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Nuremberg - Nazis and the Phone Call that Changed our Lives.

We arrived in Nuremberg Tuesday morning. Despite lacking some of the charm of the smaller towns we had recently visited, Nuremberg had much to offer. Considering that ninety percent of the city was destroyed in World War II, there was still much to be enjoyed, from an aesthetic point of view, and much to be discovered, historically.

We spent our first day exploring the Altstadt (old town) and the Imperial Palace, perched high up on a hill (as they always are) with magnificent city views. We visited a toy museum that was a bit quirky, but fun and interesting (although Garin might disagree). There were a lot of cool toys, but also some creepy ones, like the doll pictured above. Germans have always been at the forefront of toy making, so it seems only fitting they would have a museum dedicated to toys here. Our last stop was at the Bratwurst Museum, which too was a bit quirky, but also fun to visit. Much to everyone's disappointment, they didn't offer any samples.

On Day Two, our agenda was a bit heavy. Our morning started with the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Due to a complete remodel of the documentation center, the exhibit setup was temporary and rather small, which made for an easier transition into this part of Bavaria, which sadly, is steeped in Nazi history. This documentation center focused on Nazi history in Nuremberg in particular.

After that, we made the half-hour walk (in slightly hot temperatures), to the rally grounds, where Hitler infamously held his propaganda rallies, with up to 200,000 fanatical followers in attendance at a time. Parched from the heat and needing a break from Nazi history, we stopped for lunch at a cafe nearby. We partook in some of the famous sausages in the area (referred to as Nurembergers) which were delicious traditional German potato salad on the side. We sampled some other local favorites as well.

After lunch, we headed to the Memorium Nuremberg Trials, in the opposite part of town where we had spent the morning. This particular building was chosen as the location of the Nuremberg trials (1945–1949) for the main surviving German war criminals of World War II because it was almost undamaged, was large enough, and included a large prison complex. The choice of the city of Nuremberg was symbolic as the Nazi Party had held its large Nuremberg rallies in the city. The trials took place in courtroom number 600, situated in the east wing of the Palace of Justice, which is pictured above and is open for visitors to see. The courtroom has been remodeled and modified over the years.

After visiting the courtroom, we headed to the museum, in the same building, which covered the trials and presented a lot of information about the German war criminals who had been tried there. We had only been in the museum for half an hour when the call came in from Anna. It was 3:08 PM in Nuremberg and 6:08 AM in Los Angeles. I knew something was off when I saw that she was calling because usually we only text each other while we are away. She had texted me the day before explaining Fitzy had been somewhat under the weather, so I thought it might have something to do with that. If he wasn't feeling better overnight, she was going to take him to the vet, per their instructions, after speaking to them a few times on Tuesday.

I picked up the phone and said hello. The rest is a bit of a blur. I heard Anna crying on the other end and then the words came, "Jana, I don't know what to do. Fitzy is dead." I stopped in my tracks and immediately tried to find a private place to talk so that the kids wouldn't see me. Anna explained what she knew up until that moment, but nothing made sense to either of us.

The kids immediately knew something was wrong when they came to find me, but I didn't want to tell them inside the museum for fear of their reaction. We quickly walked down the stairs, returned our audio guides, and made our way to a shady spot outside where I proceeded to tell them the devastating news. We all stood there for quite some time sobbing before we made our way back to the car to return to our hotel, where we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening. I spent hours on the phone, back and forth with Anna and the vet, trying to piece together what might have happened.

Fitzy died suddenly and unexpectedly, with virtually no warning. Some of what we learned made sense, but much will never have answers or a precise explanation. More importantly, we had not been there when he passed on, which was devastating to us. We were only nine days into a forty-day trip. We entertained the idea of trying to fly home immediately, but after discussing it at length, we decided that didn't make sense. Nothing made sense.

In the end, we decided to stay and finish our trip, the best we could. I was filled with confusion, regret, guilt, sadness, anger, and most of all, terrible grief. I wasn't sure how we would carry on with this dark cloud hanging over us, but we had to try. Fitzy was gone and there was nothing, not even our presence at home, that was going to bring our beloved boy back to us.

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