Wednesday, November 29
Mom, Angela, Chris, the girls and I flew to Munich on November 27. Mom had wanted to go back to Germany this fall and told Dad before he died that she was going. After he passed away, she decided that the whole family should return again as we had all been there for their 50th wedding anniversary. From Munich, we rented a very large Mercedes and drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where we met friends who used to live in North Carolina.
Our first stop in Rothenburg was lunch. We decided on an Italian place – it was close, it was convenient, and it had a bathroom. The pizza was delicious. After touring the sites of Rothenburg, we drove to Nuremberg and checked into our apartment for the week. That night, she, Chris and I went to the Bratwursthäusle. Mom and I had eaten there with Dad five years ago — they have been making Nuremberg style Bratwurst there for hundreds of years. It was bustling – a German guy asked if he could sit with us and we said yes. We enjoyed talking with him, and mom wishes we would have gotten a picture.
Thursday, November 30
I think my sister Angela captured today pretty well in her Facebook post:
What a great day exploring Nürnberg! We took the train to the Dokumentations-Zentrum, the site Adolf Hitler initiated to be built in 1933 for the National Socialists Party rallies. This gigantic building project included a Congress Hall designed to provide space for 50,000 people. It was never finished but now houses the permanent exhibition called “Fascination and Terror.” It deals with the causes, contexts, and consequences of the Nazi tyranny and the history of the Nazi Party Rallies held here.
We then took the bus to Nürnberg’s Imperial Castle where we able to tour the chapel, the hall of judgement, the sitting room, the Knights Hall, and their museum. My favorite part was the Deep Well, a shift going down nearly 50 meters into the castle rock. The guide illustrates its depth by candles in the middle descending all the way down as we watched.
We enjoyed dinner at Augustiner Zur Schranke and especially loved our walk home through old town Nürnberg as the city prepares for Christmas Markets to open tomorrow night. The lights are so beautiful in the city’s streets and along the river. Couldn’t go home without a Gluwein and a trip to the bakery before settling into our favorite spot in the apartment…the kitchen table.
Friday, December 1
My sister has done such a good job, I’m going to let her continue the narrative:
What a special day. We started with a little shopping in Nürnberg…Mom even found the Euro ($1) store. Then we visited St. Lorenz, a church that has been a place of prayer and a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over 750 years. It is awesome in beauty and Glory. It uniquely unites art, theology, and piety.
The oldest work of art there is “The Beautiful Madonna” from around 1280. There were so many stunning altars and sculptures in this church dating back to to the 1400’s depicting The Last Supper, the Passion of Christ, Mary and her mother, among many many others. Also so meaningful was St Lorenz’s Advent Wreath, symbolizing this season of anticipation for the birth of Christ.
On our walk home we enjoyed a little food from vendors on the street opening for the Christmas Market. Nürnberg is famous for its Nürenberger, small roasted bratwursts. Catherine loves them!
In the afternoon we drove to Heidelberg, a town very special to us as it is where Mom and Dad lived when they were first married and he was serving in the Army. We have been here before (Mom, Dad, and Frank several times and my family joining them 3 years ago). But today was our first time here since Daddy passed away.
We had dinner with Horst and Inge Ludwig at Restaurant Makedonija – the same restaurant we visited with them on Mom and Dads 50th wedding anniversary. Mom and Dad lived in an attic apartment of Inge’s parents home in Heidelberg when Inge was a teenager. She is very special to our family. A few tears were shed and lots of laughs tonight. Dinner was amazing, especially the Slivovitz mit birnenlikoer we enjoyed at the end. Cheers!
We were back to Nürnberg in time to see some of the Christkindle Market lights before it closed for the night. So gorgeous!
Saturday, December 1
Continuing with Angela’s account of the week (I helped.):
This morning we drove to Bad Windsheim, Germany to meet our cousins Hilde and Fritz Saemann (mother and son) and our friends Gertraud and Friedrich Nöth. We explored Fränkisches Freilandmuseum, one of the most beautiful and interesting places I’ve ever been.
In the late 1970s the museum was constructed by moving historical homes and buildings from all over southern Germany to this place. Stone by stone, brick by brick, and timber by timber everything was labeled and numbered as it was taken apart and then put back together here exactly as it was in its homeplace. There are over 100 structures.. houses, barns, a church, and mills completely in tact as they were from as early as 1599. There were details in every building about its history and significance in all types of German life… from farming to upper class hunting country homes to wine barrel making and breweries.
There were ladies in one house making traditional German baked goods and Glühwein. And there was a shepherd with his border collies showing us how his dogs herded the flock of sheep. There was even a painting in one room with the words from our family blessing on it in German. It’s the prayer everyone in Grandma Paschall’s family says before a meal, ” Come Lord Jesus and be our Guest, and let this food to us be Blessed”. The houses were incredible and the landscape completely stunning.
Leaving Bad Windsheim we drove to Weigenheim, the village where Mom’s grandfather’s family came from and lived before he came to America in 1884. Hilde, Gertraud and Friedrich still live there. It is a village of only around 400 people. We have been here and explored before, seeing the church our family attended and houses they lived in.
This afternoon we enjoyed Hilda’s homemade apple desserts and other baked goods, coffee, and tea. Carrie and Catherine couldn’t come here again without visiting their horses, Sally, Danny, and Xena. It’s incredible to be able to see your family heritage in real time – to walk the streets your great-grandfather and his grandparents walked and to spend hours with family who live thousands of miles away.
We had lunch at the restaurant there on the grounds. We also went into an exhibit that highlighted the history of German schools from the 1940s to the 1970s. This amazing place continues to grow and as one or two more structures are added every couple of years.
We drove back to Nürnberg for a night at the Christmas Market. It was so much fun and so many people! We had Nürnberg Brats again at Behringer’s Bratwursthäusle who’s been serving these famous brats since 1313. We couldn’t miss making a wish at the Schöner Brunnen fountain in the main square… famous for making wishes come true by turning its golden ring. We each took a turn!
Before heading home we stopped at the famous Feuerzangenbowle, the world’s largest punch bowl. A gorgeous day and evening and beautiful weather!
Sunday, December 2
On Sunday, we decided to enjoy the Nürnberg Christmas markets and do some shopping before we headed to Munich. It was much less crowded than it had been on Saturday night, and much more enjoyable.Nürnberg.
Leaving our apartment in Nürnberg today heading to Munich before flying home tomorrow. Had to get more Nürnberger brats, see the Heilig Geist Hospital – considered the largest “bridge” in Nürnberg and Schuldturn Tower built in 1323 as part of the Old City Wall and later it served as a debtor’s prison. We walked through the Christmas Market, Carrie and I rode the 2 story carousel, we enjoyed a little Starbucks, Carrie said goodbye to the geese in the river, and we saw the accordian playing Santa! And Chris and Frank got one more Feuerzangenbowle.
As we were flying out from Munich on Monday morning, we decided to stay by the airport Sunday night. But first, we stopped by the Munich Christmas Markets for a bit before having dinner at the Hofbrauhaus.