10.16.2010

Nuremberg Castle, Friendly Stranger and B&B Hotels (or why you should double check things with another human).

We managed to find the correct tram and headed towards the old town, our friendly tourist information lady had kindly highlighted the stop closest to the castle for us so we got off. The problem was we thought we were getting off at the main station, we'd forgotten that this particular stop was near, but not at the castle. 

We began walking in the direction we thought best and soon we were a bit lost. Fortunately the old city is surrounded by a ring road and there are large brightly lit maps at various locations throughout. We were at one of these large lit maps trying to figure out where we were when a man came along and offered us his help. We told him we were looking for the castle, and he offered to show us the way as he was headed in that direction.

While we were walking he asked if we were staying at the YOUTH hostel. He automatically became friendly German No. 2. ( and my new best friend).


No. 2 asked if we had heard about the other famous Nuremberg site; the Schöner Brunnen. We said, "no', so he showed us to the main town square where we were presented with a rather large ornamental fountain.

There is a story about the gold ring and the black ring and if you make a wish on the gold ring and don't tell anyone it will come true. If you decide you made a bad wish and want to revoke it, you use the black ring. David and I both made a wish, but the fountain wish rules stipulate that you cannot tell anyone your wish or it won't come true.

So I cannot tell you my wish.

Other than the fountain, the town square, like most in Europe, featured a prominent  church and several restaurants and shops. We went to a restaurant called Alex for some dinner, it was okay, but nothing spectacular. Once we finished eating we set out in the direction of the castle.

Nuremberg Castle   (Where there's castle, there's hill)

The castle, as expected is on the highest point of the city and a bit of an uphill walk to get to. It was very cold and dark by the time we arrived. We were able to go inside the main entrance and wander around a bit, but some areas were closed off and we couldn't go inside any buidings as it was quite late by this point and we had to catch our train at 23:06.  We set out on a brisk pace around the old city ring road headed toward the train station. We were about as far away from it as you could get, but made it to the station in plenty of time, only to find out that our 23:06 train was a 23:06* the * meaning that is was a Sunday train only.

This was quite the predicament, since as I may have mentioned earlier that all the hotel rooms in Nuremberg were booked. We started walking towards the outskirts of town, stopping at one posh looking hotel, that did have a room for a paltry 230 Euros a night. We quickly declined, we just needed a bed, nothing fancy.

The decision was made to keep heading away from the centre of town where we thought we might find something, and something less expensive. We came to a B&B Hotel, which is a chain, not a bed and breakfast.

And this brings us to friendly German No. 3

We go inside B&B which is quite obviously a budget hotel, but is very clean and very new.

No. 3 tells us they have no rooms at all, booked solid. He continues to tell us that he had someone in earlier looking and over the course of the day had called 100 hotels looking for rooms for potential guest. Okay, maybe the 100 is an exageration, but we were quickly getting the point that there was no friggin room at the B&B.

David asked if there was a bus that could take us to Frankfurt. No. Was there anything at all? I asked what nearby town that was on the way to Frankfurt might have a hotel, as we just needed somewhere to sleep and to get back to Frankfurt.

That's when he says, "Well, if you really just need a place to sleep, and aren't concerned with appearances, I might have something for you. Just let me check." No. 3 makes a quick call and then proceeds to tell us he has a room, not yet complete. The hotel has only been open for three weeks. This room has no television, and no cabinets, dressers, etc. Like we care! David says, if it has a rug I'll be happy. So, to make a long story short as they  say, my new hero No. 3 offered us the room for 110 Euros, compete with all you can eat breakfast. Needless to say, we accepted.

On the way back to the train station at 7 am, we noticed a vacant hotel next door and wondered if it was the hotel where Hitler had stayed during the Nazi party rallies. We had seen him greeting adoring Germans in the Nazi film "Triumph of the Will" but we couldn't be sure. It certainly looked like it to both of us. We knew it was closed, and this place certainly was. Later, a quick internet search would reveal that our memories were intact and we were right. This was the 'Hitler Hotel' as we had come to call it.  We read that Hitler preferred to stay here as it was close to the train station and it was an average 'everyman' type of place. Another bit of PR from Hitler.

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