Bratwurst roasting on an open fire
Krampus nipping at your nose
Weihnachtslieder being sung by a Chor
And Volk dressed up like Nürnberger
Ho ho ho! It’s Christmas time in Nürnberg Germany. Franz and I were feeling in a Christmas mood and our Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas market) in Bregenz was charming, but a bit on the small side. So we ventured out to visit the world famous 400 year old Christkindlesmarkt in Bavaria Germany in the medieval city of Nürnberg.
The spicy aroma of gingerbread, roasted sugar coated nuts, and fruit loaves permeated the air as we entered the northern entrance of the fortified city walls of the old town of Nürnberg where the Nürnberger Castle has prominently resided since 1105. Within the courtyard a beautiful créche exhibition greeted visitors and we admired the fine handiwork of the contributing artisans. A festive sight greeted us as we made our way through the town center with around 200 wooden stalls covered with red and white cloth that had earned it the name “Little Town from Wood and Cloth” filled with traditional German Christmas offerings such as straw ornaments, golden angels, candles, wooden toys, and small figures made from dried plums. Only speciality goods from the region are allowed in the market with no modern made products permitted and the high standards are reflected in the selections. The food stalls were filled with all kinds of tempting tidbits to tempt the palate such as the yummy Nürnberg sausages with sweet Glühwein (spiced wine).
The medieval city sparkled in the early evening light that added a magical quality to the fairytale setting. The Pegnitz River flows through the town with the Fleischbrücke (meat bridge) arching gracefully over the waterway making for a romantic setting. Along the cobbled streets horses pulled carriages harkening back to the days of long ago. As we walked in the inner city we admired a few of the famed houses of worship including the Evangelical Lutheran Church St. Lorenz completed in 1400 and one of the town’s oldest churches St. Sebaldus that dates from 1273-75. In the market area we came upon brick Gothic Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) built between 1352-1362 that houses a famed collection of medieval art and the acclaimed Männleinlaufen (mechanical clock) that depicts the Holy Roman Golden Bull of 1356. In front of the church sits the 1369 German Renaissance Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain) that is famous for its stunning ironwork demonstrated in the intricate grill latticework surrounding the fountain. Legend has it that if a visitor touches a brass ring inserted within the grillwork it will bring them good luck.
For our evening meal we randomly chose a traditional restaurant in the historic center that served regional German food. And boy were we lucky! The restaurants name is Zum Spiessgesellen and we devoured a Franken speciality of the house called a Schäufele (small shovel) which is a tender pork shoulder served with Knödel (potato dumpling). We paired it with a Franconia Spätburgunder from Würzburg a mild red wine made from Portugieser and Pinot Noir grapes. The evening was particularly jolly with a brass band that came in to play some tunes for the guests. A wonderful meal, in a wonderful city, and a wonderful time of year.
So it’s been said many times many ways Merry Christmas to you!