Nuremberg: Old City Walls and Tiny Sausages

After checking into my cozy stateroom, I resisted the urge to pass out for the next 12 hours,

and instead took the first shuttle into Nuremberg. Though I felt heavy with jetlag, it was the sunshine, excitement, and abundance of cobblestone that carried me through the rest of the day.

I took a full year of German classes in university, and hoped that my basic knowledge of the language would magically return to me after all these years. However, it seems the only phrases that have stuck with me include “Ich habe hunger” (I‘m hungry) and “Ich leibe apfelkuchen” (I love apple cake—or any kind of kuchen, really). So while I wasn’t in a great position for communicating in German, I brought out my best danke schön’s and aufwiedersehen’s and hit the streets of the Old Town, the oldest part of Nuremburg enclosed by thick stone walls.

I first came across an Italian market, a scene almost too perfect for words. White tents dotted old stone bridges, with vendors offering homemade pizza, hand-carved olive wood goods, Italian wines, cheese, and baked treats.

An abundance of outdoor seating allowed people to drink aperol spritzes in sunlit happiness. 

I kept walking, and arrived at “Café Bar Wanderer” in the Northwest corner of the Old Town.

This lively café was built into the side of the old city wall, and its sunny patio was FULL of people enjoying fine food and drinks.

I ordered myself a campari soda (Campari and Aperol cocktails are EVERYWHERE in Europe!) and joined the convivial scene.

I sipped my cocktail in full view of the timber-framed house that belonged to Albrecht Dürer, the iconic wood print artist from the 16th century.

Dürer was born in Nuremberg and also died there; he’s buried in the beautiful St. Johannis cemetery.

Many German cities have their own particular sausage specialty, and by the end of my walk, I found myself seated at the Original Nürnberger Bratwursthaus, staring down at a plate of these beauties.

In order to be considered legitimate, the traditional sausages of Nuremberg must be 7-9 cm in length, can only weigh 20-25 grams, and are only sold in Nuremberg, as legislated by the "Schutzverband Nürnberger Bratwürste" (The Association for the Protection of Nürnberger Bratwürste). These small links are spiced with fresh marjoram, fired over a beech wood grill, and “best eaten by the dozen,” I was told. I won’t argue with that!

With a stein in one hand, and a plate of sausage and sauerkraut before me, I felt incredibly accomplished. The table of Germans next to me must have gotten a real kick out of the solo Canadian grinning like a fool while stuffing her face.

If I had to fly back after just this first day, I’d have been totally satisfied. Luckily, there was a lot more bratwurst and cobblestone to come. Up next: another day in Nuremburg spent exploring the Nazi rally grounds, visiting the Nuremberg castle, and discovering a few more culinary classics (including another kind of kuchen!).

** For an entertaining outline of common German sausage idioms, check this out.


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