In the frigid winter of 1999, I visited Nuremberg for the first time. From my first walk down the Koenigstrasse, I was smitten. That first trip was the beginning of my love affair with this historical city – a love affair that continues to this day. The city is extremely photogenic, so I can’t resist sharing some of my favorite Nuremberg photos.
Germany’s relationship with Jewish history is painful. But this is not that story. This is the remarkably unlikely story of one of Europe’s greatest treasures hidden for centuries. This is the story of a history lost – and rediscovered under unlikely circumstances. This is the story, the legend, of the Erfurt Treasure and the Old Erfurt Synagogue.
The Romantic Road. Those three words conjure up images of fairy tales and charming little villages. For years, despite numerous trips to Germany, I’ve avoided what is arguably the best known holiday route in the world. I had a lot of preconceptions about the Romantic Road – some were true and some were just legends. One thing is for certain, The Romantic Road in Germany was a complete surprise.
Like ghosts in the mist, white hooded bodies move silently through the 200 year old wooden structure. The dense fog strangles the senses as sight and sound are distorted. Slowly, the bodies pace back and forth. The only noise is the faint trickle of water. These pilgrims come to the Keltenbad spa (or Celtic Bath) in Bad Salzungen, Germany for “The Cure.” As I quickly learned, the Keltenbad Bad Salzungen is like very few places on earth.
Weimar, Germany is a town with an identity crisis. On one hand, it is a town deeply rooted in the Romantic Classical period. On the other hand, it is progressive, modern and gave birth to the Bauhaus movement. The dual traditions – Classical Weimar and the Weimar Bauhaus – are both recognized as separate UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’ve visited the city several times over the last 20 years, and each time is a truly profound experience.
The hamlet of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of Germany’s most visited small towns. It is also one of its best preserved: hundreds of years of poverty and neglect left the town in mint shape. In the summer, over 2 million visitors pack its tiny streets. But in the dead of winter, I had the town nearly to myself and was able to explore the many things to do in Rothenburg virtually alone.
On a recent trip to Central Germany, I encountered a man who played an important historical role, but has been relegated to a mere footnote: the painter known as Lucas Cranach the Elder. During the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago, he had a ring-side seat for one of Europe’s most transformative periods. I didn’t go looking for Lucas Cranach, but I’m glad I discovered him.
The place called Buchenwald was not just a location. It was a journey into the darkness of the human soul. For me, the Buchenwald Concentration Camp is where the Holocaust becomes most real. Buchenwald was not the first concentration camp built by the Nazi’s. Buchenwald was not the biggest camp in Germany’s World War II machine. But in many ways, Buchenwald is the most symbolic and most important.
In a valley north of Nuremberg, Germany, modern medicine changed forever. For over 160 years, nearly every major diagnostic medical achievement can trace its roots to this area. The Siemens Med Museum in the quiet university town of Erlangen, Germany tells the story of technological progress in medicine.
Often overlooked by bigger neighbors, Wurzburg, Germany doesn’t receive nearly enough credit. The city is the start of the Romantic Road tourism route and the center of one the country’s most important wine regions. This best of Wurzburg walking tour takes in as many of the top attractions in a one-day itinerary.