This has been a rather odd start to the year — for one, it’s the first time I’ve lived abroad in winter, but beyond that my trips have come rather unexpectedly quickly and furiously. Somehow, a trip to another German city was snuck into the itinerary, though only thanks to a visiting college friend who found time during his work trip to meet me in Nürnberg. Unfortunately, we were about a month late to make it in time to see the Christkindlmärkte, so we decided to check out the museums instead.
Perhaps the most intriguing for me was the Deutsche Bahn Museum, which the hotel reception happily described as her favorite place to take her toddlers because they could be kept busy for hours. I’m certainly a fair bit older than her toddlers, but seeing extremely intricate model trains and renovated engines was fascinating just the same.
The Kaiserburg Nürnberg was also a stop on a stroll through the old city. It is a little less claustrophobic than Neuschwanstein, owing largely to the number of visitors crammed into each tour there. The tower affords decent views over the city, which though far larger than Kempten still seemed small in terms of its sprawl. Inside, the spiral staircase was also surprisingly open.
Alongside the DB Museum is the Museum of Communication. There, the progression of human-to-human communication was explained and detailed; there were several pieces of abstract art, one depicting fiber optics crossing the Atlantic floor. I was also impressed at a typesetter used to type Chinese characters — I don’t know if I could type without looking at this “keyboard!”
Both the Albrecht Durer House and the Documentation Center at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds were also interesting — the latter particularly so — but I wasn’t able to satisfactorily capture the essence of either place. But perhaps for a weekend of catching up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in almost five years, not having my face pressed against a camera back is arguably better!
A few weeks after the Nürnberg trip, I had a Friday off and took advantage of the weather to wander and hike around some of the deep Allgäu, even setting foot briefly in Austria (Jungholz is only accessible by road from Germany, even though it is part of Austria). On the following Saturday evening, the sky looked promising for sunset but ended up being somewhat lame, nothing like the Munich sunset six weeks prior. What is perhaps most jarring about the photograph is the dearth of snow: in deep winter, the ground, or at minimum the mountains, should be covered in snow, wearing a blanket of white that lures even work-addicts away from their desks to strap into their skis. Through most of this winter, this simply has not been the case.
The Oberjoch region was a little better, at least having some snow at higher elevations.
Until this point, without too much deliberate planning I somehow explored more of the area around me — something I didn’t really achieve last year. Nürnberg is in the free state of Bavaria and Oberjoch and has been calling my name for months, so I’m glad I finally was able to visit both places. Shaking hands with my Bavarian neighbors would be short-lived, however; the next three weeks were a whirlwind return to travel across borders. It’s at times surprising to me that the slogan “Never stop exploring™” comes from an American company. It’s more apt in some senses for the seemingly endless possibilities to delve into other cultures and regions in Europe!