Nuremberg, Germany


Trip Taken: 2005

Going to Nuremberg was a tough sell to my friends remaining in Stuttgart. We have been traveling almost every weekend non-stop since October and only last weekend we were gone for a good two days. Plus, we were definitely in winter. The trees have lost all their leaves and were sitting naked with their bare branches. A recent snowstorm has left the ground with thick layer of soft powder. It was the perfect winter weekend to stay in and read a book next to a cozy fire.

But that’s not going to happen. You should know by now that I convinced my friends to go, albeit reluctantly. We woke up fairly early to catch the first train to Nuremberg. Nuremberg is in Bavaria so we had to buy to different regional weekend train tickets, but that was okay. Good thing there is a direct train to Nuremberg. Almost every single trip to Bavaria had me transferring at Augsburg. When I think about it now, I probably should have just stopped and visited Augsburg for a day.

My friends all slept on the train there and so did I. It was routine for us by now. Plus, what else were we going to do. After a few more grumbles about traveling yet again, we finally got to Nuremberg. In the context of American history, Nuremberg will always be famous as the site of the Nuremberg Trials. Besides visiting the site of Hitler’s bunker, I didn’t really see any reason to see any other WWII sites. Although, the eagle’s nest does intrigue me. In any case, the reason I wanted to go to Nuremberg was because of the Christmas market. It is billed as one of the biggest Christmas markets in the world. To satisfy my kitsch craving, I just had to go.

The Christmas market was in front of the Lorenzkirche on Lorenzplatz. There is no shortage of snow in Nuremberg. It definitely looked like it had snowed recently and with the gray skies above, it could certainly snow again. They say you can smell the Lebkuchen, soft biscuits made for this occassion, in the air. All I really remember from any Christmas market is the strong scent of Glühwein. The aroma of spices and alcohol mixed into the air.

Nuremberg is famous for its bratwursts. They are smaller than regular bratwursts, but there is no sacrifice on taste. I went to one of the stalls at the market selling them and got a couple of them in a bread roll. They look somewhat similar to American breakfast sausages in size and color, but the slightly sweet taste of meat is much different from what you can get at a local deli.

After doing a small tour of the market and the church, my friends and I headed to Tiergärtnertor for a better view of the city. Nuremberg, like many cities in Europe, offers an aerial vantage point. The view from the top of the gate was like out of a Dickens novel; gray and dreary with waifs of smoke coming out of the chimneys. It was scenic and to me seemed indicative what a European city in winter looks like.

Tiergärtnertor actually leads to a greater complex called Kaiserburg, a huge complex that holds a vast array of Romanesque buildings. What stood out the most to me was the Tiefer Brunnen, or deep well. The tour guide gave a free demonstration of how deep it is. She took some lighted candles on a chain and lowered it slowly to show the entire depth of forty-eight meters.

We’ve seen so many museums, cathedrals, and monuments that we didn’t even bother visiting them. Instead we opted to have a snowball fight in one of the small plazas. Snow was piled up everywhere and it was easy to form a good, round snowball. Then, it snowed. And snowed. Pretty soon, it was a full blown snowstorm with thick layers of white coldness falling, not floating, down on us.

It was time to leave Nuremberg. My friends and I were kinda passed out at the McDonald’s at the train station while we waited for the next train to Stuttgart. Although our trip here was rather short, I think it would be a lot more interesting for a history buff. There is a lot of WWII history here that we overlooked. Maybe next time, if there is a next time, I will have a gander.

Parting Words

Nuremberg in winter is a beautiful sight. The red tiled rooftops are completely covered in white snow. The gray pavement is wet with snow thawed on the slightly warmer cobbled stones and concrete. A sight that is only in a gray scale with only the slightest hints of color from the Christmas market. Maybe that’s why people gravitate towards them in the winter.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.