NUREMBERG: Scene on the street

Time to read:

6 minutes

This is the post for photos that didn’t fit neatly into an earlier narrative or that I forgot to include when I had the chance.

The upside is that these snapshots often tell a little story that fleshes out the picture of the city in your head.

Ten years ago, when I arrived for German study, I realized I’d forgotten the lotion I used as an aftershave. I stopped at an Apotheke, and what I got was about two ounces of a medicinal cream for face abrasions. For more than $20.

It can be difficult to understand an “Apotheke,” unless you’ve been in one. Pharmacists, prescription drugs, allergy pills, cough syrup, etc., are likely to be found in an Apotheke.

Most of the rest of what you find in an American drug store is more likely to be on shelves in what the Germans call a “drug store” such as dm (drogerie markt) or Müller. Today, I’d start at a grocery.

I mention it because across the region, the Apotheke, especially downtown, is threatened. First, it’s a casualty of the pandemic and changes in where people work. But the culprits include long hours and the reality that drug prices (controlled by law) stagnate while expenses keep climbing.

Owners say it’s tough to find a young person who wants to take over the business.

Ten years ago, pharmacies numbered about 21,000 in Germany. Now it’s believed to be about 18,000. In Bavaria, the number has dropped from about 3,300 to 2,880. The big Nuremberg paper says the city now has 115 pharmacies, down 25 during the last decade. 


The train reminds me of the familiar “not near me” syndrome. As in our country, everybody agrees on a public good — unless it touches them.

The number of rail passengers in Germany needs to double by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas.

The German train operator, Deutsche Bahn, proposed a new CO2-emission-free Intercity Express maintenance plant in Nuremberg to be built by 2028. The proposal came with a $450 million investment and 450 new jobs.

But the towns proposed for its location uniformly opposed it. Residents said they feared nightly noise; conservationists opposed tree-clearing, etc. 

After two years of tests and talks, DB went to find a more welcoming location.


Photo: Lilium

Maybe the train won’t be needed next time I want to get from Munich to Nuremberg. By 2025, Munich airline Lilium plans to connect the two cities with a seven-seater jet that takes off and lands vertically.

The nearly silent, emission-free, electric plane has a range of 150 miles and can fly up to 175 miles per hour. The plan is to hold the cost to about the same as that of taking a taxi.

The plane is computer guided and flies without a pilot. A spokesman for Nuremberg airport notes that subways Two and Three run without a driver. “You get used to it,” he said. 


As we got ready for the trip, it was comforting to know that crime in Nuremberg was down to the lowest levels in 10 years. Authorities said everything that qualified as street crime was down.

Meanwhile, property damage, vandalism and graffiti-like smears were a little high, compared to 2019, the last year before the pandemic. Insults and isolated attacks against police were worrisome.

But when police went out in force, extremists and people abusing drugs or alcohol behaved themselves. I never saw a lone police officer.

In the train station, train operator Deutsche Bahn supplements with its own police.

In Munich, pickpocketing was down 23% during the pandemic. In fact, police said crime was down to a 40-year low.

If you believe the numbers, Munich is the safest major city in Germany — for the 46th time. Its crime rate (4,712 crimes per 100,000 residents) is roughly half that of cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt. 

According to Munich statistics, police in the city of 1.5 million had to use a gun only twice in 2020: Once the attacker was seriously injured; the other time nobody was hurt.

Police photos are taken from the back because authorities in Germany don’t like their faces recorded publicly.

Germany has strict privacy laws, but also police were edgy. In Nuremberg and Munich, police were out in force because of the possibility of protests by climate activists.

Most beautiful cemetery

Ten years ago, the cemetery of gothic St. John’s church was recognized as the most beautiful in Germany, and you can see why. Especially when the roses bloom, it’s a magical spot.

Visitors examine the grave of artist Albrecht Dürer

The cemetry contains the gravestones of famous Nurembergers such as artists Albrecht Dürer and Veit Stoß. Even the brass nameplates on some stones are classics.

Drei im Weggla

I don’t speak Frankisch, but as a young soldier, I learned in a hurry that “drei im Weggla” means “three in a bun.” Enjoying sausage is a rite of passage in Nuremberg.

A “Nürnberger” (true Nuremberg sausage) is a brat link no bigger than your finger. Back in the day, when family members were locked up for a crime, it was your job to make sure they were fed.

You weren’t allowed to open the jail door, so the family made sausages small enough to fit through the keyhole — or so the story goes. In a bun at an outdoor kiosk, you’ll always find three.

On a plate in a restaurant, you’ll usually get an even number — typically six or 12. Nuremberg sausages go with “mittelscharfer Senf“ (medium-hot mustard). Don’t embarrass yourself by putting ketchup on them.  

Zum Gulden Stern

Nuremberg has three famous sausage sites. One, Zum Gulden Stern, has been open for 600 years in the same spot. In the southern part of the old city, it wasn’t overrun by tourists.


“Bamberger” is someone or something from the nearby Franconian town of Bamberg. It’s so well-known for its covered bridge and half-timbered buildings, Bamberg is on the EU’s list of historical places. The name was appropriated by one of its creations —  the horn-shaped croissant Nuremberg residents love to dip in their morning coffee.


“Lebkuchen” is English by now. At the right season, you can buy the little round gingerbread cookies in packages in American groceries. In Nuremberg, I always get a Lebkuchen. Whatever the reason, the smells of cloves, cinnamon and cardamom are simply better there than anywhere else.

Unfortunately, the Lebkuchen is in danger of becoming a luxury. Prices of the key ingredients — cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger — all have shot up at the same time, sometimes by 60%.


Across much of Germany, a “nightcap” is an “Absacker.” But in this part of Bavaria, it’s a “Schnitt(cut or incision). A Schnitt is a quickly poured beer that’s still half foam. It’s commonly a small-pour, last-call brew ordered just before you pay up and go.

I asked a waitress if the term “Schnitt” was used in the bar, and she seemed hesitant. So I asked her what she would do if I ordered a Schnitt. She looked quizzically at the old man asking and said: “You want me to get you a small pour of mineral water?”

Next: On to Munich


2 responses to “NUREMBERG: Scene on the street”

  1. Ken Avatar

    Pilot-less electric plane? Uh, I’ll pass. But great post crammed with interesting oddities. That Lebkuchen sounds tasty.

  2. Clint Swift Avatar
    Clint Swift

    The announcement about the plane is a year or so old by now. I’ve heard nothing since. Travel technology seems sometimes to make a splash and then go silent.

    I know of at least two announcements of magnetic levitation trains being tested for a potential run between Munich Airport and city center. One version can be seen at the Deutsches Museum’s transportation annex near the Oktoberfest grounds. Another was on display at the airport, but an information aide told me it had been removed because its prospects had dimmed.

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