2012 Danube River Cruise
Germany, Germany (Deutschland), officially the Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in west-central Europe. Germany is in Western and Central Europe, with Denmark bordering to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France and Luxembourg to the southwest, and Belgium and the Netherlands to the northwest. The country consists of 16 states, and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 81.8 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is one of the major political and economic powers of the European continent and a historic leader in many theoretical and technical fields. (Wikipedia)
Our first stop in Germany, or more properly, Bavaria, the old town of Regansburg. It began as a Roman fortress around 179AD and for many years, at least until the late 15th century, it was an important and wealthy trading centre.
✧ the sights of Regansburg, move your mouse across the smaller images, F11 = full screen mode on/off (gallery thumbnail hover info) ✧
What is this??? The Continental Divide is not an interesting town or city, why include it? I included it because, well, it's interesting for its own sake. As elevation goes, technically, on the right side of the marker the water would flow South, on the left side of the marker the water would flow North. That is if the water could flow but as this is a canal and we are between locks the water doesn't flow, how could it... First plans were developed in 1938 and by 1966 the canal was almost at Bavaria. The last section, 34km, was completed in 1992. From 1960 to 1992 the investment was around 2.3 billion euros. An engineering feat of imagination and construction. For the nautically minded, the location of the continental divide that we "crossed" on the Amacerto is N49°11'7.16 / E11°17'24.23.
✧ in the distance ✧ Continental Divide ✧ GoogleEarth view
We were about an hour late getting into Nuremburg as the canal and locks were busy so our tour time was abbreviated - too bad really. We split up tours,
Heather & Hilda took the Old Town tour while Denis & I took the WWII tour to see some of remainders, perhaps one should say reminders, of the Nazi period. Our guide was a 30s
something history major who did tours to make ends meet. His style was quite open and frank and he had a wicked sense of humour and irony as he was most definitely a proud German and an anti-Nazi. We managed to see some of the "grand" Nazi places. Almost all buildings from the Nazi (National Socialist) period are either gone or in a decrepit state, result of the combined efforts of time, nature and German nation. This stadium was patterned after the Roman colosseum, only built to be larger, 1½ times larger, but it was never finished... On the inside the walls are revealed - not marble as seen from the outside but a thin layer of marble over brick, a facade.
This is Zeppelin Field, or rather what's left of it. Once massive both in size and spectacle it is now reduced to visiting tourists and athletes running up and down the stairs. Another Nazi creation designed to be bigger than other similar fields, it could hold up to 100,000 of the party faithful or soldiers on the grounds and 60,000 more in the stands. I have searched for images from its infamous past and it is difficult to balance what the photos display, massive crowds, multiple searchlights, and then stand in front of what is left today. Like the colosseum, which is located just adjacent, this structure was also a facade, marble over brick.
As we left Zeppelin stadium area enroute to the Nuremburg courts, our guide spoke of his views on Germany past and present. He is a member of a group of citizens whose aim is to track what happens to Nazi era buildings and facilities and told us one of his "favourite" stories. He began with a question. "Can you imagine how much electricity was required to power the 100+ searchlights? A special building was created to hold massive transformers and wiring. Our guide was concerned that (some years ago) there was a political decision to destroy the building. After all, the majority of Nazi facilities were already destroyed as many citizens did not want any reminders/remainders of the the Nazi era. Along with others, he campaigned to have the building saved as there were so few structures still intact. He was at first disappointed to learn that the building was instead sold to a private company for commercial purposes. Later, with friends discussing the situation at a local beerhall, he changed his attitude and was in fact more than pleased. Since 2006 the building has been home to a BurgerKing fast food restaurant. Our guide finished his story with; "Yes, the former Nazi power station is now producing HAMburgers!" - emphasis mine, irony his.
Sometimes you're just lucky or perhaps the stars are aligned. When the idea for this rivercruise first was considered and the route was studied, I decided that I wanted to do the Nuremburg tour as it included a visit to the very building where the Nuremburg trials were conducted following WWII. The brochure further stated that often, when court wasn't in session, the tours managed to enter courtroom 600 - the very courtroom! Turns out on our visiting day the courtroom was in use but because of our earlier mentioned late arrival, court was done for the day and we were able to visit and even sit on the visitor benches - fantastic. Our guide was in his element. He had a true sense of history and pointed to where the defence counsel sat, the state counsel, the accused such as Goering, and even where American journalist Walter Cronkite had sat in the visitor gallery. On the bus ride downtown he also provided a detailed account of many of the trials and events. I gave him an A+ and 5€.
The interior of the courtroom of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946 during the Trial of the Major War Criminals, prosecuting 24 government and civilian leaders of Nazi Germany.
✧ the sights of Nuremburg, move your mouse across the smaller images, F11 = full screen mode on/off (gallery thumbnail hover info) ✧
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✧ Photos contributed by Denis, Heather and Phil ✧
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✧ This site was last updated: January 10, 2013 ✧