36 Hours in Nuremberg

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is starting the year off happy and healthy.

I didn't know anything about Nuremberg before planning this trip. I had heard of it in high school history (Nuremberg Trials, anyone?) but other than that, I had no knowledge about the aesthetic of the town, if it was known for anything, or what I could possibly see and do there. However, Nuremberg showed up on a list for one of the best Christmas markets in Germany, it was pretty accessible via train in regards to the rest of the cities I wanted to visit, it would be easy to return to London via plane, and that's ultimately how I settled on Nuremberg as part of my itinerary.
Of course I googled it to make sure it would be worthwhile and to figure out how much time I'd need there. I quickly learned that it was a v. beautiful city with plenty to see and do and was ultimately v. excited to visit.

It was an easy 2-hour journey from Frankfurt and I basically rolled into town the same time as the sun.
My room wasn't ready so I dropped off my bags and went out to explore the town. Just around the corner from my hotel was this former wine depot and one of the top images to pop up when you Google "Nuremberg."
I decided I wanted a pretzel for breakfast so I went to this well-known German chain. I ended up getting a cheese pretzel and a cup of tea. The girl working the counter didn't know much English so I had to rely on my incredibly limited German to communicate. The cost was €3.20, which in German is "drei zwanzig" and I knew "eins, zwei, drei" (1, 2, 3) and "zwanzig" honestly does sound like "twenty" so it wasn't too intense of an interaction.

There was a guy watching the whole thing unfold who was chuckling to himself and we ended up making friends during the meal.

After breakfast, my first priority was to explore some markets and do a little shopping.
I had wandered through Handwerkerhof when I initially got off the train and was wheeling my luggage through town on the way to my hotel. It was closed when I'd first arrived, but by the time I'd had breakfast and had a wander, it was finally open.
This little paperie shop, Anemoi, was super charming and right up my alley. I love notebooks and pens and stamps and everything that this place had to offer.
There was a Staedtler shop in town so I couldn't resist. I popped in for a couple of new pens.
For lunch, I went to the famous Zum Gulden Stern. It's a sausage house that specializes in the Nuremberg sausage. It's in a building that's been around since the 1300s and survived several wars and it's a really charming dining experience.
There are baskets of bread and pretzels on the table. Fair warning though: if you take one, you will be charged for it. They're not a free-for-all treat.
I got a Weizen beer to start while I waited for my sausages. The Nuremberg sausage has pretty strict aesthetic requirements: it must be no longer than 9 cm and weigh no more than 25 g. The three notable spices in the recipe are mace, marjoram, and ground pepper. The reason for their size is that they're slim enough to fit into keyholes, which is how they were delivered during one of the plagues when people couldn't leave their homes. And that's also why they're often served on heart-shaped platters.
I ordered mine with a side of potato salad and horseradish cream. The sausages were so delicious. I'm not entirely sure what marjoram tastes like, but the meat was really flavorful and the snappy casing was so good. The potato salad had an acidic component to them and I think there were bits of apple in it and it was a lovely accompaniment to the sausage but the star of the meal for me was the horseradish cream. It was freshly prepared, which I know because my sinuses were immediately cleared.
The main square of Nuremberg was taken over by a gigantic Christmas market and I'm positive this is the one that put Nuremberg on that list of top 10 German Christmas markets.
It was big and gorgeous and everything being sold was handmade and lovely. There were nutcrackers, all kinds of ornaments made from wood and ceramics and even walnuts, freshly made treats like lebkuchen (gingerbread) and sausages and candy. There were stands selling toys, handmade paper, candles, artwork; it was mildly overwhelming but in the best way.
There were also stands selling schneeball, which translates to "snowball." They were just dough scraps cobbled together and dusted with powdered sugar. There were alternatives dipped in various flavored chocolates and sprinkles and other toppings as well.
I ended up purchasing a couple tiny ornaments: a pickle, an ear of corn, and a garlic bulb to add to our tree at home, which has mostly food-themed ornaments.
One of my favorite things to do in any city is to head to a high point and look out. I especially enjoyed this concept in Lisbon where there were many miradouros (lookout points) across the hills of the city. During this trip though, I was mostly in pretty flat cities, which was great for walking but didn't support this hobby. Luckily, Nuremberg did have some varying topography so I headed to the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg. I didn't pay to go inside the castle itself, but the grounds and surrounding area are open to the general public so I was able to climb up and get a lovely view of the city.
The famous German artist, Albrecht Dürer, lived in Nuremberg and his house has been preserved and turned into a museum. Unfortunately, none of his artwork is actually housed here and so I opted not to go.
This picturesque little street was high on my list of places to see because it's another one of those places that popped up as a high-ranking image when I Googled "Nuremberg." It's just super charming with that classic Bavarian architecture everywhere and it honestly felt like I'd been transported back in time.
I stayed at a little hotel located in the middle of the old town. It was a pretty basic room, and that's really all I was looking for. It was plenty of space for just me and I would definitely recommend it.
After finally being able to check into my hotel, I relaxed for a little bit to thaw and start packing up the many souvenirs I had bought at the Christmas markets. After a sufficient rest, I went out to explore the town and Christmas markets at night.
I made a reservation earlier in the day to dine at this really lovely restaurant. I had bookmarked it because I'd read great things online but my decision was further sealed when I was reading my hotel's welcome note and recommendations, which included this eatery.
I was seated with a lovely family who was having their annual Christmas meal and doing a white elephant. They really got a kick out of me photographing everything and were impressed that I ordered the restaurant's signature dish: crispy roast pork. Eating with them really made my night because they were so fun and gracious and actually, one of the ladies gave me a tealight candle holder as a gift, which I was so touched by.
And of course, the food was delicious. The pork was super tender with the crunchiest skin and the potato dumpling was so delicate and soft and delicious. There was also a side of red cabbage, which had been gently braised with apple cider vinegar. This meal totally warmed me up and hit the spot.
For dessert, I took the waiter's recommendation and got the apple fritters. When they arrived, the rest of the table nodded in approval, saying it was a v. typical Franconian dessert and they all watched me dig in. The breading was crisp and sweet, the apples inside were still kind of crisp, and the accompanying ice cream and creme anglaise were lovely.
My wonderful night was somewhat soured when I walked past this church and dropped my phone and the corner of the screen cracked. I had a screen protector on it so it didn't affect any of the important part, but because I'm so neurotic, it really bothered me and unfortunately, it's been bothering me since.
In between the last photo and dinner at this restaurant, I spent time in the city of Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, but I'm sharing that experience in its own post tomorrow.

For dinner on my final night in Nuremberg, I ended up at Huong Lua. There's a decent Vietnamese population in Nuremberg so there were several Vietnamese eateries. This one had great reviews and was super accessible from my hotel so I popped in for a bowl of warm bun bo hue.
I wanted to grab some snacks for my plane ride leaving Nuremberg so I popped into Rewe. I also ended up buying some puppy treats for George Michael.
On my way to the Underground, I encountered this bizarre fountain. I read about it and it's supposed to depict the trials and tribulations of marriage. I took a close look at some of the statues and got kind of creeped out so I'm just sharing this wider shot; I think that's all that's necessary.

I ended up purchasing a public transport day ticket because it becomes worthwhile as long as you ride 3 times. I knew I'd be taking a roundtrip ride to the Nuremberg Justice Building and then again to get to the airport so it was worthwhile. A normal single ticket is €3.10 but the day pass is €8.30 so I ended up saving €1.
I really struggled with whether or not to go to the Documentation Center/Nazi Party Rally Grounds. I'm a really cerebral person with a lot of intense feelings that can sometimes bog me down in a difficult way. The best example I can give is when I watched Albert Nobbs, it was so depressing and I was so affected by the tragedy of the plot (which I think is also a true testament to Glenn Close's acting), I was depressed for months and I couldn't stop thinking about it for years. And this was a fictional movie. So I felt like if I went to this site, I could potentially be affected by it and have it bog down my psyche for a long time, and honestly, knowing I had a new job to start in a couple of weeks, I didn't want to risk it.

So, I ended up going to the Nuremberg Justice Building to the site of the Nuremberg Trials. After all, it's what I knew about Nuremberg to begin with. And even though there could be some really heavy content here, I can appreciate justice and feel some satisfaction in that.
The only thing that really bothered me while I was here was the fact that there were two women trying to take a smiling selfie in Courtroom 600, which was where trials were held for some of the more heinous war criminals. First of all, they had their volume turned way up so every time they snapped a photo, it made a loud noise that echoed throughout the courtroom, and secondly, they didn't like the angle of themselves sitting on the pews, so they ended up kneeling down and knocking into people and it was just an embarrassment to witness.

Other than that though, I really enjoyed the museum and the way it was set up. Also, while I was there, a huge group of schoolchildren were also there. I genuinely appreciate the way Germany treats its past. It would be easy to try and treat it casually the way the U.S. does with slavery or Japan with its own war crimes (I'm especially horrified by the concept of comfort women). Instead, the approach seems to be a "lesson learned" kind of attitude that I respect.
When I left the museum, it was snowing pretty heavily. Luckily for me, it was a short walk to the Underground.
I'd made a reservation at Essigbrätlein for my final meal in Germany. I knew it would be kind of pricey, as it's got 2 Michelin stars, but it was a lovely treat meal.

The oddest thing about this place is that you have to ring a bell to be allowed in. I accidentally buzzed a bunch of the wrong bells before realizing it was the little tugging bell to the right of the door.
It's a prix-fixe menu so you don't have to do anything but sit and choose a beverage. I opted for a glass of Silvaner, a local wine. It was crisp and floral and fruity; a nice alternative to a Reisling.
Before the actual courses arrived, I was given 3 amuse bouches. The first was what they referred to as a mushroom juice. It was savory and pretty delicious. After that, an odd little spoon arrived, which was marinated parsley root with cinnamon butter; it was a delectable bite.
The final amuse bouche was Brussels sprout leaves filled with whipping cream. It was a delicate bite of food.
I was also brought bread and butter. The butter had an almost green tinge to it and was incredibly creamy and delicious. The bread was fantastic with a crisp crust and a chewy and fluffy interior.
The first course was called "green vegetables." It was described as being kohlrabi, spinach, and other greens with a fermented cream. The contrasting texture of the various veg and their verdant quality against the acidity and milkiness of the sauce was really good. It was incredibly simple but surprising in that it tasted incredibly complex.
The second course was "char with beans." It was a marinated raw char with a sauce made of bean juice, topped with beans two ways. The sauce was reminiscent of leche de tigre, a Peruvian sauce commonly served with ceviche. The char was v. flavorsome and tender.
The third course was "lamb with swede." It was a roast lamb with rutabaga two was. The rutabaga was prepared like a gratin on the side and pureed with hazelnuts and spread onto the plate as a sauce. The lamb was topped with fennel and yogurt and the greenery on the side was fresh basil leaves and coriander (a.k.a. cilantro) stems. The lamb was incredibly tender and I've never had lamb prepared so well before. There was absolutely zero gamey flavor and the micro-herbs added the perfect amount of freshness and herbaceous bite that was needed to lighten up the heavy dish.
Dessert was probably my least favorite course, not because it was bad but because I just prefer savory foods. It was "sloe ice cream with lavender." There was a really light sponge, which the server said was steamed bread. There was a tart sloe ice cream; if you don't know what sloe is, it's a bitter berry and the Brits make gin out of it. Have you ever heard of sloe gin? There was a lavender cream, which was borderline soapy, but was brought back from being too perfumey by the tart dried cherries and poppyseed sauce.
Finally, I was brought an assortment of chocolate bark. The chocolate wasn't tempered, so it didn't have that snap, but I did enjoy trying each one. The first had hazelnuts, the second had dried cherries, the third had some kind of ground nut or seed (I'm not entirely sure), the fourth had some kind of pureed greenery, and the last one had toasted seeds and rice.
After my meal, I wandered the Christmas markets again in search of a final few souvenirs. I ended up buying some gingerbread; I wanted it to be as fresh as possible and that's why I didn't buy it until my final day in Germany.
I took the Underground to the airport, as planned. It was supremely easy, though, I had to wait quite a while for a train that was actually going all the way to the airport, and once I got there, I got a pretzel as a pre-plane ride snack.
Here's my video diary:


Post a Comment