Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Nürnberg ( Germany )


A fountain display of married life is not what I expected when I arrived in, to my mind, the most German town in Germany. Well, after Berlin maybe.  And what the fountain depicts is debauchery and hateful strangulation. What a Marriage! Certainly a strange piece of art, yet people flock to it, take pictures. 

Nurnberg is a comfortable, picturesque town, despite the above first impression of the fountain. We arrived here after leaving Heidelberg on August 20, 2015. My bike has a new battery but otherwise is the same 02 GSA I have stored at Stefan Knopf. Carol is riding her '02 F 650 GS and all is well with the bikes and us. 

We are trying to make it to Istanbul this time. After trying for the last few years, this is our final attempt to reach Turkey. Health issues made us abandon the two previous trips. 

But I don’t want to jump the gun; we are starting off our trip to Asia in Nurnberg.

This city is the birthplace of Albrecht Dürer

He was maybe the most famous artist of the German Middle Ages. The “praying hands” is maybe the best known picture that comes to mind. Melencolia is the etching with the mysterious magic square. Durer certainly was an interesting man. Does Nurnberg breed some weirdness into its population? Is the city mysterious itself? To me Nurnberg always had an image of a very typical German place, filled with stately Burgers, yet I have never understood this town. That’s why I had to visit, at least once. Somehow I had a memory of Nurnberg being scary, too Germanic.

Another man that is a mystery to me in Nurnberg is Hans Sachs  He is the main figure in Wagner’s Opera ‘Die Meistersinger’. He was an actual person, not just a made up figure for the sake of an Opera. There really was a man called Hans Sachs who lived in Nurnberg. And he was a Meistersinger, certified by a Guild.

What I could never understand was that a poet, a singer, could be a member of a Guild.  I found it counterproductive to belong to a group of people who were competing artists. Was there no individualism? Was there no free artistic license? The whole guild system was prevalent in Europe in the Middle Ages and knowing this makes me understand now why Durer painted his subjects as he did. 
The Catholic Religion was a monopoly at the time. Roman Catholicism was the only religion anyone was allowed to practice. Until 1517 that is, when Martin Luther started his protest and all was in upheaval. No wonder they called Luther’s new religion Protestantism. 

To me Nurnberg is that time just before and after the Reformation. People in the guild had to bow to their customers, and in the art section that meant Bishops, Cardinals, and the Catholic Church. So it is no wonder Durer painted altars and holy men and Hans Sachs composed songs that were allowed by the Church.

That Hitler had his best parades and propaganda rallies in Nurnberg, that the Allies later had the Nazi trials in Nurnberg, etc. is an indication that this is a Nerve Center of the German people.

I was interested in the time just before and just after 1400 and the most famous people of this time were the two people mentioned above. Not that I wanted to go deeply into the details of Sachs and Durer, but I did want to see Nurnberg. I am glad I stopped over, took a look, got some inkling of what might have been, snooped around.

Christmas would be a great time to go and visit more, I found out Nurnberg has a special Christmas market; they eat special sausages, cookies and celebrate with great beer. I told you, it’s a very, very German town. One day I might spend more than a few days in Nurnberg. Carol and I just took it as our first stop to get used to riding in Europe again.

We are not shoppers and Carol likes history by the teaspoon full, while I use sometimes a shovel to dig up historical facts. I try not to dwell too much on the details of years past. On the other hand, that is what Europe is, a pile of history; people of every tribe trying to find mutual ways to make money and live together. 

Nurnberg is part of Bavaria and has therefore a bit of the Bavarian outlook on life. Hard working folks but also hard partying.

After visiting Nurnberg I am still not certain I can understand in my heart how they could be so supportive of Hitler, be so German during WW ll. 

No comments: