We had got used to hot and humid weather on our jaunts around the Mediterranean countries, but the cold in Germany came as something of a surprise, especially when the temperature dropped to zero and it snowed in October, a month early.
Then we realised the implications – we don’t have “winter tyres” on the Renault, so we couldn’t risk being caught in the snow. It is both dangerous and illegal to drive in Germany in the snow without winter tyres. Motorways were generally well cleared, but we couldn’t risk going too far from them.
There were reports of deep snow around southern Germany, particularly in Munich where Andrea is currently studying.
We made it to Nuremberg, after seeing snow piled on the side of the motorway. The attraction for us was Albrecht Dürer’s house. We had seen some prints from Dürer at the National Art Gallery in Melbourne, in fact Evan was absolutely taken by the famous rhinocerus. It is evident that he was a skilled graphic artist with a lot of his etchings and woodcuts in circulation in printed books and posters. However, what I enjoyed about this visit was to learn about the other mediums he worked in such as oils, water colour and gold leaf. As a scholar and intellect, he lived during the period where Humaism, with its reforms in education and lifestyle based on Greek and Roman models, was taking place.
He was an artist who became wealthy from his art in his own lifetime and became a senior citizen in Nuremberg. He and his wife lived in the house, built in 1420, between 1509 and 1528. It was large and spacious by the standards of that time.
Christmas is just around the corner and there were stalls being set up in the squares, selling Christmas treats. I couldn’t resist some Lebkuchen, the famous Nuremberg gingerbread biscuits.
There is a wonderful Imperial Castle in Nuremberg which commands a great view over the city. The style is so very German, with many half-wooden buildings.
In contrast to what was old and beautiful in Nuremberg, we also visited the Documentation Centre, which is set in the old Nazi Party Rally Grounds which originally covered eleven square kilometres. The exhibition “Fascination and Terror” is a frightening analysis “…of the causal facts and consequences of the National Socialist reign of terror…”, and has been put in place as a permanent reminder and point of discussion. Part of the rally grounds still exist, however time and daylight prevented us from wandering around them.
As we left Nuremberg we stopped by for a quick photo opportunity of the Faber Castell residence, home of the famous pencils.
I was fascinated by Ulm, set on the Danube and home to the world’s highest steeple at 161.60m. The Ulmer Münster steeple is so high it is nearly impossible to photograph! Inside, the ceilings are also high, creating a grandiose style.
There is a lot of water – small rivers such as Kleine Blau and Große Blau feed into the mighty Danube, creating pretty vistas around the old city.
Ulm was our last stop in Germany, so we couldn’t resist a meal at the Rathaus Kellar (Town Hall cellar). They are famous in Germany as a drinking hall with good, easy to eat, well-priced food.