In the last two days I discovered that Lauf and Forchheim, two towns in the surroundings of Nuremberg, have a very pretty center. I had been there many times, but never actually walked through town.
Lauf an der Pegnitz
The square around the former town hall was quiet during the day, but got very lively in the evening. Some kindergarten groups performed Christmas plays, among them my cousin’s son, so we stood among the crowd of parents trying to get a glimpse.
Some interesting buildings in Lauf:
There is a flat in the belltower of the church Johanisskirche. A city employee and his family used to live in this flat called “Türmerstuben“. His duty was to be on guard duty 24/7 (replaced by his wife when he wasn’t there) and to play the organ. Imagine you have to walk up 132 steps every time you go shopping…
The belltower flat can be visited every first Saturday of the month between 11am and 1pm, from May to October.
Two other points of interest are the Schleifmühle (‘sharpening mill’) and the Wenzelschloss, a castle built by emperor Karl IV in the 14th century as a residence outside Nuremberg.
The visiting hours are quite restricted, but I’ll try come back and visit.
Lauf’s old town and Christmas market:
My favourite town so far was Forchheim. Besides the Christmas market there are several nativities, a museum that shows local dress and crafts and the beautiful advent calendar in the old town hall windows. An additional window is opened by Forchheim’s Christmas angel every evening at 6.30pm.
Forchheim also has the biggest beer garden in the world, the Kellerwald (cellar wood).
The best visiting time to be able to do all of that is from 3pm, to be able to see the museum (and warm up a bit inside), the opening of the advent calendar and to have some food and beer in the beer gardens in the woods just outside of town (Kellerwald). Some of them are open all year round, but in winter they open, from around 4pm, according the information I picked up in the tourist office. We arrived a bit too early for that.
I will come back in the summer to go to the cellars (‘auf die Keller’), it seems like the perfect place for a beer.
We’re still not tired of Christmas markets and small towns, so we will go see the one in Anwanden and the one in my birth town Auerbach next.