Skip to content

Nürnberg, DE

by dan.kronstal on November 6th, 2011

It’s my first post in Germany, so I’ll ramble for a bit first. Before arriving in Germany I had expected to find the German language very difficult. In some ways it is, but I had failed to appreciate how much English owes to German in terms of basic vocabulary. Of course there are words picked up from nearly every major language on the globe, but German seems to be the entomological foundation in a way that took me by surprise. Particularly the prepositions and conjunctions like “und” & “and”, “mit” & “with”, “die” & “the”, a generous spoonful of other familiar words, and the entire counting system are so phonetically similar as makes nearly no difference when spoken. As we had observed in Austria, the culture and attitude in this part of Europe feels very much like home, and at this point in our travels it is hugely comfortable to be in a place that doesn’t feel foreign.

Back to our story…

Tina's favorite shot

Tina's favorite shot

We made a somewhat earlier than expected getaway from Berlin, and enjoyed the train ride through north and western Bavaria – only slightly less scenic than that from Prague. When we arrived, a quick stop at the TIC provided us with a map of town, decorated by markings for our hotel and relevant transit information. We caught the tram to our new home, somewhat north of Nurnburg’s old town, in the St. Johannis neighborhood. In days gone by this would be where the Really Rich People lived, or so I assume, since the street is lined with elegant old manor-style homes (now converted to office or service space) contained in walled estates.

Castle tower

Castle tower

After checking in we headed back to the center for a look at town. Our route took us right past the Nurnberg castle, across a bridge over the moat, through a tunnel in the castle wall, and emerging into the heart of small-town Bavaria on the other side. The cobbled square of Tiergartnertorplatz splits into several streets, either ascending towards the castle, or descending towards the river and the center of town.

Hooray for sausage!

Hooray for sausage!

Our quick walk through town took us nearly all the way back to the train station. We were surprised to find that we’d bisected town so quickly, having expected it to be a little bigger, and turned around to find a bite to eat. Nurnberg is famous for its small sausages, Nurnberger bratwursts, so we stopped at a place claiming to have “the original”. They were pretty tasty, but I think we’ll always remember our multi-mustard bratwursts from Mauermarkt in Berlin. When we exited the restaurant it was full-dark.

Markets at night

Markets at night

Jakobsplats by night

Jakobsplats by night

Hospital of the Holy Spirit

Hospital of the Holy Spirit

The town was transformed by a huge quantity of streetlights, lit markets, uplight towers and churches, and a surprisingly cosmopolitan pedigree of fashion and luxury shopping. We walked home the long way, swinging east around Cinemagnum, the largest cinema complex in Germany. 12 bars, 4 restaurants, 6 outdoor terraces, 1 IMAX, and 21 screens – none of which showed anything in English (well, there was Tin Tin, which I had enjoyed in Berlin, but not enough for a second round).

Writing at d'Azur

Writing at d'Azur

We slept late, owing to the absolute silence and darkness of our room, and took our time getting ready. Once we were out it was time to track down some “breakfast”, and after rejecting a number of places offering the usual assortment of sausages and potatoes and dumplings we found Cafe d’Azur, a french-style cafe which reminded us of how much we enjoyed our time in that part of Europe. We took our time, journalling and feasting on an assortment of sliced meats, cheese, veggies, fruit, baguette, croissant, heisse shokalad, tea, and orange juice.

Castle grounds

Castle grounds

It was well into the afternoon by the time we left, and the day had cleared up very nicely, providing us with a great opportunity to climb up to the castle and take some photos of the grounds and the view into town.

Castle garden path

Castle garden path

Our beautiful autumn day kept us with camera in hand, vainly trying to capture the color of the leaves and grass and sky.

Sinwell tower

Sinwell tower

We walked down into town and wandered through old town at a relaxed pace. On our previous night’s walk we had noticed a restaurant bridging the river, and sought it out to see if the location was as nice from the inside as it had appeared from across the water. We walked all around the building without seeing an entrance, and finally entered through a gated portal which lead us through an old folks home (being in the middle of an old castle, it’s the nicest one I’ve ever seen) and we finally found the restaurant door on the opposite side of a small courtyard. Unfortunately it didn’t seem open, so we decided to return another day in the evening for a closer inspection.

View to Trödelmarkt

View to Trödelmarkt (we're at Starbucks, on the right)

A large portion of our afternoon was spent at a Starbucks warming up, since the day, although bright and clear, was still cool, and using their free wireless connection to send out some emails. We continued walking and crossed onto the small island containing Trödelmarkt, where more shopping was found, as well as “the Hangmans House”, ominously decorated with a sign showing an axe severing a hand. Christina was hankering after a sushi dinner tonight, so we walked toward Ledergasse, a street containing a sushi restaurant singled out in our guidebook. We found one, but not the same restaurant she had read about, so decided to instead try one we had noticed a sign for during our walk the past evening. After some circling we found Sushi Do, a small bar-style establishment located unexpectedly in the middle of an underground shopping mall, accessible from the subway line. The 8€ all-you-can-eat “running sushi” was not bad, but won’t go down as one of our favorites. Our evening was spent enjoying the city lights again, as last night, but we didn’t stay out late.

River

River

Our next day we headed to the west along the walls of the Old City, to Maxplatz, where a biergarten has its own suspension bridge across the river, and where we lingered to enjoy yet more fantastic scenary involving the tranquil river crossed by old stone bridges, and lined with trees of every color, and quaint Bavarian buildings.

Bavarian street

Bavarian street

Nurnberg is the kind of town that will be well dressed in any season. It has officially replaced Innsbruck as my favorite town in “eastern western Europe”, and places second in my list of “European towns I’d move to”, behind only St. Sebastian, Spain.

On the way to the Staatstheater, to check out if we could get any good deals, we stopped at Öffnungszeiten Handwerkerhof (Craftsmens Courtyard), a kitchy but cute market area set up to offer Christmas ornaments and souveniers and snacks to entrapped tourists. Just beyond the market we found the train station – much more impressive now that we had a chance to actually check it out – and booked our onward tickets to Munich. Next we arrived at the Staatstheater, which was a pretty cool building, but had no deals for us, and in fact the cheap tour of the interior was sold out, so we didn’t even get to see that much. From there we followed the perimeter of the western edge of the wall all the way around to more familiar territory, and set up at our favorite Starbucks for some wifi and coffee.

Hexenhäusle

Hexenhäusle

We returned home for a rest before going for dinner at Hexenhausle, a small restaurant and “historical beer garden” we had noticed at the foot of the castle with a pleasant ambiance. We dined on some local specialties. Christina had Medaillons von der Schweinelende (pork tenderloin), and I had Ofensfisches Schweineschaufele (a Franconian “classical” dish, composed of a massive piece of fall-off-the-bone pork and a bunch of other stuff that I had no room for). Until now we had been drinking beer, but recalled at this establishment that Germany has a thriving wine economy, so had a glass of some local product – one red and one white – and were quite satisfied.

At home in the evening we watched some German television. The most amusing show was Mein Mann Kann, which is exactly what it sounds like, with women pitting their men against each other in various tasks, wagered in a sort of poker game. One man had to carry a certain number of “beach babes”, dripping in oil and wearing skimpy swimsuits, from one side of a beach scene to the other; one man had to get 5 ear piercings; one man had to guess the cup size of a parade of nearly bare bossoms; another had to break down a series of doors, “action hero” style, within a time limit. No gameshows on American television are nearly this entertaining!

Der Schöne Brunnen

Der Schöne Brunnen

We were expecting to check out the Hauptmarkt market on Saturday morning, but apparently were misinformed, since no market was taking place there. We could see all sorts of booths and huts being assembled for the coming Christmas markets, opening around mid-November, but that didn’t do us any good for the moment.

Demonstrators in Hautpmarkt

Demonstrators in Hautpmarkt

We had some pizza and pasta for lunch at one of the second-level restaurants overlooking the platz, watching tour groups shuffling from one sight to the next behind the signature umbrella or foamy finger or decorative staff of the group leader. Also gracing our platz was a troop of “demonstrators” holding signs to spell out a message about buses and trains. We didn’t get it.

We had explored all of the old town but for the north-east, and so today that was our goal. In this area we found the a more residential community, including the university, some small cafes and a very nice path along the river. We walked back on this path and tried to work up an appetite for dinner, though after our daunting lunch this proved to be a vain effort.

We did not stay out late, but returned to our room to get packed up for our departure in the morning. Four days did feel like a nice amount of time to stay here, though both of us are a bit sorry to be pulling out just as they set up their big seasonal markets. Our next stop is Munich, still part of Bavaria, and we’re looking forward to finding out if it can match the high bar set here!

3 Comments
  1. Greg permalink

    If you have a time, don’t miss out Baden-Baden. You will really love the place. It is located on the west of Stattgart.

    • Thanks for the advice, Tito! We were wondering what our next leg in Germany would be and were throwing around some ideas.

  2. Mom and Dad E. permalink

    The Bavarian Street scene reminds me of ginger bread houses in Christmas decorations… As you mentioned, I could imagine it to be a pretty place to celebrate the Yule tide!

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS