Monday, September 10, 2012
2012 - The Final ChapTour part 10 - Skeleton Dance
8/17 - leaving München
It's about an hour to Nürnberg, and then some subway Kakerlak and a half-mile hike to the hotel. Delays built in. Once there, we'll see what there is to see, and what supplies I need to get in.
The hot air is boiling yesterday's rain out of the ground; outside the city, a thick fog lies over much of the landscape. Really cool.
This trip also set a personal land-speed record. On the leg between Ingolstadt and Nürnberg, the train ticked over 300 km/hr, which was the first time I've gotten to those kinds of speeds on the ground without, fifteen minutes to either side, being airborne.
- Nürnberg -
416. Lolbalkon. I'd say it compensates for the spectacularly useless kitchenette (want to make something other than instant beverages? No tools for you!), but I got an absurdly good rate in-season on 3 days' notice. Everything else is gravy.
8/18 - Nürnberg
Because I started too early, I missed all of my built-in delays (1.FCN shop wasn't open, didn't feel like eating again at Zum Guldenen Stern -- or drinking hefe either for that matter) and now have 45 minutes to kill before the Dürer-Haus opens. Time enough to write the inbound leg up.
417. Tower and wall section at Plärrer.
418. Church in Jakobusplatz.
419. Dome above the subway exit.
420. Old wall and modern buildings south of Plärrer.
421. Zum Guldenen Stern. Maybe on the way back.
422. Local Pirate Party HQ. (Nine percent and growing!)
423. Old restaurant on Sommerpause.
424. Church from 418, different face and in better light.
425. The building below the dome in 419.
426. The Weisser Turm. No uruk-hai in evidence. (Or Aes Sedai for that matter; we are a full-service nerd reference shop here.)
427. Fountain below the tower.
428. Tower and subway exit.
As shown, one of the passages to the Weisser Turm subway stop goes through the eponymous tower, probably due to easy basement access when the tunnels were first being cut.
429. Jeweler's in an old building, heading for the river.
430. View across the Peglitz just short of the Karlsbrücke.
431. Perfect reflections off the bridge.
432. Latin pillar in the middle.
433. Off through greenery from the Henkerturm.
434. Another calendar shot to the west.
435. And to the north from the south bank.
436. North side and bridge to the Henkerturm.
437. Further west over a flood dam.
438. Henkerturm and covered bridge, completely backlit.
439. Massive old half-timbered building.
440. Latin inscription on a corner, heading northwest.
441. Tower up in the northwestern corner. Nürnberg built their Ring mostly outside the walls, rather than pulling them down.
442. Strongpoint tower, heading up to the Dürer-Haus.
443. Square above the Dürer-Haus.
444. The house itself.
445. View along the top of the walls, from a traffic-control pillar where I wrote all of this up.
There are more antsy German tourists around now, waiting for the doors to open, but still like 20 minutes to go. This should be enough time for me to check out the fortress, then come back for the museum and start working the south-east leg, back to the Hbf. Losgehts!
The fort was cool, and the Dürer-Haus quite so, but there are only guided tours through the Felsengänge. We'll see what we can get out of this -- especially after a liter of Rotbier in 15 minutes while waiting.
446. Passage under/through the walls.
447. Tower from the other side.
448. Along the moat, with inner and outer walls. It's gardens down there now.
449. Into the inner wall, flooded with light.
450. Garden and ramparts; the tower above is lost in the light.
451. A better shot; there's an almost Japanese feel from the greenery and the way the walls stack up to the tower.
452. More of the fortress.
453. Passage going in; the supports are new.
454. First room past the gate.
455. Labeled, in case you couldn't tell. (Yes, this is a street sign. Yes, it's still funny.)
456. Artificial composition and a wooden gate.
457. The main tower rises above the ineer courtyard.
458. Nürnberg panorama from the castle.
459. Closer look out towards the churches.
460. Up from the foot of the tower.
461. Courtyard, wide shot.
462. A tighter look out through the walls.
463. Greenery in the inner Hof.
464. Double eagle on the door -- Nürnberg was a free city of the Holy Roman Empire before getting absorbed into Bavaria.
465. Wall houses going down.
466. Gatehouse over the passage.
467. Looking up at the fortress from outside.
468. Built into and over the andstone bluff.
469. Zur Waffenschmied -- a restaurant now, but an important part of the past. In the Renaissance, Nürnberg was it for superior weapons and plate gear.
470. Fachhaus and slate.
471. Golden knight at the bottom of the Ölstraße.
My first cheap pen from Erfurt gave out here, making for a very long recap back at the hotel, four hours and three museums' worth of stuff later. Fortunately, I had a second pen -- despite not having it in the shoulder bag for this day -- and this was the next-to-last day of the trip.
472. "The Hare", 1984, after Dürer. There were other tourists looking at this as I got closer, and they kept using words like "unheimlich" and "ekelhaft" to describe it. Albrecht Dürer; still upsetting and confusing conservative old Germans, even 500 years on.
473. In close and gruesome detail.
- Dürer-Haus -
The museum was now open, so I went in.
474. "Tanzende Skeletten", 1489. This needs to be in more metal albums. Everyone and their brother rips chunks out of the "Apocalypse", broaden your horizons a little.
475. One of the "Wanderer" rooms, a 19th-century re-dressing to the period.
476. Up to the upstairs chimney room.
477. Stair furniture.
478. World map of Waldseemüller, 1507.
479. Slate for 478.
480. Woodcut plate and prints, after the master.
481. Reduction plate for "The Rhinoceros".
482. Tower on the wall after coming out of the museum.
As noted a ways up, there were only guided tours of the Felsengänge (a good thing, as will be seen), so I had to wait till eleven to go ahead. This left 25 minutes, so I got a liter of Rotbier (no cap, boo) and took a break, the sun not being completely impossible yet. The beer was gone in ten minutes, and I took the rest of the time to dry out.
483. My only souvenir of the strongish, slightly sour Nürnberger Rotbier, famous in the same recipe -- thanks to the upcoming cliff cellars -- since the Middle Ages. That same old obsession with pack weight prevented me from taking the bottle home.
- Felsengänge -
484. Down Dürerplatz to St. Sebaldus, with the tour group.
485. Bombenhagel. The entrance passages were dug as bomb shelters/connectors to the same during the war.
486. Gas-tight door into the bunker.
487. Air-raid warning network.
488. War-era signage.
video8: Affengang -- there's a 1,7-meter height limit in this emergency tunnel (dug by POWs in a matter of days after the Hamburg firebombing, neatly killing any sympathy any tourists related to Allied POWs (like your correspondent) might have had for the city population under bombardment). Hunch over and make gorilla noises as your hands bump against your shins.
489. Inside the old beer cellars.
490. Law's the law -- specified cellar requirements for anyone who wants to brew.
491. Shelves built into the rock for unknown purposes.
492. A hand-forged keg filler apparatus from the late 19th century.
493. "...a maze of twisting passageways, all of them alike..."
494. Lime deposits, headed down.
495. More headroom, three levels down.
496. Sixteen meters up a ventilation shaft to the surface.
497. Wide vaults allow the light to carry.
498. Granite incursion between sandstone layers.
499. Old corner, not covered in spraycrete reinforcing.
500. Old ice cellar for cooling.
501. Ice-working tools. The ice, when imported rather than local, came from the Alps and Norway, not Wenham.
502. Laboratories of Bierschutz. City-level regs that laid the base for the Reinheitsgebot 200 years later.
503. Rubble and reinforced wall. We're still five stories down in a cliff made out of compressed sand.
504. Empty, dangerous passages -- adventure awaits! (Hence why there's only guided tours, to cut down on the volume of overly-adventurous, still-just-as-dead tourists.)
505. Year marking, headed up.
506. In use -- "bierbrand" (beer brandy wtf) ripening in the darkness.
507. Dürer statue in Dürerplatz, back on the surface.
508. Side of the Sebalduskirche.
509. The tower catches the sun.
510. Towers from the front.
511. Schönbrunnen in its tourist-ringed glory.
512. Front of the Frauenkirche.
513. Front from the side after striking gold (three new beers, including one with an alligator on the cap) in the neighboring Edeka.
514. Memorial to the old synagogue.
515. Tower house on the far bank of the bridge.
516. To the west; flat and green.
517. Tower by the library entrance.
518. Memorial stone, with the declaration of human rights, below the Lorenzkirche.
519. Wide back end of the Lorenzkirche.
520. Towers toward the front.
521. Old house across the square.
522. Church through some trees.
- Reichsparteitagsgelände -
On the way out from the Hbf, on tram #9, you pass a stop for the Meistersinger stage. Echoes of the past -- this is what people used to identify Nürnberg with, before racial laws, mass rallies, and the anything-but-a-victors'-court convened to put everything back in order. "The most German of German cities", Hitler called Nürnberg -- and it may be here that the wound of fascism's cut the deepest.
523. Congress Hall, from the tram stop.
524. Entrance to the exhibition.
525. How to take over -- the Nazis consolidated the right much more than converting the disunited left.
526. ((didn't come out))
527. The Nazis took over and/or banned and replaced every civil or fraternal organization, as well as the government.
528. The full code for KzL-Haftlinge. The impression that we have in the US (yellow stars, pink triangles) is the simple version; even evil Germans are still Germans, and every possible combination must be worked out, coded, and documented.
529. Granite blocks in the vaults of the Congress Hall -- if this doesn't remind you of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal a few days back, it should.
530. Jede Menge Hitler-schrott.
531. Dürer-stadt ist auch Streicher-stadt. Something genuinely new (for me), and genuinely impactful. You tend to think of Julius Streicher as some kind of inhuman spirit, summoned from the nether reaches of the German psyche, but he was a real man who had a hometown as well as a burning and insane obsession with Jews, and it was here.
532. Labor sources. Even this early, Nazis didn't build with paid labor when they could get slaves.
533. Postcards from the Parteitagen.
534. As it was -- references from before worse references became everyday.
535. Board game for "young and old" -- pogrom by roll of the dice.
536. Ads for insanity -- insufficiently "Aryan" businesses work themselves over, get cleared, and put it in the paper.
As always, statt Aryan Ayran.
537. A complete record -- the whole of the Nürnberger Prozess.
538. Typical Wessis or deliberate culture jamming? Post-war attempts to use the giant white elephant.
539. Ruins from the inside.
540. Panorama of the empty courtyard. You go out onto the landing to look over this giant mess of brick, the weeds poking up through the concrete, and if you don't get the spontaneous impression "what a great pile of useless garbage", if you don't here the air whispering to you "nie wieder, nie wieder", nothing in this museum will get through to you, and any measure of KzL carnage is similarly useless. Such a great empty space, and almost completely closed in on itself: like nothing more than a giant hole kicked in the world.
541. Cleating in the brick at the close side.
542. Stones in the bed of a railway into darkness. Each of the "stones" is a card with the name and vital statistics of a victim of the Nazis.
543. Temporary exhibition -- a reworking of an old French edition of Mein Kampf by various artists.
I was suspicious that here, like in HK, I might get told to stop shooting. So, few pics, but this work should be on the internet somewhere, and this is an exhibition that ought to travel as well.
544. Sample pages showing transformations.
545. A favorite one -- the book as a sardinecan of death.
546. Old brickwork at the ceiling. Without the history, much like the Alter Schlachthof in Dresden.
547. Practical denazification in a time of shortage -- and a severely mangled city iconography.
Museums done, I went outside to see the Große Strasse, the only other remaining element of the gelände. This was also a break out of a weird feeling; the museum in the Kongresshalle was the only one in Nürnberg where I encountered foreign rather than just German tourists. Maybe non-Germans don't get up as early in the mornings, and that was it, but if not, then after a certain point only seeing the Nazi ruins in Nürnberg, rather than also the relics of Dürer and the cliff passages, bleeds over from remembrance into something darker. The NS history of Nürnberg isn't ever going to be erased, and it's an important part of the city's history, but it attains that importance in the context of everything else: without understanding that previous history, the Nazi focus here rather than in München makes little sense. To remember Nürnberg as a place with some old churches and giant decaying Nazi buildings is not only to do the city a disservice, but to fail to really understand what is being allegedly "remembered".
548. Completely occupied by the Volksfest setup. The old saw is that fascism can't survive humor, but I bet it has a hard time with cotton candy and tiltawhirls as well.
549. Entrance to the Volksfest on the Große Strasse.
550. View back to the Congress Hall over the fence.
551. Back by the Hbf, starting an ultimately unsuccessful search for the Tucher biergarten.
552. St. Lorenz over the tour buses.
553. Along the Frauentor-mauer.
554. Pillars of justice: articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights in front of the Deutsches Nationalmuseum.
555. Back along the walls.
556. Block with date at the Frauerntor.
557. Gate above the pillars; backtracking to go home.
It was about 4 PM, but this was after about 7 hours of hard and often hot hiking here and there. My pen was dead, and the camera was running low on power; things have to end at some point, and this was a good enough place, with everything done, and time, with those constraints, to bring the really active portion of this tour to a close. Despite not making it to Summer Breeze -- it ends as it began -- this did become a successful and interesting trip, and it will end as such on Monday morning, providid I don't get stabbed of lose my gear or something between here and the Frankfurt airport. Two hours in, then either go check out the SGE stadium or just sleep out the heat.