If anyone had asked me where would I want to go for my first trip to Germany, I would have probably said Berlin or Munich. Because those are the most common destinations. However, I somehow ended up making my first steps on German territory in Nuremberg. I came to this decision after finding some cheap plane tickets, looking at some nice photos of the place and reading that it’s located in the very appealingly named region of Middle Franconia.
I had managed to read a bit about city sights, the Nuremberg Trials and the city’s tumultuous past, but I didn’t really know what to expect. What I discovered was a lovely town, full of history and charm. It is also a very green place. We got there at the end of April, so it all looked like a big garden, with blooming trees, colourful flowers and a lovely scent of spring all over town.
The old city centre is only a 15 minutes metro ride from the airport and it’s pretty compact, so you can easily move around on foot. However, should you need public transportation you will discover it’s very easy to use. We only resorted to it once, to get to the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. That’s a loooong name, I know. (It’s even better in German: Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände.) It is basically a museum dedicated to Nazi history of Germany and it’s set in the former Congress Hall of the Nazi party rallies, an impressive historic building, brought to day with a touch of contemporary architecture here and there. The experience you get is quite an impressive and haunting.
Back to the city center. Lovely little narrow streets, nice old architecture and, should you like, plenty of shops. Overlooking the whole city is the castle, which reminded me a bit of the one in Prague. The gardens are absolutely beautiful and the view from the tower is worth the way up. Next to the castle you can also find Albrecht Durer’s House, which I didn’t visit because I was too busy contemplating the little square in front of it. That place was probably my favourite spot in Nuremberg. It was a lovely sunny day and people were simply hanging out in the sun, sipping wine at one of the tables of the cafes all around, sitting on the ground and drinking a bear or having and ice cream on the benches under the beautiful chestnut tree in the center of the square.
The central market is a must, for ginger bread delights and all sorts of goodies. I personally loved the apple chips. Also, while we are talking food, if you are in Nuremberg, you must try the bratwurst. We tried Bratwursthäusle, a nice looking place next to the old City Hall and St. Sebaldus Church and we weren’t disappointed.
Another thing I had read about and wanted to visit were the secret gardens. Well, so I called them because they are not in plain sight, but a bit hidden. One is the Bürgermeistergarten and the other is the Hesperidengarten. They are set a bit outside the city walls, but totally worth the 10 minute walk. There are all sorts of other nice little green spots all along the banks of the river Pegnitz, that make Nuremberg the perfect spot for picnics and lazy afternoons in the sun.
So, after all, for a place I didn’t have any expectations of, Nuremberg turned out to be pretty great.