We left Frankfurt this morning about 11am for the 2 hour trip to Nürnberg (Nuremberg), which we visited almost exactly four years ago, except on that trip, we went from Prague to Nürnberg and this time, the opposite direction.
Our hotel is so very close to the train station and it’s a straight walk down the pedestrian walkway, detouring thru the Frauentortum complex (directly across the street from the main train station), to the center of the old town where the Christmas market is centered. The Frauentortum is is one of the four main towers in Nuremberg’s Old Town fortification, completed sometime before 1386.
Although we stayed in the old town area, Nüremberg’s not so distant history in World War II is in evidence in parts of the city we didn’t visit and was the site of the post war crime trials. Being a symbolic center of Nazi Germany, it was heavily bombed in 1945 when 90% of the old town was obliterated by air raids in about an hour. So, literally nearly everything we see has been rebuilt.
Nürnberg has a fantastic Christmas (Christkindlesmarkt) market. Nuremberg’s Christmas Market is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas fairs. The pre-Christmas event on Nuremberg’s Main Market Square dates back to the mid 16th century. The first mention in writing is from 1628. In 1933, the Christmas Market moved back to the Main Market Square from its various venues around the city and was a much romanticised event. An actress dressed up as a christmas angel, accompanied by two golden christmas tree fairies, recited a prologue, a children’s choir sang, and church bells rang. Since 1969, the tradition has been different: every two years a young Nürnberg woman between 16 and 19 years of age was elected as Christkind for a two-year period.
We started out from our hotel about 3pm and of course none of the lights are lit as yet, but they are all in place. Prior to getting all the way to the central market square, there are fruit, flower and heisse maroni (roasted chestnuts) stands.
The market square is just like I remembered (YouTube video).
Around the periphery are stands selling food and gluhwein (some scattered throughout as well) and the stands in the intervening walkways selling mostly handmade or local German Christmas decorations.
We treated ourselves to a traditional Nürnberg bratwurst (three small ones in a bun with sauerkraut) and lots of senf (mustard), cheap at 3.50€. Gluhwein was about 3€ plus 4€ for the decorative 0.2L cup.
By 5pm, it’s dark and the lights are on. Crowds have built up too, but not quite as crowded as Frankfurt.
Walking back towards the hotel, who should we see but Santa himself!
Although we did not have the time to tour the city, here’s someone who blogged about doing so.
Small addendum. I priced gasoline as we passed a gas station. It was 1.78€/liter or about $7/gallon.
Country count 1
City count 2
Total Christmas market count 2