I have travelled to this place three times and each time I thought to write a blog post about my adventures. I haven’t written about Nuremberg until now because I was waiting to see the city in the winter. Even after I saw it this Christmas, this post has taken me quite a long time to publish.
So I thought the best way to start off this post is through a photographic gallery of my first visit to a small town close Nuremberg called Lauf:
Lauf is a small charming town about 20 mins from Nuremberg with a lot of quaint shops, very traditional German architecture as evidenced in the pictures above surrounded by a lot of plush nature. This area is notorious for: gathering people at town festivals; charming bars (drinking beer and dancing); and town markets. For these people, eating out every Sunday is a must. I’ve been to Lauf three times and each time traditionally on Sunday we went to family-owned brewery/tavern Wiethaler for a satisfying German meal usually consisting of a huge piece of meat, potatoes or dumplings (Knödel) and tons of gravy with, of course, a local beer. Another speciality of the area are Nürnberger Bratwürste, tiny spicy sausages often enjoyed with Sauerkraut or simply in a bun.
Actually if I may, I will say, these guys know their beer and it’s always a pleasure to choose from a wide assortment of local beers. Nature walks are a must either before or after these heavy meals and you do in fact come upon some pretty interesting sights, like the springs of the local creeks that supply the water for the beers mentioned above!
Xmas markets in Lauf are representative of the town’s charm and one can ride in a carriage pulled by a well-groomed horse through tiny cobblestone streets.
So after we visited Lauf twice, once in the summer and another time in the winter I was ready to explore the big city, Nuremberg.
The city of Nuremberg itself, dominated by its iconic castle, is filled with tons of history, such as the St. Lawrence (St. Lorenz) Church that, while once Catholic, has belonged to the Protestants for hundreds of years. Its old walls and artwork tell stories of death, sacrifice, redemption and brilliant craftsmanship – the church has impressive 15th century wood carving, and one cheeky stonemason snuck a self-portrait into an array of saints and local noblemen.
Walking around the downtown core I am amazed to see such an extravagant Christmas market. I would say this market is the best I’ve seen in Germany so far. It’s massive and fills an entire city square, next to a church dating back to the 1350s, and its’ elegance steals your breath away. No wonder it attracts so many tourists every year.
Being a huge fan of Gerhart Richter, guess what happened at the very same time we were in Nuremberg – a Richter exhibit was featured a prominent newly-built museum of contemporary art, the aptly named Neues Museum. So we went, we saw, we were charmed by the painter and other modern pieces. I am attaching below a couple of works that I didn’t mind walking off with.
But this town has yet another side. For just one weekend before Christmas, the Fembohaus Museum opens its doors to local artists selling their uniquely made art pieces in between exhibits telling the history of the city.
You can be sure that I walked out with a couple of purchases supporting the local artists. So these guys have history, a wicked Xmas market, art exhibits, and museums supporting local artists. Enough said!
I guess the reason why it took me so long to write this post is I felt a bit intimidated by this town, because I felt in order to fully understand the depths of this town I would have to convert to their ways. It turns out, all I had to do was visit it three times, and their way of life becomes clear:
They want to preserve the history they fought so hard for.
Traditions need to be kept and respected! Museums full of information sheets on wars and maps need to be read by tourists and locals alike.
Respecting nature and learning to take as little as possible from it.
Traditional German food and beer need to inspire people to get together at local establishments.
And once all that has been done, there is room for more growth; growth such as supporting local artists!