Nuremberg, The Emperor’s Favourite City

Having grown up in Bavaria (of which Nuremberg is a part), Germany, I had been to Nuremberg more than once, but I only really got to know this Frankonian gem some ten years after I had relocated to London. Through work I took over a 2.5-months assignment there from June to August 2015 and I had a great time.

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It was the hottest summer in decades with temperatures north of 40 Celsius over weeks in a row, bit too hot for my taste, but still, overall I loved the sunny, hot weather.

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I stayed at a hotel that was equidistant to the central station (from where the subway only takes 12 minutes to the international airport), the office, and old town: 5 minutes each. In London my wife and I are usually feeling lucky if the commute is less than 45 minutes.

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I hadn’t realised how much I craved German food. On the weekends I typically had three main meals in restaurants, usually for around £7 to £8.50 each, at the beginning of my stay, I only varied between Schaeufele (the town’s signature dish, pork shoulder on the shovel-shaped bone), Nuremberg sausages (the famous local sausages, made from coarsely ground lean pork and usually seasoned with marjoram, salt, pepper, ginger, cardamom, and lemon powder; each bratwurst measures 7 to 10cm in length and proper Bavarians would typically have 9 or 12 in one go), and Bavarian pork roast.

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Only after five or six weeks I started to phase in other (also very meaty) dishes like schnitzel, pork medallions, filled beef roulades, or Tafelspitz (boiled top round beef fillet) in horse-radish sauce. For two and a half months I was in culinary heaven. Even though I went for a morning run and did an evening workout in the gym nearly every day, I still gained a bit of weight, but I felt it was worth it.

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During week-nights I was usually eating out at Marientorzwinger or Barfuesser Brewery. On weekends, when my wife was visiting, we tried out some of the other places. Our favourite was Albrecht-Duerer-Stube, a bit pricey by local standards, but still a bargain compared with London prices (~£ 12 for a main dish).

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The city, which, together with nearby Fuerth and Erlangen, forms one of the largest metropolitan areas in Germany, with a total population of about 1.25 million (of which about 750,000 is proper urban area; the population of the city of Nuremberg is only just over 500,000) was nearly completely destroyed during the WW II bomb raids (the lingo back then was “near-perfect example of area bombing”).

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It is mind-boggling, how these hard-working local people managed to rebuild a good part of the old town to nearly its former glory, including the beautiful Imperial Castle.

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