Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Visual Feast in Nuremberg and soccer in Augsburg

From Ingolstadt I took a train north to Nuremberg for the night and half of the next day.  I checked in at the Hotel Sanc Lorenz around 8pm and dropped my gear in the room.  The room was small and cheap and included a free breakfast so it was fine with me.  Good central location too.

I headed out to see what nightlife there was and it turns out that Nuremberg was having its fall festival called "Altstadtfest."  A lot of people were gathered in the main square and the was lots of beer to be had at the beer garden.  So I sat down with some Germans and had a couple beers and a walnut schnapps (interesting but not something most people would enjoy I think). Everything closed down at 11:30pm and I went back to the  hotel.  The lighting wasn't good so I don't have pictures from that night.  But I went back the next morning to get pictures of where I had been.

This whole area was filled with people inside and outside and lots of people standing around with loud German pop music.  Beers were much cheaper than I would find at Oktoberfest as well.

Sanc Lorenz Church just a few hundred feet from my hotel.

As I walked around in the morning, people were setting up for business for the day.  The streets were filled with stands selling fruit, cheese, flower, meat, and Nuremberg's famous Lebkuchen (kind of like gingerbread and heart-shaped).  Nuremberg was a really interesting city.  I found out later that they had been 60% bombed out by the end of WWII but they certainly did a good job of rebuilding.  Here are some of the pictures that I took on my morning walk up towards the Imperial castle on the hill.

The next few pictures are of the stands people set up for Altstadtfest in the Hauptmarktplatz (main central plaza in front of City Hall).

North of the plaza I continued towards the castle and saw a beautiful mural.

On the left in this picture is another large church.

German's love putting flowers everywhere.

Now at the base of the castle, I looked back down the street I just walked up.

On to the castle...

There were good views of Nuremberg and the surrounding countryside from up here.

Just to prove I was actually there...

Next, I went into the inner castle.

Definitely don't let this door hit you on the way out.

I walked back towards the hotel and went back past the Hauptmarktplatz and got a picture of the elaborate cover over a well there.

Then I went back to the hotel to grab my stuff, went and bought some traditional clothing (trachten) for Oktoberfest, and took the train towards Augsburg to meet my roommate Doug.  The train was full of Germans heading to Oktoberfest.  They were singing and playing music and drinking beer. I didn't partake but lets just say that all of the partyin made ride pretty interesting.  I still took some pictures of the countryside and  lots of solar farms along the way...

From the landscape, I can understand why a lot of Germans settled in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  I think they look a lot like Germany and vice versa.

And of course, I saw lots of "kleingartens" or small gardens that people setup along the railroad tracks.  The land is actually owned by the railroad but they let people garden on it until they need to use it.  For those of you who know me well, you probably suspect that I really wanted to get pictures of all of the sheds.

Those blue objects are rain barrels.

I met up with Doug at the Augsburg train station where soccer hooligans were already starting to gather and chant since the game was going to start in two hours or so.  We checked into the hotel, bought our soccer tickets and a couple of Augsburg team scarfs, and took the 20 minute tram ride to the stadium.  Notice again how many German's ride bikes, even to the soccer game!

The game was awesome! We bought seats in the second row behind one of the goals.  Enjoy this visual feast!  I even took some video so you can have the virtual German soccer game experience!

Augsburg is new to the top league of German soccer and so the seats were pretty cheap.  They were playing Hanover 96 who is well established.  As with most European soccer games, the opposing team's fans have a large wall built around their section to keep the most rabid fans separated.  I saw this a couple games when I was in Italy too.

Shortly before the game started, the Hanover fans light off some flares and were then given a warning over the P.A. system to put them out.

Soccer fans can be pretty nuts. I have a couple videos below and you'll hear in the background that the fans are singing cheers and waving giant flags.  They sing and cheer and waive their flags for the entire 90 minute game.

The game was really good even though it ended in a 0-0 tie. We spent the rest of the evening wandering around Augsburg and found something to eat in what looked like a traditional German bar.  We kept seeing lots of Italian restaurants so we were looking for something more German.  It turned out that the bartender there was born in England, his family was from Sicily, and had been living in Augsburg for the last 20 years.  His English was very good and so was the schnitzel and beer.  Both of us were exhausted so we went to sleep early since we knew we needed to be rested for Munich and Oktoberfest.  That's all for now.  Coming up in the next post, I'll cover my time in Munich.  The post after that will wrap up the trip with Erlangen. Thanks for reading!

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