The complete set of photos from this post are at https://flickr.com/photos/julianwhite-uk/albums/72177720298513527/with/52040007575/.
Tuesday’s entertainment for me was a little meander around Nuremberg towards the castle, trying to avoid the graffiti that was everything to take some photos of quaint old roads. I failed here as can be seen from the graffiti on the right, but I was much more successful later on in the day, they take pride in the castle area it seems.
No graffiti…. A good amount of the city is pedestrianised, which I very much like, although I think there’s potential for more seating to be placed around the place. There’s plenty of foliage and floral displays though which all add to the charm.
A picturesque scene with a bridge over the Pegnitz.
I liked the angles of this photo (although managed to not make the image level, but there we go), but more graffiti…
The city does though have some considerable beauty and charm, it was pleasant on a warm Tuesday afternoon.
I was walking in the direction of the city’s castle, located to the north of the city walls.
The defences under the castle, this is a proper medieval construction.
This monument is in tribute to Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and was installed here in 1984. It’s a bit dramatic.
There are many interesting things about Dürer, who lived in the city, but this is what I think is his more intriguing work. He drew this having never seen a rhino, he was just going off a description from someone who had seen it. It has become something of a defining image of a rhino, which is especially impressive given he had no real idea what they looked like. I couldn’t draw anything like that and I have quite a good idea of what they look like.
And now comes the climb to the castle.
I don’t care what Dave Morgan might say, this is a hill. It also switched back at the end of this summit for another climb.
The castle, this is much more what I expected Nuremberg to look like. It’s the former home of the Holy Roman Emperors when they were in the city, making it one of the most important medieval locations in this part of Europe.
This to me was the heart of Nuremberg, not just as the castle is where the city grew up from, but it’s beautiful and well-maintained. There’s plenty of seating here and I got distracted with my book for some time on the nearby benches. There was nearly no-one around, it was really quite pleasant just hearing birdsong rather than the revving of engines that seemed to be the main performance for parts of the weekend.
This is the base of the former moat which went around the city, a circular walk I had completed the day before.
A monument in honour of Georg Christoph Eimmart (1638-1705) who was a draughtsman and mathematician, but known locally for founding the first astronomical observatory in the city.
The view over the city, the spires of St. Sebaldus Church are visible on the right.
The base of the castle. The situation in Ukraine is a reminder of how cities needed to defend themselves from attack and I’m fairly confident that given a few weeks that Nuremberg could defend itself given its extensive fortifications and structures that are already in place. The Holy Roman Emperors must have felt safe here.
It was certainly much quieter than it had been during the Easter weekend when there was hardly a table available outside a pub.
Unless it was just my imagination, the north of the city centre seemed to be much cleaner than the area to the south. I started to like Nuremberg a lot more after this little meander around.
The house of Wenzel Jamnitzer (1508-1585), a goldsmith and artist.
At least he is remembered for his creations, although much of his work was likely destroyed during the Thirty Years War.
As mentioned, I liked Nuremberg much more when it was a normal day, as opposed to a busy day over the Easter period, it was much calmer. Although I had to rush slightly at this time as the sale fares were being released for the Great British Railways (or whatever ridiculous name Grant Shapps has given the network) half price offer. Not that it was of much relevance to me, but there were a few trips I was excited about planning.
I was visiting the city over the Easter weekend, which had made entering churches a bit challenging as they were quite rightly more focused on their religious celebrations. So, I went to the St. Sebaldus church on the Tuesday, when some sort of normality resumed.
The formidable church was damaged during the Second World War bombings, although most of the interiors were saved. There has been a church at this site since 1225, although it took them around fifty years to complete their first effort. The church was expanded in the fourteenth century, with the towers added in the fifteenth century and it’s these which are perhaps the most notable architectural element.
There were some intricate carvings around the church.
This isn’t my photo, it’s from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Judensau_nuernberg_sankt_sebald_kirche_2.jpg as I missed this piece of stonework. This presents the authorities a problem, it’s an anti-Jewish sculpture from the 1380s which shows Jews suckling from a pig. I mean, this is far from ideal in Nuremberg of all places. Oddly, the much lengthier German article on Wikipedia about the church doesn’t mention this, but the shorter article on the English article does. Without wanting to sound like Christopher Hitchens, not that I’d even have his eloquence and control over the English language, but this is an unfortunate example of the hatred that the Catholic Church were so fond of. Although this church has been part of the Lutheran church since the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 and they’ve never removed it, although I’m pleased to note that there’s a strong partnership between the church and the Jewish community today.
An old wall painting inside the church, it’s such a shame so many of these have been lost over the centuries.
As can be seen from the imagery of keys, this is St. Peter’s altar and there’s relevance here as the church was once dedicated to him, before being rededicated to St. Sebald in the later medieval period.
Looking back at the nave from the chancel.
Next I took the opportunity to visit St. Lorenz church (I had taken this image earlier in the week). Work started on this in the mid-fourteenth century and it was completed by around 1400, with the church being one of the first in Germany to become Lutheran, in 1525.
There’s a display at the front of the church about the damage done during the Second World War, which was substantial as is evident in the photos here. The rebuilding of Nuremberg was swift, and they made a decision to try and keep the old streetlines, which has helped to maintain the city’s historic feel even where the replacement buildings are a little drab.
A photo taken from the transept area, looking towards the nave. There has been an almighty argument about modernisation plans to this church, which I’ve only taken a brief look at, but they were wanting to make substantial changes at a cost of €6 million which mostly seemed to involve how to store the chairs as far as I can understand from the plans. Heritage organisations intervened and the church has stepped back from its plans, cancelling their big new storage area and instead scaling back somewhat to focusing just on fire protection measures that were needed. However, the architects on the project say work will still need to take place, but they’re consulting more widely.
A photo from the same place as the previous one, looking towards the chancel.
I decided to visit Hausbrauerei Altstadthof given that it brews its own beer which is reasonably well reviewed. I mention it’s reasonably well reviewed as for Untappd its ratings are quite average, but it has a reputation for being some of the best in Nuremberg. Here seems time for my radical comments (by radical, I mean comments that will likely be considered as horrifying by some) about German beer, which I’ve already alluded to, but since 1516 the Reinheitsgebot have applied in Bavaria and later on the whole of Germany. These rules meant that German beer can only consist of barley, hops and water which has meant that the brewing industry has been hampered over recent years. Brewdog, who have entered the German market, can’t call its beer produced in Germany as beer, but yet Heineken, which I consider a junk beer, meets all of the requirements.
Whilst accepting that everyone has different views on beer, I found the beer in Nuremberg to be routinely generic, although I admit that Rauchbier has some depth of flavour. Bavarians will inevitably disagree, there’s a pride amongst German brewers that their beers are some of the best in the world. Unfortunately, Greene King also think their beers are some of the best in the world, but I won’t go down that path again.
What this situation has done is put German beer, in my humble opinion, a country mile behind the beers of the UK, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal and so on. Realistically, Reinheitsgebot favours the large and wealthy national brewers, restricting smaller craft beer breweries from introducing products that have more flavour, innovation and taste. If German beer was world class, then there would be no need to worry about maintaining the purity laws, any beer that met the requirements would proudly mention that fact. There are also chemicals in many German beers, the purity laws have little to say about that. There are inevitably and of course some excellent German beers, but they’re hard to find and many venues don’t stock them.
Brewdog are on a slow and steady expansion across Germany, I can’t imagine it’ll take many more years for craft beer to become a major part of the trade in the country. And, as it stands, Brewdog will have to brew their beer outside of Germany and import it back in if they want to call it beer. I suspect Brewdog will be one of many, now is probably not a bad time to open a craft beer chain in the country. It’d be boring if everyone had the same views about beer though, a little controversy adds excitement to proceedings.
But, definitely enough controversy for now, I’ll leave it at that I struggled to be surprised and excited at the German beers that were available in Nuremberg.
After my wandering down a rabbit hole about beer, bringing this blog back to the pub I went to where the service was informal and professional. I went for the meat and cheese board which was nicely presented and served with some dry bread.
I tried two beers, the brewery’s RotBier and their HellesBier. Both tasted unexciting and generic to me, lacking in complexity, depth, mouthfeel or really anything else. They were refreshing and at the appropriate temperature though, I’ll give them that.
The interior was suitably rustic and I enjoyed my visit, pleased to have visited an authentic “artisan brewer”. I’m aware there is inevitably a tourist element to this venue, but it felt authentically Bavarian.
Back to the Ibis hotel at City am Plaerrer for the second time, the barman was friendly and engaging and managed to surprise and delight me by bringing over free peanuts. I’m not saying that I’m easily bought, but I did leave a five star review after that. The drink is a Hefeweizen, a wheat beer, which was surprisingly tolerable despite being produced by a national brewery.
Certainly, I was more relaxed in Nuremberg when it was quieter, this was the city at its best I thought.