I get asked on a daily basis what the hell I’m doing in Germany, which surprises me every single time because it’s almost as if the Germans think that Germany isn’t worth visiting. It is a country rich in culture, history, natural landscapes and Sauerkraut. While I have mostly settled to be close to some people that I care about, there are many reasons to love the powerhouse of Europe, besides the obvious things like Helles, Weißbier, Kellerbier, Schwarzbier, Rotbier, Dunkelweizen, Volkfestbier, Rauchbier, Doppelbock, Kölsch, Märzen und Hallo, ich bin Tom, und ich bin Alkoholiker.
Today, I would like to give you a virtual tour of the adorable little city I have decided to call my home for the next stint of my global adventure. Maybe it will persuade a few more of you to take me up on my generous offer of a place to sleep for a few nights. Welcome to Nürnberg, the social center of Germany.
Das Schloss – In Germany, you don’t go to visit “The Castle”, instead you always go to a Schloss, which is a castle, but it’s not because it’s a Schloss, and YES, although very few people who visit me seem to know this prior to arrival, Nürnberg has a pretty Schloss. This is the first place that any official tour will most likely have on their itinerary, and so I have put it first on mine too. It does cost money to go inside (so I can’t tell you too much about that) but there is a beautiful courtyard you can visit and a great view point that you can go to for free! You can also look at the outside of it, which is also pretty. I’m sure there’s some relevant history about it, but all you really need to know is that it’s important, it’s old, it’s pretty and it’s up high.
Wanderer – On to the really important stuff. I’m not quite sure exactly how to describe this place, but it’s kinda like a Biergarten without the Garten part and takes over the entire street. The bar itself is a tiny hole in the wall with a large number of local beers available, and the concept is that you go and sit outside, on the ground, precariously and delicately balance your Bierglas on the cobbled floor (it’s a 2€ Pfand, you don’t want to break that), and you just watch idiots do idiot things (people watching is sooo last year). Sitting in the shadow of the Schloss amongst the historic city walls while chugging on some world renowned Franken brew is really rather beautiful.
Wöhrder See – This is lake #1 on our little tour of the city. For those of you who like to vacation on the coast, this is your best chance to get sand in your shoes, your ears, and all over your bedroom floor for the next week, as there is a tiny little beach where all the students like to hang out and drink (as public drinking in Germany is not only legal but highly encouraged). For those of you not wishing to drink themselves into oblivion, or who are there before 4pm (kein Bier vor vier), it is also an excellent place to take a long but leisurely stroll around the perimeter. You can also jump inside giant inflatable balls, go swimming, get chased by geese, or hire those romantic paddle boat things, which I always enjoy watching, silently hoping that some idiot is going to fall out of. Somewhere around the Northern side, there is a fancy restaurant, but I’m too poor for such luxuries.
Großer Dutzendteich – Take a romantic stroll in the shadow of the Third Reich! Enjoy a glass of wine where Hitler held his rallies! Around this lake there are many small pieces of Nazi architecture, some of which such as the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände (I dare all you native English speakers to try that one) have been added to by modern architects to symbolise the end of the Nazi era, and there is lots of information about the pieces that remain on boards around the park. The surrounding grounds are also used for big music and beer festivals, which for me is beautiful, as the Germans have taken a place associated with such evil and negativity and turned it into a place for partying, celebration and heavy drinking. When the lake freezes over, plenty of people use it for ice skating, and this is also a great place for dog stalking, Biergartening (it’s a real verb, trust me) and some gentle strolls amongst the trees.
Altstadt – It is very typical of German towns and cities to have a historic center usually referred to as the “Altstadt”, which roughly translates as “Tom, stop patronising your mostly German readers”. Much of the Altstadt in Nürnberg was destroyed in the war but has since been rebuilt and restored to its former glory. Walking among the historic beamed buildings, and along the river and the waterfalls is a very pleasant experience that will make you feel very much like you are in Germany. This is also where you can find most of the restaurants, bars, and lost American tourists. You can also check out the view of the iconic Henkerhaus which is a great place to observe hungover students drinking at 10am.
Döner Kebap – Some of the suburbs in Südstadt (mine included) are largely populated by Turkish people, and fuck, do they know how to make some beautiful food. As much as I love German food, the Turkish food is just better, healthier (usually) and considerably cheaper, plus closer to where I live. I do feel like every German is on a permanent mission to find the best local Döner and I can definitely point you in the direction of a few that will blow any Brit’s mind after their 4am drunken regret in Bedford Place that left them chained to the shitter for an entire week, praying for a gentle death. The problem is that it’s far too cheap and convenient and I am in danger of putting those 6 kilos back on that I gained from my short holiday in Turkey.
Fahrraden – Nürnberg is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in one of the most bicycle friendly countries in the world, as multiple signposts will keep telling you at every bicycle intersection. There are heaps of specially designated cycle paths which means that you have minimum exposure to angry BMW drivers who don’t understand the one way systems. Luckily, there is only really one hill which is the one that the castle sits on top of. Cycling is probably quicker than taking a car around the city, and it is an excellent way to experience the culture and to piss off pedestrians in the process.
Schweineschäufele – For those of you who love putting dead pig in your pie hole as much as I do, the local delicacy (other than “Drei im Weckla” – forcing three sausages between buns (it’s sometimes quite a stretch)) is a slow cooked pig shoulder with some lovely crispy fat. It’s fucking beautiful, if somewhat overpriced and really only eaten these days by the tourists. Pair this with some Frankisch Bier and cherish your cultural food baby. Those big black meaty balls in the photo are a type of Knödel, and I enjoy having them in my mouth rather a lot. I did also have a date, but he was in the bathroom when the food arrived. #DAMMITTIM.
This really is just the tip of the iceberg and the more touristic reasons to love Nürnberg. If you want to scratch deeper below the surface, I have an air mattress with your name on it.
– Tom @ indieroad