Thursday, June 09, 2011


Europe! Germany! It's my first visit back to the continent since late 2007 so it's kind of fun to be back somewhere really new. From Hong Kong I flew on Russia's Aeroflot airlines to Munich, Germany via a 4 hour stop over in Moscow. Aeroflot actually wasn't a bad airline despite what you might expect. It's often the cheapest transit airline between Europe and Asia and it seemed that everyone used it as such. It felt like the whole plane walked through the transit line rather than enter Russia.
I arrived in Munich quite late and was picked up at the airport by my friend Verena, whom I had met in Brisbane back in September.
We stayed that first night at her mother's home in the city and the following day took the train 2 hours north to Nuremberg where she currently lives and studies. I spent the next 8 days in Nuremberg just hanging out. On my first full day in the city 2 other friends, Marianne and Liz came from nearby Wurzburg to visit for the day. I'd met them while diving on Koh Tao 2 years ago so it was fun to meet up with them again too. It was a beautiful day so we hung out in the park and walked around the old town doing the European cafe thing. I like this theme of visiting friends again that I've been doing the last month :)

Liz, Me, Marianne and Verena

Nuremberg. Where to begin? I'd been to Nuremberg before in November of 2000. It has a nice hostel in the castle stables and was one of the more memorable for me of that trip. I didn't stay in the hostel this time but I still had a few flashbacks while walking around the walled old town and revisiting the old castle grounds. I didn't have much time back then so this time I was able to see a bit more.

What a great looking fire station.

Nuremberg is not a major German city, having only half a million residents, but it's well known from the WW2 era as first the site of the major Nazi rally grounds and later as the location of the Nuremberg trials of the major Nazi leaders after the war. I visited both spots though the rally grounds were being used for a major rock festival when I went so the effect was lost. The courts building where the trials were held is now partly a museum and the completely renovated courtroom 600 where the trials were held is still in use today. It was not in use when we went so the room was open to the public.

Room 600, site of the Nuremberg trials.

It's summer here and the biggest shock with that is how late the sun sets. It is light until well after 9pm which has to be the first time in about 5 years that I've light later than 7pm. I like it! The temperature is cooler but the sun is hot when it comes out. I'd be considered over-dressed compared to the locals. Trains, trams, funny sounding sirens, kebab shops, bicycles, ringing church bells, delicious dairy products and people legally drinking and BBQing in the parks round out the list of European/German things to get used to again. I'd also throw in old buildings but they only look old. The truth is that in WW2 90% of the city was completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt. Still, it's that old German style of architecture that really makes me feel like a tourist taking pictures all the time. I'm also very pleasantly surprised to find that even with the exchange to the Euro, food is much cheaper here than in Australia both in the supermarket and at cafes, pretty much right across the board.
Unfortunately time continues to go too fast and so before I wanted to, I had to say goodbye yet again and catch the ICE (express) train 6 ½ hours to Amsterdam to finally reunite with the European portion of my family, mom, dad, Savannah and Kees.


At 9:17 AM , Blogger The Bear said...

Hey Ammon,
I'm guessing by now that the clan is re united and ready to cause havok among the people of Europe as they drag you all over to see the cool things to see.
Say Hi to all for me.

Big Bear Hugs and Love to all.


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