Nuremberg or in German is ‘Nürnberg’ is famous for some most beautiful of Christmas Markets set in the historic old former medieval town that dates back hundreds of years.
We are currently making our way around Europe. It is a new way to travel for us, as we are travelling by train using our Eurail First Class Eurail Pass and it is proving to be a very affordable option compared with the expensive road tolls, fuel, and winterisation of the vehicle we had previous time we were in Europe two years ago. Plus it is very relaxing on-board.
Not only that, we can sit and use the complimentary wifi, order a nice hot coffee, and relax in First Class. Today, we even had a man bring us around a tray of chocolates!
We arrived in Nuremberg and our hotel was right opposite the station. This was a real bonus for us.
The receptionist at Ringhotel Loew’s Hotel Merkur Nürnberg and I played a joke on Explorason that their wi-fi was broken and you should have seen the look on his face! Nice staff and a good laugh.
We had a cosy room and I loved the spa jacuzzi bath and the massive bathroom. Explorason loved the daily candy packets left on our pillows.
We changed into warm clothes, logged onto the complimentary wi-fi (yes they do have it), donned our silly Christmas sweaters, Santa caps, and even reindeer ear muffs, and set out to explore the old town.
It was a sheltered walk through the railway station, that is also a massive underground and ground level shopping complex to get to the old town. This allowed us time to stay lovely and warm too.
We emerged and it was already dark.
The old city was pumping. Although late afternoon, the next day is set to be the shortest day of the year, so darkness fell early.
It was easy to follow the crowds to the Christmas Market, but there were also massive signs – just in case!
We stopped along the way to take photographs, listen to buskers, and to ‘drink in’ the ambience of this stunning German medieval city.
Christkindlesmarkt is the German name for this Christmas market that is held annually in Nuremberg, Germany and that takes place during Advent.
It can be found in the ‘Hauptmarkt’ or in English, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town, and as we later discovered on our second night it also spills into the adjoining squares and streets.
As soon as we entered the main arena the aroma of cooked sausages filled the air. Explorason shot over like a bolt of lightning for ‘drei im Weggla’ – Nuremberg sausages or ‘3 in a roll’. He thought it was so fantastic, he went to another stall to purchase his second on about half an hour later.
I enjoyed cooked corn on a cob, plus a steaming cup of ‘GlühWein’ or ‘mulled wine’ that came in a souvenir 2016 ceramic printed keepsake mug.
We strolled around the main square and loved looking at all the Christmas decorations and unique items for sale like the famous ‘prune’ characters.
We had a fantastic night and only got through about half the market when exhaustion hit and we headed back to the hotel.
Explorason has discovered a new love this evening. TEA. Yes my boy has decided herbal teas are his newest drink he fancies, and that he is the best tea maker there is (he is so humble?!) ‘Peppermint’ for me, and ‘Fruits of the Forest’ for him. We thought this Tea Bar was a great idea and headed back to our cozy room with our evening ‘cuppa’.
Sadly we woke to terrible news of the terrorist attack at the Berlin Christmas Market that occurred last night. This hit home to us as we had been in these Christmas German markets and thoughts of ‘what if it had been here?’ came to mind.
I opened my laptop to see many worried friends unsure of where we were in Germany having emailed and left Facebook messages.
When we went down to breakfast many people were naturally sad and upset. It took me over an hour to reply to all my messages after breakfast. Even a hotel I have booked for January wrote me an email as they knew we were in Germany to see if we were OK.
It was late morning before we finally hopped on the tram to go exploring.
We chose the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and Documentation Centre. Although not a fun place to visit, we make a focus of world-schooling, and Explorason has an interest in Hitler, and extremist world leaders. I feel as a parent it is important to
We ended up changing trams to get there but hopped off at the wrong spot. So we walked a way and caught another tram but then we overshot the museum and had to walk ten minutes back. So it took us way too long to get there.
When we did arrive we were surprised at the quietness of the museum, and we listened to our ‘lollipop’ looking headset which gave us each exhibition description. Before long we were listening to how Hitler lured the Germans with his charm, and how he became a cult following. They were desperate after the First World War, and he appeared like a Saviour.
It reminded me of leaders were have recently learned about in communist countries that we have visited. Such an evil man, but it was interesting to see how the displays and learn.
The warm goats cheese salad with beer salsa was sooo nice! Explorason loved his ‘make your own’ hot chocolate with a pork schnitzel for his main course. The serves were massive, but this is Germany – they love their food!
We darted across the main road to the nearby tram stop, and we planned next to ride the Stage Coach in the Old Town.
But as we passed a shoe store on the tram, I saw a sale on snow boots which I desperately need for Liechtenstein, and so we jumped out! I was pleased with the bargain price, and we popped back on the tram to return and deposit them at the hotel.
Fortunately, I checked my emails and we discovered that due to the Berlin incident last night the Stage Coach ride was canceled for the remainder of the day for security.
We were so disappointed, but we understood and this gave us time to change. We decided that out of respect we wouldn’t wear our Christmas sweaters or Santa caps. But we did want to return to the local Christmas Market Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt to show our support.
We are glad we returned – at first the streets seemed decidedly empty, but then the market slowly filled.
At 6:00 p.m. the church bells began to ring and we all stood and remembered the tragedy of Berlin the night before.
Tears rolled down the face of the lady who was serving me as she silently gestured for the silent mourning period. Five or ten minutes later (I’m not sure which) the bells ceased and the market fell into silence.
Then the choir started to sing about the “Father holding them in his arms”. That made me cry.
We both personally are no strangers to acts of terrorism.
We were nearby in Tunisia last year when the attack occurred there – far closer to us than this, so this brought it all home to us once more. This is the second time now we have been in a country where a terrorist attack occurred, and we were at the Christmas markets last night. It could have been us had we decided on earlier plans to be in the north of Germany.
After getting a giant gingerbread biscuit for Explorason, we passed buskers playing Christmas carols, and folks seemed to be out in droves milling around the wooden candy-striped chalets drinking their ‘GlühWein’ or ‘mulled wine’.
It was time to experience traditional Bavarian dining, and we were delighted to manage to find an unoccupied table at Zurn Spiessgesseilen.
Knowing the serves of food in Germany are usually huge, Explorason selected a lentil soup that was more like a thick meaty stew. He only managed to get through half. I went for the broccoli soup with sour-dough bread, and didn’t finish mine either. That was it; we ate only Soup! We couldn’t even manage Main Course!
As we walked through this ancient city one last time, we both wished we had longer to stay. Such a pretty place, even in the dark of a wintery night.
Nuremberg, we are so pleased we discovered you!