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Published: June 11th 2018
Sometimes you feel like a nut
On the stairway leading up to our room at the Smile Hotel was a vending machine for beer and this one that dispensed cans of nuts.
Today the new X1 would get a breather. So far we had put on almost 500 miles in three days. Nürnberg is the ideal walking city.
As usual the day started off with a big breakfast. I've already waxed poetic too often over the German Frühstück, but it truly is a highlight of each day for me. I don't usually bother with breakfast at home. Here I go crazy. The Smile hotels offerings were not a disappointment. All the goodies I love: soft-boiled eggs, hard rolls, fresh butter, tomato, cheese and plenty of meats for a nice sandwich. There is always some sort of fresh juice. And unlike Italy, in Germany you get real orange juice. Not Tang.
This day would be another where our Fitbits got a nice workout. There would be no set route for our exploration of old town Nürnberg. We just walked toward the city's main gate and before too long were in the pedestrian only shopping district. Not too much shopping was done. The only item on my wish list was to get something, anything, at Jack Wolfskin. It seemed to me that every other German male I had seen had at least one
The walled city of Nürnberg
Within these walls lies the Altstadt or old city of Nürnberg. The actual city extends far beyond the original medieval city fortifications.
clothing item from the German version of Eddie Bauer or North Face. I'm not a fashionista by any stretch but something about their wolf's footprint logo really appealed to me. When we finally found their store at the end of a very long day of walking on cobblestones I was absolutely stunned by their prices. I had hoped to find a nice jacket or raincoat but even the discount rack had nothing under 200€. I ended-up buying a t-shirt for 20€. I needed to save money for beer and gas.
Even though we walked all day long and pretty much covered every single street of Nürnberg and each bridge over the Pegnitz river, we took plenty of time for refreshment and sustenance. The town was packed not only with non-German tourists but the locals took advantage of the extremely warm 78 degree temperature to get in some shopping as well. There were long lines at every ice cream/gelato shop we passed. Instead we grabbed an outside table at a bar adjacent to the Saturday farmer's market. The market was full of shoppers and farmer's trying to sell their bounties of white asparagus. Some vendors had various varieties
This is just one of many towers guarding the various city gates of the Altstadt. We entered the historic old town by this entrance which took us down Ludwigstrasse.
of white asparagus and with some pretty hefty price tags.
We leisurely sat ringside and watched the show before us. While enjoying a round of beers we did some serious people watching. Again, I learned much: German men don't mind wearing shorts in public, but hardly any girls do. Guys seem to love neon colored sneakers. And for some stupid reason men are buying a lot of shirts and jackets that say "Camp David" with nonsense sayings written all over them. Pearls like "Deep Sea Research Blue", "Polo Championships Challenge", "Traditional Australian Football Council" and "Luxury Membership Beach Club". I think they just like to see words written in English ;never mind whether they mean anything.
A walk through the historic side of town is much more taxing since Kaiserburg Castle was built at the top of a steep hill. After checking out two of the many churches there we opted not to climb all the way up to the old castle. Although Nürnberg Castle is an excellent defensive bastion it was rarely used by Germanic kings. It wasn't occupied more than a few days each year. The citizens of Nürnberg who
were supposed to pay for decorating the castle instead bought furnishings for themselves and on the rare occasion the king or emperor came to visit, they would move all the furniture from their homes to the castle for the duration of the royal visitor's stay. As soon as he left, they took it back home. Therefore today's castle is pretty much bereft of items from the medieval period.
Instead of feeding our minds we decided to fill our bellies with a stop at Nürnburg's most famous sausage restaurant - Behringer´s Bratwursthäusle. The local sausage is not like Bavarian Bratwürst, Berlin's Currywürst nor Munich's Weisswürst. These are little finger sized roasted beauties made of pork. You eat them by the half dozen. Served along with warm potato salad and a cold beer this peasant food is quite pleasant. Once again we sat outside in a shaded garden just below the clanging bells of St. Seebald's church. We were joined by scores of locals taking a break from shopping and sunning.
Once we had hoisted a couple of brews we visited some of the other historic sites in town: the home of Albrecht Dürer,
Just inside the city walls
We couldn't figure out whether you could walk along the city walls here like you can in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber. It looked like all the doors built into the old bulwark were privately owned and perhaps led to actual houses.
Pilatushaus, Der Schoene Brunnen, a few antique shops, and Weißgerbergasse, a street full of colorful half-timbered houses. But as old as most of these places look to be, almost all are rebuilds. Nürnberg was virtually leveled in World War II because it had been a symbol of the rise of Nazism and had been an important railway depot. Little did the Allies know that just below street level, in man-made caves carved in the sandstone, millions of dollars worth of precious art stolen from conquered eastern European countries was being kept. Since we had done a tour of the underground bunkers on our previous ED we passed, but it is well worth exploring. There is just so much history in this town. We also walked around the medieval city walls before deciding to get out of the heat of the sun to stroll along the picturesque Pegnitz river.
With nothing on the agenda we just spent the afternoon exploring all the nooks and crannies of old Nürnberg. Everyone was out shopping but very few carried more than a single bag. I think most were just out enjoying the weather and getting exercise. Based on what I
Historic slot machines
Nürnberg seems to have a casino on every block. All of them look kind of seedy and I don't recall seeing anyone walking in but when you go to bed at 9 pm like we do you might miss the practitioners of the gambling arts.
saw of German TV and radio, I'd also be spending most of my time out of the house if I lived there.
We were fascinated by people walking into a food store with bags full of empty soda and water bottles then watched them stick each bottle into a big machine that spun the bottle around checking its size and weight then sucking it down inside. A coupon refunding the deposit would soon spit out and could be used in that store. Just to try it out I bought a Coke, chugged it down then filmed the deposit refund process. It doesn't take much to amuse us.
And if that isn't odd enough, we spent another half hour sitting on a bench watching tourists trying to operate the pay toilet situated smack dab in the middle of a plaza. After every use the machine would lock out prospective users for a full minute while it self-cleaned. You can only stay in there a maximum of 10 minutes. One guy was practically hopping up and down as he waited for two other folks in front of him to go through the process. Another was in there
The White Tower marks the beginning of the pedestrian-only zone, aka the shopping area of Nürnberg.
so long I thought the door would open and reveal him in a rather delicate situation. It was also interesting to see two women hop into the phone booth-sized bathroom together just to save an Euro.
We enjoyed our previous night's dinner at Karl's Brückla so much we went back there again to cap off our 17,000 step day. My feet hurt so badly I thought about taking a cab back to the hotel. Fortunately a couple of beers numbed the pain and we hobbled back to the Smile Hotel. We capped off our fun day with a little German game show action on the TV. They certainly don't chose their game show hosts for their looks or charisma over there. The contestants had more personality.
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