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Where the brave and wise may live forever.

About ten minutes from my office, in the hills of Donaustauf overlooking the Donau (Danube) river, is a monument called Walhalla.  (In German, this is pronounced just like Valhalla in English.)   Walhalla is modeled after the Parthenon in Athens.  It was built in the 1800s by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. (Well, it was built by people who built things on the orders of King Ludwig I, but I think he still gets credit.)

Whereas the Valhalla of legend is the home to deceased warriors only, this Walhalla also has busts of royalty, musicians, artists, scientists, and philosophers.  Here’s a short list of people memorialized in Walhalla that you  might have heard of:

  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Nicolaus Copernicus
  • Johannes Kepler
  • Albrecht Dürer
  • Georg Friedrich Händl
  • Richard Wagner
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Albert Einstein

…and that’s just eight of the nearly two hundred plaques and busts within the main hall.

Best of all, though, is the view.  Walhalla has an amazing perch.   This is a place where amazing photographs can be taken.  I’m told that in the warmer months, it’s not uncommon to find people sitting on the steps, having picnics, and generally enjoying the hell out of overlooking the Donau.  I took a few pictures on a recent visit there, and despite the small amounts of restorative construction going on, it’s still amazing.  I look forward to going back there after we’re in proper springtime and there’s more sunlight and greenery.  Here’s a brief look at the place.

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Back to Nürnberg, Part Two

After I was done at Doku-Zentrum, I took the tram back toward the Bahnhof, and from there I met Heather from “Heather Goes Deutsch”  for lunch and some hang time.  Heather lives in Nuremberg and teaches English there.

I’ve noticed a trend among other Americans that I’ve run into here. We tend to be in one of three categories:  Technology workers, Teachers,  and Students.  (Although there are a huge amount of American troops here in Germany, I’m not counting the military folk because they’re not necessarily in Germany by choice, and many of them tend to have short term assignments here before getting deployed elsewhere.)

Ah, but I digress.  I was talking about Nuremberg.  Heather went to lunch.  On the walk there, we saw some preaching Christians.  They were much louder and more preachey than the Mormons from my previous visit.

Heather and I ate at Alex, which is a chain-  I’ve eaten in the Regensburg location as well as the Nuremberg one.  Alex feels a bit like TGI Fridays or Applebees back home.   It overlooks a large courtyard which was filled with a green market at the time.

After lunch, it was time for a walk up a very steep hill to see the castle that I missed last time I was in town.  It was tall and castley.  Heather warned me about the hill, but it was much steeper to get all the way up than I expected.  (The journey back down looked like it would have been a lot of fun on roller blades.  Until you broke your neck, that is.)

Here is a rare photograph where I’m in front of the camera instead of behind it:

The castle ramparts were sufficiently high up that the view was pretty spectacular looking over the town.  Here’s part of it:

After our controlled descent from the castle, we walked around the city a little bit more.  While Regensburg has monuments to Kepler, Nuremberg has the Albrecht Dürer house.  Dürer, as it turns out, spent quite a bit of time in Nuremberg, born there in the late 1400s and returning for parts of the 1500s.  He was there in between stints in Italy and the Netherlands, and his famous painting of a hare has resulted in a lot of rabbits in stores and sculptures.   For example, there’s this super creepy statue.  I told Heather that it looks like Alice in Wonderland on peyote.

By this point in the afternoon, I was pretty much ready to hop a train back home, so we started to follow the city wall back toward the train station. Interesting fun fact:  The wall around the city of Nuremberg is mostly stil intact  You can walk along large sections of it and eventually you’ll wind up back at the train station.

On the walk back, I saw some nifty stuff that needed to be photographed. I’ll close out the post with these last three photographs-

1) Some nifty graffiti that translates to “Against sexism, against homophobia!”  At some point I will take pictures of more graffiti around town in Regensburg.  I’ve already got a nifty collection of pictures of the decals that people put on street signs and lamp posts- I find it fascinating.

2) A street musician playing an instrument that I can’t quite identify.  It’s not quite a harp, but it’s similar.  It also looks quite heavy.

3) Random Greenpeace protest.  Apparently they’re against nuclear power.  (And power is yet another topic on my future posts list.)

Thud!

This picture makes me laugh so much, for one reason:

The presence of the warning sign on the glass partition- “Caution- Glass!” – means that somebody, probably several somebodies, have already walked into it.  Heck, I almost walked into it myself, and I saw the sign.

Love padlocks.

Sunny Sunday Walkabout

One of my friends mentioned that they wanted to see pictures from around my new town, so I just needed to wait for a rare sunny day, and I was off and strolling with my trusty dSLR.

I’ll start with a carved tree near the bus station.  I haven’t the slightest idea what this is all about.

You can tell it’s a real city because we even have graffiti.

I had no idea this was nearby until I took a slightly different route-  an Important European Golf Museum!  I’m not sure they have the same definition for “Important” that I do.

The street musicians in Germany are a different calibre than those I’ve seen in the US.  For example, here’s a guy with an accordion.

All paths lead to the Dom, the big cathedral.  It’s just an amazing piece of architecture.

Dude needs to mow his roof.

Another view of the Dom from across the Donau (Danube) river.

Doors all over town have this marking on them in white chalk- it’s left over from last Friday’s holiday, Epiphany.  It is customary for the faithful to bless their houses at the Epiphany with blessed chalk. They write over their front door: 20 + C + M + B + 12. The digits, which appear at the beginning and end of the line, designate the new year. ‘CMB’ stands for the traditional names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) and also signifies the Latin prayer Christus Mansionem Benedicat or ‘May Christ bless this dwelling.’

Despite the sun, it was quite cold today.  To prove this, I have taken a photograph of a frozen puddle near the curb.

Cool little statue on the Stone Bridge.  I need to find out if there’s a reference to the history of all these little statues.

Charming couple on the stone bridge.

Some buildings along the north bank of the Donau.

The rushing waters of the Donau.

There are a lot of buildings with paintings on their sides in various places around town.  This is on Goliathstrasse.

The next few pictures are fascinating to me.  There’s a pedestrian bridge a little bit upstream from the Stone Bridge, which has a metal latticework covered in padlocks.

The tradition, which is apparently very common in Germany, is for lovers to inscribe their names on the metal locks, sometimes with a personal message but sometimes not, and then attach the padlock to the bridge while declaring their undying love for each over.  Then they kiss and throw the key of the padlock into the river below as a romantic gesture.

Here’s a good article about it:  http://www.pgtraveltips.co.uk/blog/regensburg-germany-sweethearts-cross-the-danube-to-lock-into-love/2827

I’m really curious about the stories behind the locks.  Especially when there’s nothing but a date.  I spent quite a while looking at these padlocks today.

I swear I was not stalking this couple, but the city just isn’t that large.  We crossed paths going in opposite directions at two different points.  I even crossed the Donau twice before running into them again from the other direction.

When my vegetarian friends visit, I’ve got them covered.

The Garbo, one of several movie theatres in town that sometimes plays movies in English.

The bar in the center of this picture, Orkan, has great beer and tasty Schnitzel.  (Although to be fair, I have yet to have a bad beer in this town.

More buildings near the Donau.

This view is actually from the bridge with all the padlocks, but I find it to be pretty spectacularly picturesque.  I can’t wait to see what this place looks like in the Spring and Summertime, when everything is green again.

Ah, Maximilianstrasse.  I tend to think of this as the central corridor of the city, even though its nowhere near the center.

A cop and kebap.  Doner Kebab is a very tasty hand-held food, similar to a gyro.

This statue is near the Dom.  The inscription on the pedestal says, in German, “Ludwig I – King of Bavaria.”

Most of the pictures I’ve posted of the Dom don’t really give you a sense of the size of the thing  Here’s some pictures where you can see just how large it is.

Albert Einstein as a Marionette?  Check.

Someone’s nick-name is “Hempy?!”  I want to meet this individual.

Another high quality street musician.

That sign in the shadowed portion of the picture?  I’ve seen them all over town, pointing in different directions.  I couldn’t figure out what they were pointing to, so I finally asked someone.  It turns out they just say “one way street.”  Oops!

Haidplatz, a triangular plaza with several delicious restaurants, including one of the Thai places I haven’t had a chance to try yet.