Timeline: September 13th – 15th
We packed up camp the morning of our departure in wet conditions, not to be recommended if you can avoid it. It had rained all night but it let up a bit in the morning just enough to allow us to pack the tent away damp, but not soaked. In anticipation, we’d stowed away all of the other camp gear so the wet tent was all we had to deal with.
We stopped at the Spar and then at a Billa Market on the way out of town to replenish supplies (snagged a couple of nice sandwiches for 2 Euros apiece), filled up the gas tank and hit the road for what should have been a three-hour drive. Unfortunately, construction on the autobahn added another hour or so to the drive and we arrived in Nuremberg later than anticipated, close to the end of the afternoon.
We were lucky to have booked a room in a nicer Ibis property, probably a business hotel, just outside of Nuremberg’s wall for 42.50 Euro a night, an absolute steal for the quality of the property. The receptionist was exceptionally gracious to us, helping us to secure our bikes, advising us about the parking, and making our arrival easy instead of difficult.
When you’ve been living in a tent for a month or so (our retro trailer in Cesky was still like camping) checking into a reasonably nice hotel room is like waking up on Christmas morning. Here are the gifts we unwrapped:
- Unlimited hot water in the shower and a toilet, just a few feet away from your bed.
- Temperature controlled environment
- Good Wi-Fi (I paid 6 Euros for the upgrade which included three devices)
- Cable TV, albeit none of it in a language we could understand
- No leaks, no wet tent, no damp tent floor
We relaxed a bit after the drive; drinking a beer out of the stock we’d picked up in Salzburg, then set out to walk the few blocks around the hotel in search of a bite to eat. Next to a large market (Martkauf) nearby was a Kebab stand, just the ticket for budget minded individuals like ourselves tiring of the somewhat heavy cuisine prevalent in the area we were traveling in. For 5 Euros total, we received two large chicken Doner wraps, complete with lettuce, tomatoes and lots of tasty sauce.
We made a quick run through the Martkauf as it would be closed the next day (Sunday) and anticipating quite a bit of indoor sheltering in the next month or so, purchased a 12 Euro 1 liter hot pot with a Euro plug in order to heat water in the mornings in hotels and campground cabins for that all important cup of coffee, as they frown on you using your gas stove to cook in rooms.
We retired to our room, full of Doner and happy to be dry. We set up the MacBook Pro on the bed, balanced the Bose Mini-Bluetooth on a pillow, and blissfully watched the Sound of Music; relishing the scenes we could recognize from the Salzburg we’d just visited.
We awoke the next morning to a great view from the window, blue skies with fleecy white clouds chasing each other across your field of vision. In might not last the whole day, but it was a nice way to start it. We utilized the new hot pot to make coffee, enjoyed a breakfast of yoghurt with cereal (crunchy muesli) mixed in and made our way from the hotel to begin our walking tour.
As mentioned earlier, this was our third trip to Nuremberg. The first was in 1982, then again in 2002 with Irene and Ric Johnson, when we got to meet her Aunts and Uncles and see the town through the eyes of natives. Instead of a long narrative about the walking tour we did, I’d like to riff a bit on this place, our prior visits, and the nice time we had this go round.
Nuremberg is a delight to visit. It is surrounded by a three-mile long wall and moat; many Central European cities (such as Vienna) tore down their walls to make way for expansion in the 1800s, and Nurnberg nearly did the same, but today we get to enjoy the benefits.
As a home base for the Nazi’s, Nurnberg’s low point came during World War II. By the end of the war, 90 percent of the Old Town was destroyed; it was the only German city hit worse than Dresden. Damaged buildings were repaired in the original Gothic style, a solution we’ve seen in a number of cities and here it works well, one can’t easily tell the difference between the old and the new.
We walked through town, checking off the boxes on the Steve’s tour, fondly remembering the sights we’d seen with Irene and Ric. One of our first stops was at a wurst stand to get an order of the famous Nürnberger Bratwurst, which we’d sampled in 2002 when Irene’s Aunt served us a hearty lunch with it as the centerpiece. Not your typical large bratwurst, these are smaller; often three comprises an order. Delicately spiced with a coarse ground meat filling and nice snap to the skin, they are a delight to ingest.
We covered all of the elements of the walking tour, making our way to the Imperial Castle, up a long steep hill. We opted not to spend the money to tour the interior, as it wasn’t rated that high in the book and the afternoon was drawing to a close. By now clouds were filling the sky and some moisture seemed poised to come our way, so we wound down through the gardens and made our way back to a recommended restaurant, the Burgwachter, just outside Castle’s main gate.
Although very much catering to tourists, they had a variety of items on the menu at very reasonable prices. We started with beers, Joanna ordering for the first time on the trip (our first encounter with it) her favorite smoked weisbier (Rauchbier-Weizen). We split a bowl of Cream of Pumpkin Soup, adorned with a dollop of cream, balsamic vinegar and pumpkin seeds. With a rich pumpkin taste offset by the slight acid of the vinegar, it was very, very nice.
Joanna’s appetizer of Smoked Trout turned out to be an enormous portion, containing a whole fish accompanied by a large salad of lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion and slaw, and best of all, also our first on the trip, a baked potato. I opted for the Roast Pork; two slices of tender pork, two large dumplings and light brown gravy. The meat was tender and although the dumplings are not my favorite, they work well for their intended purpose, which is to soak up the gravy.
For desert, which although full we were determined to order as it was one of our favorites, ApfelKuchel; Three thick apple rings coated in light dough and deep fried, then sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar blend and served with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. We still recall the delectable version we had in 2002 with Irene and Ric at the end of our 15 mile day of walking, a desert so good it forever stands in your memory as the supreme example of that type.
We pried ourselves from our seats and began the walk back to the Ibis. By now it was sprinkling out and we followed the length of the wall back to square that led to the hotel. For the third time in the span of our visits to Europe, we’d had a thoroughly enjoyable time in Nuremberg. Who knows, there could be a fourth. And I know where to get dessert.
Ibis Nuernberg am Plaerrer: http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-0888-ibis-nuernberg-city-am-plaerrer/index.shtml
Nürnberger Bratwurst: http://www.germanfoodguide.com/wurstdetail.cfm?wurst_number=10
Imperial Castle: http://www.kaiserburg-nuernberg.de/index.htm
Schlenkerla Rauchbier-Weizen: http://www.schlenkerla.de/rauchbier/sorten/sortene.html