I was in Prague for a few days and wanted to visit a nearby German town. So, I decided that it had to be either Dresden or Nuremberg as both cities can be visited on a day trip from Prague. I decided to document the whole trip and see if any of those two cities would help me with my project. To my surprise, Nuremberg tourism got back to me faster than Dresden and my destination was set.
Now, Nuremberg or Nürnberg as they dearly call it in German, historically speaking, is more significant than Dresden. The city walls are still intact since the war and it still has some traditional German feel to it. Around 5am, my companion and myself started walking toward Prague Florenc bus station. Flixbus seemed to be the best choice for Nuremberg as the commute takes only three hours…while trains usually take close to 4.5 hours. (FYI: Flixbus has toilets inside so one less headache for you) The driver scanned the QR code on our ticket stub and took a quick look at our US passports (he didnt even open it or verify the photos!) The bus started on time and stopped briefly by a Mc Donalds about an hour later.
We kept looking around through our windows to locate ourselves and around 8am the street signs began to appear in German. The bus arrived right on time at 9:30 at Willy Brandt Platz in downtown Nuremberg. We started heading to the Tourism Office to pick up our media kit as prearranged with their tourism board. In less than 5 mins of walk, we finally arrived at the Tourist Information center where we received our press kit. I take the opportunity here to thank Tourismus-Zentrale Nurnberg to make this all possible. They have been absoultely amazing in helping this trip happen…
The best part about Nuremberg is than you can visit most of their landmarks without having to take any transportation at all. However, we did take U-Bahn a couple of times just to see how it works and also to visit Reichsparteigelande (Nazi Party Rally Grounds, bus/tram stop: Doku-Zentrum). This is a must see because the walls are still intact and you will learn a ton about Nazi politics and realize that Germany has really come a long way since the war). The exhibition hall has documents from the Nazi era and several smaller rooms have video projectors showing bits from Hitler era… There’s a small cafetaria inside if you’re looking to grab something to eat.
After spending a good couple hours there, we decided to grab something to eat…Bratwursthäusle bei St. Sebald at Rathausplatz was our choice as it was right next to about everything else that we wanted to see. First off, the place was extremely crowded and even if there was a patio, it was just too cold for anyone to sit outside. We were asked to sit at a table where there were people already eating…(don’t worry, it’s not rude…it’s the German way of doing things as the restaurant is extremely tight on space) Personally I thought it was fun as you get to interact with others…I understand this would be unheard of in America, but, while in Germany, do like the Germans do! Please order the 9 piece sausage links with potatoe dumplings + some Lederer beer. You will absolutely love it!!
After a much needed lunch, we decided to visit the Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum, Karlstraße 13-15) which has some of the oldest of dolls and doll houses. After spending a little more than an hour there, I realized than I now knew more about how Germans contributed to the toy industry as we know it. While most of the tags and information cards along the displays are in German, you can always download Google Translate for free and scan whatever you’re trying to read. Created in 1971, the museum is considered one of the best toy museums in the world. It was culturally enriching to say the least. At the reception hall, you can even buy some fun toys and games on your way out, most of them costing under 10 dollars.
The main Christmasmarket is located right in front of Frauenkirche church at Hauptmarkt. This Gothic structure is absolutely stunning and was completed in 1361. It’s truly an architectural wonder from the Holy Roman Empire. As I walked through the market, I realized I had to try some Nürnberger Rostbratwurst or traditional bavarian sausages. This product gained the protection of “Protected Geographic Indication (PGI)” which was achieved in the EU by the especially founded Schutzverband Nürnberger Bratwürste e.V (Incorporated society for the protection of the Nuremberg Bratwurst), in 2003 (Source: bavaria.by) A three piece links on a bun would cost you around $7.
It’s at this Christmasmarket that we spent most of our time. Most of the products sold here are handmade Christmas ornaments and decorations but you will also find amazing gourmet sausages, gingerbread cookies and miniature toys. There was a lady selling organic pesto made in Würzberg. The sample was absolutely delicious!! As we stopped at the stalls, the vendors explained to us the origin of the products and how they were made…sometimes in broken English. Folks here are truly proud of their culture and they should be!
I have to tell you…as I type this, I realize that this trip made me fall in love with Germany. It’s truly a great nation full of great people and great food (which is underrated!)…The country is full of history and even though we all love those half-timbered houses, Germany is so much more than that.
As it started to get chilly, we started heading back closer to the bus stop and found a small Dunkin Donuts location on our way. Yes, they have Dunkin in Nuremberg. My phone battery running low, I grabbed a coffee and needed to charge my phone…Our bus back to Prague was at 9pm sharp.