Destinations & Articles
Past, Present and Future: Part One
Published in the
Issue of Canadian World Traveller
By Greg James
German National Tourist Office (www.cometogermany.com)
Munich Tourism Office (www.muenchen.de)
Nuremberg Convention and Tourism Office (www.tourismus.nuernberg.de)
Part One of our fascinating weeklong Arts and Culture Tour of
Southern Germany, we visited the university town of
Heidelberg, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maulbronn Abbey
and the vibrant City of Stuttgart, capital of the southwestern
state of Baden-Württemberg and home to world-renowned car
this instalment, we travel eastward along Germany's super-fast
explore the charming Danube River town of Ulm, which was the birthplace of
Albert Einstein. The town is actually located in Baden-Württemberg,
but its twin town Neu-Ulm lies across the river in
Our tour then takes us to Munich, the
capital city of Bavaria, famous for its annual Oktoberfest,
and host city of the 1972 Olympic Games.
Last but not least, we discover the City of Nuremberg, which
has so much more to offer its visitors than its notoriety as
the site of infamous events during the era of the Third Reich.
disembarked from our minivan at the edge of Ulm, which
together with its twin town counts some 170,000 residents. We
were greeted by our affable local guide, who was rather
distinguished looking and though being of a certain age, was
quite spry. He quickly led us down Ulm’s wide pedestrian
street was filled with locals and visitors enjoying a stroll
in the warm afternoon sun. We were on our way to the town’s
main square to visit its famous Münster, but stopped briefly
at the spot where Einstein was born back in 1876. The house no
longer exists, but cobblestones trace out its footprint.
Ulm Münster, which became a Lutheran church during the
Reformation, is the second largest Gothic church in Germany
after Cologne’s cathedral, but Ulm rightly claims to possess
the tallest church spire in the world!
We had to crane our
necks backward to take in its 161 metres, while those of us
with cameras attempted to snap the entire soaring spire in one
interior of the centuries-old church was equally impressive.
But its most astonishing feature was a modern stained-glass window, prominently positioned above one of its main exits.
depicted the history of the Jewish people and was commissioned
by the citizens of Ulm in recognition of the injustices
visited on its local Jewish community during the Nazi regime.
short visit to Ulm included a walk on the bank of the Danube
alongside the 500-year-old wall that once protected the town.
We continued our stroll through the charming alleyways and
over the picturesque canal bridges of the Fishermen’s and
Tanners’ Districts, which are lined with individually
decorated historic half-timbered buildings.
reluctantly said goodbye to our gracious hosts at the Ulm Museum over
coffee and freshly baked pretzels.
This fascinating museum
features everything from prehistoric artefacts found in the
area to modern art by the likes of Warhol and Picasso. I only
wish we had the time to fully explore all of its excellent
& All That Jazz
try to describe all of the attractions offered by this Bavarian
capital city of over one and a quarter million inhabitants
would not only be difficult, but futile. Therefore, I will try
to cover just a few highlights of our whirlwind two-day stay.
took the city’s efficient underground system from the
Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel to the Unterfahrt Jazz Club in
downtown Munich. What a treat there was in store for us!
atmosphere was like that of an early North American jazz club,
but the menu was definitely Bavarian, offering lots of tasty sausage
dishes and a wide choice of local beers and wines.
the night we were there, the Dusko Goykovich Big Band was
playing, with over twenty of its talented musicians and a baby
grand piano squeezed onto the tiny stage. Who would have
imagined that Munich was such a hotbed of jazz!
City by Day
following morning, we were on a tour of the city by minivan.
Our guide Vicky gave us a running and often amusing commentary
on the historic and modern structures of Munich and its
legendary Oktoberfest, which annually attracts droves of
international tourists to the city.
We learnt from her that,
in typically German practicality, the fest even provides a special
tent where revellers who can’t make it home can spend the
night in relative comfort and security.
of our city tour included the baroque Nymphenburg Palace and
its extensive park, located in the western part of Munich.
construction of the palace began in 1664. It was built as a summer residence for the Bavarian
princes and features ornately decorated rooms and lush garden
landscaping with impressive outdoor statuary and fountains.
One could spend an entire day here!
ended our city tour at the historic Ratskeller Restaurant of
Munich’s Rathaus or City Hall, which is located on Marienplatz.
It was May Day, a national holiday in Germany, and the
picturesque square was even more animated than usual, as it
was the site of a daylong open-air concert. As we would find
on the entire trip, the local fare
offered at the Ratskeller Restaurant was absolutely delectable!
Art & Cuisine
our scrumptious lunch, we visited the Residenz Palace of the
Wittelsbach dynasty, which served as the seat of government
and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from
1508 to 1918.
The wings and annexes of the palace, located in
the heart of Munich’s Old Town, have been lovingly restored
and are a dream come true for aficionados of the Rococo style
leapt into more recent times on our next visit to the
Lenbachhaus Gallery, housed in a Florentine-styled building.
The gallery is famous for its the large collection of
paintings of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a group of
expressionist artists established in Munich in 1911, which
included among others Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter,
Franz Marc, August Macke, Marianne von Werefkin, and Paul
evening, we dined at the Spatenhaus Restaurant where I had the
best Wiener Snitzel I have ever eaten. The prices are
reasonable and the portions of the restaurant’s typical
Bavarian dishes are more than generous! The next morning, we
headed for Nuremberg, perhaps the most surprising destination
of the entire trip.
arrived at Nuremberg’s Centre of Documentation and were met
by our local guide, Thomas. The centre is the city’s way of
acknowledging the role it played as the site of the infamous
Nazi Party Rallies in the 1930’s.
explained that, until his generation, many Germans had a difficult
time talking about that dark chapter in their country’s
history. This was particularly true for residents of Nuremberg, which was
proclaimed a symbol of National Socialism.
Our tour included the parade grounds and the ruins of
the structures used for the rallies.
Educational tours for local
schoolchildren are an important part of the centre’s role in
ensuring that "never again" remains a reality for
generations to come.
first-time visitors to Nuremberg, there are many other
fascinating aspects of this vibrant historic city of half a million
residents to explore and enjoy.
checking into the Arabella Sheraton Hotel
Carlton, we took a
pleasant stroll to Handwerkerhof. This “Crafts Yard” is
located right in the middle of the city, close to Nuremberg's
main train station.
Surrounded by the
towers and walls that were part of the city’s medieval
fortifications, Handwerkerhof offers the visitor a chance to
see traditional craftsmen, such as pewterers, glass engravers,
potters, gold and silversmiths, gingerbread bakers and doll
makers as they work. Their workshops are located in the
charming half-timbered houses that line Handwerkerhof’s
browsing through a few of the workshops, we stopped for lunch
at the Bratwurstglocklein Restaurant and had Nuremberg’s
famous roasted sausages, fresh white asparagus salad and tankards of
chilled Nuremberg beer. Thus fortified, it was time to visit
the Imperial Castle.
history of Nuremberg dates back to 1050, when the Staufer
Emperors extended the Castle, which stood on the city’s prominent
hill, and turned it into an imperial palace.
During the Middle
Ages, Nuremberg was an important centre of trade and became
Our well-informed and enthusiastic guide gave us
a tour of the castle, after making sure we had all survived
the energetic but worthwhile climb to the top of the rather
our way down from the Castle, we made a brief visit to
Albrecht Dürer's House, which showcases the living and working
quarters of the great artist. A tour takes visitors through
all four storeys of this house, which was Dürer's residence
between 1509 and 1528.
Auf Wiedersehen to Nuremberg
saying goodbye to our intrepid guide Thomas over coffee at one
of Nuremberg’s many sidewalk cafés, we made our way back to
the hotel along one of the most charming pedestrian shopping
streets I have ever strolled. Several of the city’s
beautiful historic churches grace the street and its
evening, we had the last dinner of our trip at the Schwarzer
Bauer, a traditional Nuremberg brewing pub. Before we ate the
hearty meal, the proprietor took us on a brief tour of the
brewing facilities and down the four levels of caves where the
beer was stored before the invention of modern refrigeration.
In olden days, these caves were craved out of the soft
sandstone hill that gave Nuremberg its name. The original
spelling “Norenberc” meant “rocky hill”.
year, Germany's most famous Christmas
Market opens its stalls to visitors from all over
the world on Nuremberg's Main Market Square. By Christmas Eve
of each year, more than two million visitors would have
sampled the delights of the Nuremberg Christmas Market.
open-air stalls offer traditional wares such as Nuremberg's
famous spicy gingerbread and typical Christmas articles such
as Christmas tree angels, cribs, Christmas tree ornaments,
candles, and toys, as well as arts and crafts. Local food and
drink are also part of the festivities.
luck, I will find myself back in Nuremberg between November
30th and December 24th to enjoy this unique Yuletide
is Part Two of a two-part article on Southern Germany. We
invite you to read Part
One of the article, which was published in the
Summer 2007 Issue of Canadian World Traveller.
If you plan to visit Southern Germany:
German National Tourist Office
Town of Ulm
Sheraton Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel München
City of Nuremberg
Sheraton Hotel Carlton
Sheraton Hotel Carlton Nürnberg
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