Tuesday May 13 -- Nuremberg
We bumped our way through a few locks during the night and arrived in Nuremberg around 9:00. We left the ship around 9:30 taking a bus tour that provided an overall view of the old walled city before dropping us inside the walls in the centre of Nuremberg.
Our guide, Ingo, gave us a very good talk about the city and its history. The first place that we visited a large stadium built by Hitler intended for giant military rallies, although never completed and never used. Nevertheless, the structure was quite impressive. We got off the bus for a short photo opportunity, then were driven to the Imperial Castle via St John's Cemetery. This site was covered in flowers and the majority of gravestones were flat on the ground.
The Imperial Palace was really a fortress, seldom used but very impressively situated on a hill overlooking the old city. We walked down the hill to the city which had existed as a walled city since medieval times. In the market square, we were lucky enough to be there in time for the famous clock to strike the noon hour and to watch the mechanical figures move around the clock. We returned to the bus and back to the ship where we had lunch.
After lunch, we returned to the city and spent a couple of hours at the Toy Museum, a very interesting museum with toys mainly from Germany illustrating the history of toys from centuries back to the present day. We were not allowed to use cameras in the museum, but Heather had taken several photos before we heard the message advising that this was 'verbotten'.
We returned to the ship just in time for a guest lecturer speaking on history of the European Union which was very interesting. Following the talk and a daily briefing by Joey, we joined Pat, Larry, Anne and John for dinner.
We were, by this time, travelling through some of the largest locks on the Main-Danube Canal and after dinner we decided to watch the transfer through one of the largest locks after dark. We were the only couple on the foredeck deck for most of the time. It began to rain and at kilometre 95 along the canal we passed through the Eckerschmuhlen lock. Once we were in the lock it was like being in a canyon, the canal was over 200 metres long and the sides were over 25 metres high! We waited until the lock was filled and the gate at the upper end opened (by lowering) and we sailed through.
The locking-through exercise was remarkably fast considering the size of the lock: between entering the lock and leaving, it took around 30 minutes. Finally, we called it a night and headed back to our cabin.