that for long time there was no train connection between Dresden and Wroclaw due to political issues. Two cities of big commercial importance in Germany and Poland lack of a fast connexion like the train. Recently they had link them with these line and to celebrate the school of art of Dresden together with other sponsors from Dresden and Wroclaw were supporting this art activity in the train.

    I keep asking her about this issue and then we end up talking about her career and my journey. Her college after finishing her painting sat next to us and joined us in the chat. If it wasn’t because they had to continue painting, we might have spent all the journey to Wroclaw talking.