The train from Munich to Nuremberg was short but the views were beautiful. Traveling along the sunny rolling hills of the Rhine Valley felt like watching a moving postcard changing before my eyes. Nuremberg could not have been more different from Munich – yet each was beautiful and interesting in their own way. Munich was modern and bustling, while Nuremberg was older and more cobblestone-clad. The first day we visited the Memorium Nurnberg Trials, which is a museum housed in the Nuremberg Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg Trials were held. Courtroom 600 is where the trials took place that criminalized the actions of the Nazis. It was interesting to learn details about the case and I found feelings of pride evoked when reading that the U.S. was one of the main proponents of holding a trial in the first place. Other countries, who wanted to automatically sentence the Nazis to death, would have been perpetuating the same unjust practices as those they were punishing. Holding a trial was the dignified and just avenue to pursue. That evening we visited the Hausbrauerie Alstadthof where we took an incredible tour of an underground rock-cut cellar which was built centuries ago to make and store beer, but acted as a shelter for the people of Nuremberg during the air attacks of World War II. In the tavern above we sampled several of their special beers and delicious fares. Huge, soft pretzels act as the equivalent of dinner rolls on restaurant tables in Germany, a practice I would be more than happy to see adopted in the U.S. Huge matzo-ball looking dumplings are often accompaniments to a main course in Germany, and meats are heavy and rich. The small glass of port wine we were served at the end though had a tricky way of making me feel like it erased all of the caloric wrongs I consumed during dinner.
The next day we visited the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which is a museum that was built in the unfinished remains of the Congress Hall of the former Nazi party rallies. This museum astounded me because I really didn’t know what the rally grounds were before visiting it. I had always thought of it as a large plaza where parades were held and speeches made, but the rally grounds were actually enormous, covering 11 square kilometers and comprised of several buildings. It was a physical embodiment of the large-scale plans the Nazis had for Germany and was quite eerie to be there.