Munich – Wurzburg via Nuremburg

Last night a DJ didn’t save my life. But I did get a beer thanks to my recall of the 1980s kid’s TV show Fraggle Rock. It was a question in a pub quiz – presented entirely in English by a man from Cork – the The Keg Bar, described as “your international local”. It was a nice way to sign off my time in Munich.

So this morning involved my first full encounter with DB, the German railway system. The Eurail app suggests that no reservations are required for the 0950 to Nuremberg, so I select a set in First Class that seems to have the word “free” next to it. But no sooner had I settled down, a large man asks me to move, waiving a printed reservation. It seems ridiculous as there are plenty of other free seats. Then it happens for a second time – another passsenger saying he’s booked this precise seat and is unable to change it under any circumstances.

It all seems a bit unnecessary when there are other free seats all around us. A woman explains that the signs translate to “maybe free”. I’m baffled. At least the second man accepts my argument and takes the next seat down in the carriage. I assume this is a very German thing. It may also have something to do with NewsMutt standing his ground.

But let’s take a moment to celebrate the Deutsche Bahn ICE high speed trains. They really are a lovely bit of design, with wide and spacious open coaches featuring two seats on one side and one seat on the other. At the end of each carriage is a sleek quit zone featuring compartments with all glass doors and windows. And the thing that nobody wants to talk about but should… the vestibules – even the toilet corridors on these trains look inviting, while on the approach to stations, information screens give details of train and bus connections locally.

And so to Bavaria’s second largest city, Nuremberg. Yes, you will likely know its bleak history before, during and after the Second World War, but the city has its roots in Medieval times – the old town surrounded by a moat, walls and turrets. It’s the first feature you see as you exit the central station, though this part of the fortifications have been turned into a rather tacky tourist walkway with “authentic” cafes and gift shops.

Beyond this chintzy introduction, the Old Town opens up along Konigstrasse – King Street – and with only a couple of hours to explore before the connecting train, this is the best road to stay on and see many of the main sights. Market stalls line the route, stretching past the vastness of St Lorenzo’s Church.

In fact, Nuremberg boasts lots of huge churches within a five to ten minute walk. The Old Town crosses the Pegnitz river via several bridges. There are monuments for market traders and views along the waterways. Again, it’s a little early in the season to get the full flow of the tourist season, but exploring the city during a quieter period allows more time for reflection. Reflection and selfies of course.

Te road climbs steadily from the river towards the castle. There’s not quite enough time to get to it today, but below the ramparts the pretty Tiergartenertor provides a good place for a coffee and a snack.

A tunnel leads to the other extremity of the Old Town. Inside, a man optimistically plays an accordion in the hope of bagging a few Euros. But nobody’s really interested, On the street leading back through the city a number of bars and restaurants with balconies signal busy times ahead. I had originally planed to stay here for a couple of nights, but chose Munich as a last minute option. On reflection, Nuremberg may have been the better choice.

But that’s one of the beauties of choosing an Inter Rail ticket. he itinerary can be whatever you want it to be. It also provides a great way of seeing lots of places and deciding which ones you’d like to come back to. Nuremberg has been the briefest of stops. But now it’s time for something rather different (and it’s not Dusseldorf)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: