It’s been a few days now since I wrote my last blog post, and to be honest, writing my blogs has now become a little sad. The end of my year abroad is almost here and with every blog post I write the end just seems that little bit closer every time. Since writing my last post, my parents have visited me in Dresden and I’ve visited two new cities.
Pirna, another city situated alongside the Elbe river and #30 on my list, is one of the smallest German cities I’ve visited. And considering I needed little less than one hour to walk around and see everything, Pirna was a little underwhelming, to say the least. This city does, however, offer an admirable insight into German traditionalism – both in the form of architecture and sentiment. Pirna is simultaneously historical and dainty, yet all the while disappointing. The 31st city on my list is the city of Nuremberg, located two hours north of Munich in Germany’s largest region: Bavaria. It’s actually rather crazy to think that I’ve now surpassed 30 new places – what an achievement. A top of Nuremberg lays an outdated castle which overlooks the unfolding city below. And whilst the walk up to the top of the castle was less of a walk and more of a trek, due to my lugging a suitcase behind me for the entire day, the castle provides worthy views across the city. Additionally, this city is frankly the most patriotic German city I’ve visited thus far. Rather funny isn’t it? Considering I’ve now been living in Germany for more than 9 months and I’ve only seen German flags in two cities: Berlin and Nuremberg.Whilst almost every city I’ve visited since living in Germany seems to be very traditionally German, Nuremberg was undoubtedly the most superior in this sense. Before visiting Nuremberg, I’d already heard a great deal about this city’s conventional demeanour and after visiting, I’d have to agree. To put it rather shortly, Nuremberg is rustically quaint – likewise, incredibly charismatic.Nuremberg is also an incredibly crucial city when considering German history – more specifically, Nazism and the rise of Hitler. As a part of Hitler’s propaganda strategies, large public rallies were held between 1933 and 1938 in Nuremberg as a means of retaining political power. The large open space in Nuremberg attracted the attention of Hitler. Thus, Nuremberg became one of the most important cities in Germany in regards to Nazi propaganda and Hitler’s political ascent. The venue where the rallies were once held and which attracted hundreds and thousands of Nazi supporters is now a large area of parkland. To some extent, it feels almost as if even Nature desires to erase, or at least cover up, this part of history.
The history of the Second World War is to almost everyone’s knowledge – even more so the name of the infamous Nazi leader. And what I’ve learned since living in Germany and since visiting Nuremberg is that the history taught in schools still seems worryingly fictitious to the modern mind. Having stood in the exact same place as Hitler once stood as he conducted the Nuremberg rallies, there’s a complete feeling of distance and separation, sadly. To be standing in the same place that a leader behind some of the world’s most harrowing history once did feels strange yet also incomprehensible. The ironically attractive parkland and lake that now locate the former rally grounds detract from the true extent of what once happened on this ground – so much so, if I’d simply stumbled across it, I’d have been none the wiser. Seems almost bizarre to think that next to this beautiful place one of the world’s most terrorising leaders held propaganda rallies, right?
After visiting the informing and historical city of Nuremberg, I headed further south to Munich to spend the weekend catching up with some of my friends from Uni in England, and if you haven’t already read my blog about Munich you can read it here.I’ve now visited 31 different places and it looks like I need to expand my goal even further. Even though the end of my year abroad is fast approaching – only 12 days left – I think I’m pretty sure I can squeeze in another few places. Let’s see if I can make 35.
31 down and 4 more to go.