Delft to Nuremberg, Germany; The Honeymoon Suite; I am sick; Autobahn driving adventures; Meeting up with Captain Mike despite temporary logistical difficulties; The Nazi Party Rally Grounds Documentation Centre

The last day of September was also the last day of our train pass. We’ve been relying on it so heavily it’s going to be a shock to pay for travel again. It was like magic - the controller came around, you waved this little piece of paper at him and he went away, it was beautiful. If we’d had to pay full prices for it I wouldn’t be quite so enchanted - ours would have cost $1500. It would still have paid for itself, since by my reckoning we’ve used probably $3000 worth of train tickets, but with Sheryl’s travel agent discount of 75% it’s a pretty sweet deal. I’ll miss it very much. We’d decided that the best thing we could do with our last day of travel would be to get as far south in Germany as possible and then work our way back to Paris using buses. We were thinking of Munich, but we couldn’t find anywhere to stay in the entire city - the whole place was booked solid. On a hunch we checked the dates of Oktoberfest and sure enough, it was still on. You couldn’t pay me enough money to set foot in Munich during Oktoberfest, so we went to Nuremberg instead.

Nuremberg, of course, is the site of the infamous Nazi party rallies of the 1930s, the filming location of Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, and the source of the laws that enabled the Holocaust. We arrived in late evening after spending the whole day on trains. The closest hostel to the train station had only a double room available, but in a fit of insanity we took it for the night. $80 for a room in a hostel, oy vay. It was a cute room, though. It was called the Honeymoon Suite and had nice paint and bead curtains hanging from the ceiling all around the beds.

Otherwise the hostel was fine, though very noisy. Too little space for too many people, including one old man we unaffectionately dubbed Rain Man for his loud, nasal, strangely robotic voice. I don’t think he stopped talking once the entire time we were there. I had him pegged as a permanent resident - one of those hard-luck cases - but it turned out that I was wrong. We nearly got stuck in a dorm with him on our third night and only managed to avoid it by paying for a more expensive room again. Well worth the €2 each, says I.

My cold was in full swing the next day, and so I wasn’t up for very much. We took a quiet day and only did some errands and such. Our friend Mike was in Germany, near to us in Nuremberg - or at least somewhat close, about 60km away at an army base between Nuremberg and Regensburg - and he had a care package from our friend Nicola back home. He also said he would take my stupid computer back with him. That’s a huge weight off my back - literally, the thing is heavy and I’ve been wanting to send it home for ages, but it would have cost €200 to ship it by courier. We rented a car and drove it out to the base. Sheryl was in love with the autobahn - she got up to 175kph before I had to talk her down from her mad speed-induced rush of power. After an hour of what Mike referred to as temporary logistical difficulties (we couldn’t reach him for awhile so we got to know the German gate guards) we met up with him and made the exchange. Nic had sent my special non-allergenic toothpaste (don’t ask), and peanut butter, which we’ve been dying for for ages, and even better, yellow mustard! We’ve been dying for that since before we left home. All you can get in Europe is Dijon mustard. It may be classier but it tastes like dirty socks to me. I love my white-trash French’s mustard. Mike added something to the package himself which is top-secret and I’m not supposed to talk about it (in fact I think I have to eat it if I’m captured) but I can say that it will be very useful in Africa and might just save our lives. Thanks a million to both of you - you guys are the very best and we love you.

We’d kicked around the idea of keeping the rental car for longer, and we decided i would be worth it to keep it for another six days. it was €230 for the rental and (we reckoned) about €120 for gas. That’s €350 in total (about CAD$525). It sounds like a lot, but a car is transport and accommodation. Six nights of hostels would be about €215, and two train tickets each would be about €240. If we were to sleep in the car, we reasoned, we’d be able to see a bit more and actually come out ahead by €100 or so. Sleeping in the car wouldn’t be any fun, but we’d manage.

Our last day in Nuremberg we went to the Documentation Centre of the Nazi party Rally Grounds. It’s a museum that exhaustively documents the history of the party rallies, with a lot of attention paid to their context and the role of Nuremberg itself. It was an extremely well-done exhibit. There was a lot of fascinating material presented - almost too much, but it was so well curated that each piece led into the next thematically and chronologically. I understand a lot more now about Hitler’s rise to power. I was always unclear on that part of history, and never quite understood how a single man could rise to absolute dictatorship. After seeing the exhibits it’s more clear to me. When we left we were very surprised to find that we’d been in there for nearly five hours. No wonder we felt hungry, thirsty and tired - not to mention feeling battered and overwhelmed by all the information we’d had to digest.


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Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
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