Monday, September 2, 2019

Ain't Europe Grand (Tour) with Chryss and George (Day 11)

Germany in a Door Handle a Day

That's what greets you at the door of St. Sebaldus Church, who is the patron saint of Nuremberg, despite, as Wikipedia kindly puts it, his "insecure historicity." (Note to self--there's a title for your memoirs if you ever write them.) Hello, death. You are everywhere, and can be expressed in the simplest of hints of form. How particularly fitting to be in Nuremberg, though. For now we probably think of this city as most associated with Word War II--site of Nazi rallies held at still monumental structures like the Colosseum-esque Congress Hall that you can cruise around inside via bus

or the Zeppelinfeld, where you still expect to see swastika-emblazoned banners to hang, flanking old you-know-who in mid-racist rant. (No, not 45*.)

Of course the town is the site of the Nuremberg Trials, too, trying to correct the massive wrongs through reason (after war won the day). The Palace of Justice is the calm spot all that went down.

But then Nuremberg was also home to one of art's great geniuses, Albrecht Durer. There's a plaque on what was once his house--oh, about WW II, it pretty much meant all of Nuremberg was destroyed. That so much of it is re-built, that's another testament, too. Humans, damn complex.

Speaking of complex, the original organ in St. Sebaldus was for a long time one of the oldest playable organs in the world, well, until it got destroyed in WWII. Some dude named Johann Pachelbel was organist there in the day, and wrote one of classical music's greatest hits on that organ. So there's that, too. But, how 'bout some more death just to keep us modest?

Or let's instead celebrate how we can be artful, visionary, builders, and re-builders, despite all we know. Here's some more of St. Sebaldus, spectacular church to a saint we're not sure even existed, and probably a minor cathedral as Europe's clutch of holy edifices goes.

Noshing through Nuremberg

Since the Tir is till stuck in Regensburg thanks to the high water (better that then hell), we motorcoach to Nuremberg, which isn't far. It's cool to get to see some of the non-riverside country-side, too. You may spy on a village....

or a lovely lake-let.

From that countryside comes the delights for sale at the Nuremberg farmers market in its Haputmarkt. Made us want to cook just to play with those gorgeous white asparagus.

And we also bought some souvenirs for the family back home, some lebkuchen, a flourless gingerbread cookie Nuremberg is noted for that's not what you might expect given that description. It's more a spice cookie (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, aniseed, cardamom, allspice, coriander, oh, yeah, and ginger), and of course comes in decorative tins. Souvenir city, you are Lebkuchen Schmidt.

We even got to taste them when we got home and they are uniquely yummy. Since we were in Nuremberg from 11-4 and away from our talented kitchen crew, Viking took us to lunch to try Nuremberg's famous sausages. It seems every German town argues its sausages and beer are the best, and since we didn't try many in other towns, we'll have to go with what we were offered at Bratwurst Roslein, founded in 1431. Somehow their motto is not "Centuries of Sausages!" Note, what we think of us bratwurst isn't what Franconians (the area Nuremberg is in) think of us bratwurst, so they are shorter and thinner, and meant to please on their porky own. As on this plate with potatoes and sauerkraut (cabbage is sort of air in Germany, you know).

Yep, they are grilled, by the many dozens, especially when 150 folks from Viking show up hungry.

And it wasn't just a sausage plate, for the lunch kicked off with a very interesting soup with a noodle that was weirdly, pleasingly doughy--almost something you'd expect in an Asian dish.

Oh, they had a veggie option for Chryss, something soupy-stewy she liked enough. Germans don't seem to have got word of the vegan sausage revolution the U.S. has embraced.

And then a dessert, too, a version of a Black Forest cake with more ice cream, and what could be wrong with that?

Here's the exterior, not that exciting a shot, but there's Program Director Stein (in the red Viking shirt facing the camera) probably explaining something he's said eight times for the ninth to one of our fellow passengers.

And to ruin chronology--but the trip is so many weeks ago, what does that even mean at this point--after we did our bus and walking tour of town with the local guide provided by Viking, we opted to rest and reconnoiter and drink at Bratwursthäusle, with its lovely outside tables taking in town hall across the street. The Trucher beer there was fine, but more striking was our waiter, oddly aggressive for a server ("you are only ordering the .3 l sir?")--picture Rolf from Sound of Music going bad, as you just know he did. Of course, still full we refused to eat, so that might have set his tip-seeking heart off, who knows?

Gorgeous Old Stuff Re-Built

So then there's all the scenic scenes Nuremberg offers, from its Beautiful Fountain (Schoner Brunen) in Haupmarkt--that's its actual name--to a much more modern sculpture called The Ship of Fools which I chose to photo in detail, because today's post has a theme and we love Halloween and all that.

And while Nuremberg is off the Main-Danube where we should be docked, it's got its own river flowing through its middle, the Pegnitz, which means reasons for many a photo, showing how the town's got old and new a-scritching and a-scratching upon each other (probably given all the old was re-built as the new got built).

Spot the locals and their wedding photos. It's a theme of the trip!

Perhaps the couple will bid troth in Frauenkirche, which I'm pretty sure translates as "Church with Pointy Roof."

And speaking of keeping things old, forget about using your phone as a watch here, you just need a handy sundial.

Lots of wonderful wooden houses, none more scenic than this one.

And the historic (yes, restored) walls of the town still have impressive gates like Frauentor.

I'm contractually obligated to take a photo of every St. George depiction I see.

And while this one doesn't spell museum mvsevm as one of my poems does, it was still pretty enough to be worth a photo, I think.

Kaiserburg, the Town's Crown

The bus tour portion of our trip kindly leaves us at the highest point of town, a complex dating back to 1040 that is actually three castles, cleverly atop the town to be both commanding and easier to defend. Some of it looks likes this

and then from the top you get views like this over Nuremberg

Of course there are towers that tower over you too, as you can't have too much a height advantage.

And some narrow passages, just in case your enemy gets inside somehow--it's easier to pick them off 4 a-breast than 20 a-breast.

At least I don't think back in the day they were considering tourists might one day think, "Great framing device, thanks!"

Dinner and Two Shows

Meanwhile back at the still stuck thanks to the water levels Tir in Regensburg, we are docked alongside a carnival/fair called the Dult. The coolest thing about it is that people get dressed up, and by that I mean

That's just a few of the folks in their dirndls or lederhosen, but I felt funny taking too many voyeuristic spy photos, if that makes sense. But it was good to see traditional clothes were still being embraced by the young, and not just in some ironic way--most of the people dressed that way were looking mighty good. So congrats, Regensburg.

As for dinner, I'm sure I am surprising you by once again ordering off the regional special menu. Someone had fun with the madeline in the kitchen, as you can see from my opening salad--ochsenmaulsalat & knodel carpaccio. How German--we will offer you carpaccio of dumplings!

Turns out you can make the seemingly heavy, a beef salad with dumplings, be light on its elegant feet if you work hard enough, slice thin enough. And zip it up with a brandy vinaigrette.

Chryss went for a more salady-salad, featuring spinach, artichoke, radicchio, and a forest mushroom vinaigrette.

Then for my main the mouthful, both as a name and a dish, kassler sauerkraut salzkartoffeln, or cured pork loin with sauerkraut and parsley potatoes. Hearty-licious.

While Chryss enjoyed the sauteed Chinese egg noodles with yet more mushrooms (although shiitake aren't from the German forest, we think), even if the spicy sesame-soy sauce made it a tad too salty.

Plums awaited with dessert, zwetschgenkuchen mit sahne, aka whipped cream.

After dessert the ship offered some onboard special entertainment--show two after watching the dress up parade headed to the Dult. I don't have pictures, but that's ok as this was really about sound. Two women singers and one man, accompanied by their own pianist, regaled us with what was billed as "an unforgettable evening highlighting the greatest melodies of Mozart and Lehar." These Danube-infused tunes were charming, in particular when one audience volunteer got to play the man fought over by the two sopranos.

Go back and read Day 10 of Ain't Europe Grand (Tour) with Chryss and George 

Go ahead and read Day 12 of Ain't Europe Grand (Tour) with Chryss and George

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