Friday, February 15, 2008
The one about the St Valentines Day vortex of a thousand spiral staircases
I have climbed and decended down so many steps today, my legs still feel like jelly!
I went early into town today and was hoping to go see the Handwerkerhof near the Hauptbahnhof but it's closed until March 14th! humpf!
So I walked right into the centre of town and climbed the steep hill from the Hauptmarkt towards the castle, Der Kaiserburg. On the way I asked a stranger to take my photo twirling the shiny brass ring on the main fountain in the Hauptmarkt - it's supposed to make your wish come true when you turn it three times! It's almost impossible to turn it precisely around three whole times - you more or less just tweak it - so I turned it a few times in the hope that a full three circles were completed and made my wish. I hope to return...is all I wished for :)
On the way I decided to stop at Albrecht Dürer House which is now a monument and museum to the famous painter. It was very interesting there. I really enjoyed this place. The home of Albrecht and his wife is now over 500 years old. It has been painstakingly restored since having half its guts ripped out by a bomb explosion back in WWII. Most of it is still original though except for some of the furnishings of course. The audio tour in English was most helpful and entertaining. Unfortunately, not a lot of the original art of Albrecht Dürer remains in Nürnberg as it is now in fine galleries around the world. I bought a book of his life and work which showed some of the artworks still here and which I saw in his home.
I have yet to see the Hans Sachs sculpture of the Hare, a famous painting by Dürer. Might try to see that tomorrow or next week I think.
The house was 4 floors and all accessed by spiral staircases...most of which are original.
From there I walked around the back of the Kaiserberg Castle and then through one of the ancient tunnels to the main gate into the Castle itself. I purchased a single ticket for the museum and a tour of the well and the tower. The museume was rather interesting except that 99 percent of the descriptions of the equipment was in German without any English translations. That kind of made it a little tough but I am glad of my rudimentary German language lessons as it did help a lot with deciphering some of the artifact information cards.
It was a little surreal walking around the floors in this museum and noting all the old armour and weaponry from the late 15th century. I rather felt like I was sliding into a Age of Empires simulation - at least thats kind of what it felt like anyway.
Oh and btw... armour is small! Those images we have of big burly blokes on giant horses seems rather silly having seen the real thing. Most of todays blokes wouldn't have a hope of fitting inside this armour! Even bat would be hard pressed to comfortably fit inside it - and he is slightly built compared to a goodly proportion of the germanic male population! ;)
I did rather like how the stupidity of mankind attempts to lure beauty from the bloody instruments of war. The irony of a beautifully handcrafted and engraved blade which very well may have been thrust into many fleshy human sides of heretics and heathens! Who knows?
Again I seemed to encounter endless stairs in this building. Climbing up or down in circles was beginning to take its toll already and it was only 1pm!
The Kaiserberg in Nürnberg is on the highest point of the city and as such is rather steep. So not only does one have to negotiate lots of steps, one has to negotiate the slopes of cobblestones pathways outside.
I took the wee tour of the deep well which once supplied the castle and outer surrounds with fresh drinking water. The tour guide lady let down the candlelit chandelier into the heart of the murky depths. It took an age to descend. Then she poured some water from a jug and a full 5 seconds passed before we could hear the splosh in the water below. Amazing.
The tour up the tower we did ourselves. A couple from Portugal and myself. Once we were let in, the tourguide bid us "Bis Bald" and we entered the door to ascend the 138+ steps to the viewing platform at the top of the ancient castle tower.
Typically, with my luck being such that it is, the sky was heavily clouded and foggy today over Nürnberg. The bright rather warmish sunny days of the past week were well forgotten today with the air being very fresh indeed. There had even been a fine dusting of snow on the cars as I'd walked to the Shoppershof U-Bahn station that morning!
I took a lot of disappointing photos of the rooftops of Nbg from the tower ramparts. Disappointing only in that visibility was so much lower today than it had been thus far in my trip.
Next stop was Fembomuseum. I hadn't anticipated doing this tour but seeing as I had a ticket from Albrecht-Dürer that could be shared between a few of the main museums in the town, I took advantage and went on in. This amazing house from the very wealthy family Fembo has stood for about 500 years as well. It was large and ornate and you could feel the opulence and wealth present in the detailed ceiling paintings and stucco. Some of the info panels had English translations which also helped a lot with absorbing the history. I loved how the wooden floors creaked under my feet, original and still highly polished but ancient beyond belief really! :)
I was going to head back towards the main shopping precinct for my lunch when I stumbled by accident on the Spielzeugmuseum. My ticket from earlier in the day also covered this tour so I again took advantage. Nürnberg has become synonymous with the toy trade since the early years of the 20th century. It's reputation as a crafts and trading city has cemented it as a central place for all things toy related in recent years. The Spielzeugmuseum celebrates with colour, light and entertaining delight, the world of toys. Toys, ancient and new are displayed here for all ages to remember, to marvel at and enjoy.
I was pretty much in sensory overload by now though, so I'm hoping to go back with bat tomorrow and really absorb this museum properly once more. The history here is superb - from Teddy's to Meccano and everything in between! :)
Yet again, I was immersed in a world of vortex like spiral staircases. I think I've climbed somewhere in the vacinity of 1000 steps today, the majority of which were in circles! I am still dizzy!
I staggered rather than walked to the U-Bahn at Lorenzplatz and caught the train to Hauptbahnhof - grabbed the U2 to Shoppershof and breathed a prayer of thanks, I'd not gone shopping mad or I'd have been not only dead on my feet, but weighed down by purchases as well.
Its always best to travel light when one climbs spiral staircases all day.
Posted by michelle p at 8:10 am