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Biking to Nuremberg

11 Oct

Signs and arrows are scattered throughout cities and countryside alike here, guiding bikers and hikers to whatever their destination might be.  One in particular – Nuremberg 18km – caught my eye a few weeks ago.  The only problem was finding a day with stable enough weather to make it there and back without rain…until now.

Enjoying a goldener Oktober day

After arriving here two months ago in what was one of the rainiest months of August on record in Germany, you can only imagine how wonderful the surprise streak of beautiful sunny days we are currently having here is.  However, if German does have an expression to describe particularly sunny Octobers (goldener Oktober), no such expression exists for November.  So, my current philosophy is soak up the sun while you still can!

With the weather on my side, I set out yesterday to Nuremberg by bike.  Signs start popping up along bike trails in southern Erlangen (Paul-Gossen Straße) leading you through forests, towns, along busy roads, and even past the airport.  As it turns out, this well-maintained bike trail will take you directly into the heart of the city, straight to the walls of the Nuremberg castle.  There are only a few tricky spots.  First, when going through the village of Tennenlohe the trail along the road momentarily disappears for about a kilometer.  Then, once you get into Nuremberg some road construction makes the going a bit tough.

Once in the city, you can of course enjoy the usual sites without the hassle of finding a parking place or having to check the train schedule.  Biking simply gives you the opportunity to stop and smell the roses from time to time, and to come and go as you please.

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Biking to Forchheim

6 Sep

Just north of Erlangen, the medieval city of Forchheim marks the beginning of a mountainous region known as the Franconian Switzerland.  You can of course get there by car or by train, but why do that on a beautiful Saturday morning?  Bike paths connect the two cities, which are about 20 kilometers from one another, taking you along the canal through fields and villages.

Subtle Signage Marks The Way

Although in the city, bike paths are clearly marked on the pavement with paint or red bricks, the paths leading out of the city are a little harder to find.  If you are looking for the path to Forchheim when leaving Erlangen, you simply will not find it.  From Erlangen, the trail forks off just before a bridge leading towards Alter Erlangen, and at first sight seems to lead nowhere.  In fact, only Bubenreuth – the closer of two villages you cross on the way – is marked on the sign.  Once you have found your way onto the path, however, some rather subtle white and green (or sometimes white and blue) signage is there to reassure you and point you in the right direction.  Just do not expect to see many signs directly mentioning Forchheim by name until you pass through Baiersdorf.

So you have arrived…and are looking for things to do

Forchheim is really a small town, so once you reach the central historic quarter, you can easily get around.  The big attraction is actually the Christmas Market, during which they turn the town hall into a giant Advent calendar. I will definitely come back and check that out in a few months. The town’s website lists some other local festivals, but nothing special was going on while I was there.  On a normal day, you can always wander through the streets and admire the colorful medieval architecture or stop and relax with a coffee on café terrace.  If you are looking for comfort, I would suggest the café just in front of the Rathaus (city hall).  This is a perfect place to take a break, read a book, and recharge for the ride home.

So all in all this is a bike day-trip worth doing.  No regrets in my case.  Just make sure you take a raincoat and do not count on the weather forecast, as storms seem to pop-up here out of nowhere.