The WRC Nürnberg Rally
Greetings from the ancient capital of Germany. We successfully negotiated our way out of Brussels via the public transport system. We eventually managed to ride on every type of transport available - taxi, underground, bus, tram, train - and boat. We needed to get full value for money out of our tickets!
I had booked a ticket in advance via the useful DB website to Frankfurt via a combination of 4 slow(ish) trains - saving a lot of money over the faster express. All this worked very well - we found our connections easily and everything was running on time. The last train ran down the Rhine valley past the Lorelei Rocks which provided excellent boat and castle spotting opportunities. The same website was offering hotel accommodation and I had reserved a business type hotel in Frankfurt for €47.00 - thinking that that was as cheap as we would be able to find by trudging around the city. As it happened the reason the hotel was so cheap was because it was sited right in the middle of a pretty sleazy red light district. The hotel was OK though with very helpful staff and was very comfortable.
We had a walk into the centre of the city which has a very modern skyline - like a sort of mini Hong Kong. Most German cities were destroyed during the war and so have had to be rebuilt. In Frankfurt it seems that they originally built modern high rise buildings, and then as an afterthought decided to reconstruct the medieval centre. It looks a bit incongruous but you do have to look very closely to see that the 'old' buildings are actually newer than 'new' ones. The other big attraction of course is the River Main were we sat and ate 'vegetarian' doner kebabs and drank beer while watching the barges heading upriver (anybody beginning to notice a theme to this part of the trip?). Afterwards we headed into the much nicer district south of the river, in search of the famous Apfelwein which is reputedly sold here. After several kilometres we found a bar and sampled what was a cross between cider and wine - quite pleasant sort of dry and sweet at the same time. We would have been happy to stay for more until a local seemed to 'die' in the toilet which caused us to run outside gasping for air!!
Later that evening while I was out searching for a late night aperitif, Anne was reading through a leaflet giving details of local museums. She was exited to find that there was a museum dedicated to to a book she had as a child called Strewwelpeter, by a local writer called Heinrich Hoffmann. We got the U-Bahn out to it the next day where I discovered the hidden psychological reasons behind her fear of frizzy hair and long fingernails. Very enlightening, the book seems to be a method of scaring children into behaving correctly at mealtimes, with matches, with people of other races etc. As it was written in 1844 it is a little bit 'incorrect' in places but it certainly worked on Anne and I think it should be more widely available. The museum was very well laid out and staff were very friendly - highly recommended. I personally had never heard of this book - has anyone else? We bought a copy to send to Leah so that she can scare her children with it.
Back on the trains we headed off to Nürnberg. A very helpful chap at the station showed us how to buy an €69.00 ticket for €37.50 by buying a combination of regional tickets and day passes (the latter is the BayernKarte and will allow up to 5 people to go anywhere in Bavaria for €25.00 a day - an excellent deal). Here in Nürnberg we had no accommodation booked and so I was delegated to search the area near the station for cheap hotels. The best I could get was one night in a room with no shower for €50.00 - more than we paid the previous night - it wasn't in the red light district though. We are going to stay here for two days and so have subsequently found another cheap place which we will be moving to later today.
Nürnberg is the place where the Nazi rallies were held in the 30's and also the show trials after the war. The city itself was almost completely destroyed but has been rebuilt mostly as it was. It is very picturesque. We wandered the streets looking for food and eventually found a restaurant serving the biggest pizzas in the world!!! - we had one each as we were pretty hungry.