Nürnburg Christmas Markets
by Heidi Obermeyer
Hello my darling readers! First of all, let me welcome you to my new blog. Sorry to make you all toodle on over to a new URL, but this will be much easier to organize and will let center the text below my photos. Why yes, now that you ask, that is a very important aspect of the writing! Just think of how many people have been turned away thinking, “Pfff, why would I read this? This girl can’t even center her photo captions!” What a tragedy.
Anyway, time to share with you all a trip I took a few weeks ago to some of the most legendary Christmas markets in Germany- those in Nürnburg! Or, to confuse you further, Nuremburg- there’s an English and German spelling of the city’s name. So all this time I’ve been thinking that one of two things has been going on: 1, I can’t spell Nürnburg for some reason, or 2, there are two separate yet strikingly similar cities in Germany with very similar names. Never fear, the problem is now solved!
Nürnburg is reachable with the Bayern Ticket, and with the 5 of us we each only payed 6 Euros for our round-trip train ride to the city. Around this time of year everyone and their mother was trying to get to Nürnburg from Munich, and to add to that pressure there’s 2 different trains you can take. The first is a regional express that gets you to Nürnburg in a little under two hours, and the second gets you there in somewhere around three. The catch is that the regional express only runs a few times a day, and no one in their right mind is going to spend an extra hour on the train when there’s a faster one. Hence, the regional express is extremely crowded and you have to fight your way through the crowds at the platform to snag a seat, least you be stuck standing for that entire train ride.
Here’s a giant church near the Christmas markets. A good amount of the city center was still made up of some really nice old buildings, which can be sort of rare in Europe since everybody went around bombing the bajesus out of each other a few decades back.
Here’s a cool little stand where one can buy star lamps. I love star lamps! Plus they add such a nice ambiance to the markets at night. Or during the day. Star lamps are great pretty much any time.
Whenever you buy Lebkuchen in the States, you’re probably buying some that proudly claims to be from Nürnburg. This place is a delicious cookie filled Mecca. Let me just say, there’s a reason they go to the trouble of shipping these suckers all the way over the ocean.
This market was also the first one where I got to try Glühwein (hot, spiced white or, more commonly, red wine). I’m not really a big red wine fan so I wasn’t overly impressed, but it definitely warms the soul while you’re out standing around in the freezing cold for hours feeling excited about Christmas! Plus you get a super fantastic mug with a picture of the city where you are on it to drink out of. You pay pretty hefty Pfand (deposit) to use the mug because lots of people take them home as a little souvenir of surviving being outside for an entire day in the middle of December.
Here’s a lebkuchen (gingerbread-type cookies made for Christmas in Germany- I’ll write another post on those later!) hut hanging out in the middle of the market. It has a creepy Hansel and Gretel vibe…
Nürnburg is apparently well-known for these tiny little “Wursten” that are quite similar to a brat you would get in the U.S., but quite small. You eat them with a roll and some Senf (mustard), which is absolutely delicious (and I don’t even like mustard!)
Nürnburg was a decent Christmas market experience, but now having been to markets there, in Munich and in Prague (all of which are quite well-known for their markets, see this article) I can definitely say that the best experience I’ve had has been in Munich, where there’s multiple markets spread across the city with lots of different themes. Maybe it was only because we went on opening weekend, but Nürnburg was just overcrowded and had lots of stands that were repeats of the same thing (I mean, you can only look at handmade glass ornaments so many times before the “wow” factor fades a little bit). However, I’d definitely like to go back to the city in summer to check everything out again with fewer crowds, including some of the older buildings and the city wall.