Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vegan on Vacation: Germany Part 3 - Berchtesgaden to Nuremberg...

You know, it’s sad, last year I was so excited to tell you all about my travels through Germany and how easy it was being vegan there, but for some reason after part 2 the idea kind of dropped off. Though this is now coming rather a bit late I thought it was worth continuing the trip for anyone who was interested.

After we left Garmisch we headed for Berchtesgaden which is in the Bavarian Alps, very near the Austrian boarder - only 30km from Salzburg in fact! Here we stayed in the most awesome little family run hotel - which I want to say is called The Romantic Inn - or something like that but it’s been over a year now and my memory is a little hazy on this point. I do remember that the hotel was run by a very nice Husband-Wife team, and their son. The son was especially helpful to me and my husband when we were looking for fun things to do in town on the night of our arrival.

I think there are not so many places in the world that are as beautiful or as amazing as the Bavarian Alps, and after Garmisch I thought Germany couldn’t get any more beautiful, but I was wrong. Berchtesgaden is probably one of the liveliest places I’ve ever been. The people are especially friendly and the town has a really cool vibe, I only wish we’d had more time to explore the nature aspect of the area because by all accounts there is some fantastic rock-climbing and hiking to be had there.

As far as I can remember there are no specifically vegan or vegetarian restaurants in the city. There are however several places a hungry vegan can go for a bite to eat. After some looking around we ended up eating in a really welcoming pub-restaurant off one of the main squares - I’m sorry I don’t recall the name - it was mostly serving German food but there were also Italian dishes on the menu. We ordered bread - sans butter - and two huge bowls of Penne Arrabbiata minus the cheese, which was fantastic. Who says you can’t get good Italian in a German pub?

After dinner we wondered the city, looked in the shops, got some sorbet, and enjoyed the scenery. The mountains are breathtaking, the river was beautiful. Everywhere you looked there was something to see, and something to admire. Eventually we made our way over to the square in which the son of the couple who ran our hotel told us a concert would be going on. There were a few bands that played and we stayed and listened intently, but my favorite of all the bands was a band called Zico - I think this is the right spelling, but please correct me if I’m wrong. - They were some kind of German Reggae band, or at least they were playing a lot of reggae that night. Since Mein Deutsche ist nicht gut,  it was hard for me to hear in a crowded square just exactly what they were saying, but man did they have spirt. I loved these guys, and couldn’t keep myself from dancing along wit the excited crowed - most of whom seemed young, maybe high school or college age. At one pont the band started into “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes and everyone cheered, and then suddenly the band stopped, and the singer screamed “Fuck The White Stripes” in English, and then they played Reggae again, which instigated an even bigger cheer. We stayed for quite a while, soaking up the grove and then we returned to our hotel, and hung around on the balcony for a few minutes admiring the city below and the wonderful view.

Breakfast was included and so the next morning we enjoyed what was offered. Some bread, some granola some fruit and the typical things. We asked about soy milk but like most places they did not have any. I ate my granola with orange juice on top of it which may sound weird but it’s actually quite delicious. This is something I did before I ever went vegan - initially the idea came from a recipe - and so it’s not something I only did out of necessity. After breakfast we explored the town some more, and hung around in some shops although because it was a Sunday not a lot was open, which is really how it should be no? I bought some postcards and some gifts and then right as we were walking down into one of the main squares a brass band emerged outside of a restaurant and began to play. They were playing a traditional type of German - or Bavarian - music and were dressed in the typical get up of lederhosen. It was really quite fun to watch and very good listening. They played some classics as well, so it wasn’t all Bavarian. Since it felt a bit stupid to stand in the street and ogle the band we decided to take a seat in a café, where we ordered some coffee and ate Kartoffelpuffer with apple sauce. For those of you who don’t know, Kartoffelpuffer is German for Potato Pancakes and this is really my favorite German food. Don’t ask why, because I’m not sure why I love it so much, but My Oma used to make this when I was little and so it’s like a basic comfort food for me I guess.

After we’d finished eating, and the band had packed up we headed over to grab another sorbet - who could resist right? And then we had a tour to catch. Typically I’m not interested in tours but it had been decided by my husbands family that we were going to see the Eagles Nest - and thus a tour is rather necessary. I don’t want to get into a lot of WW2 nonsense because there is so much more to Germany then that, and I personally feel offended when that’s all anyone ever wants to talk about when talking about Germany. However for those who may not know Berchtesgaden did have a rather heavy Nazi presence during that time, as the Nazi’s had purchased the area of Obersalsburg back in the 20's.  The Eagles Nest - or The Kehlsteininhaus as it’s known in German - was the intended 50th birthday present for Hitler, commissioned by Bormann. There were a lot of other Nazi residences on the mountain as well, but the only one left standing after the post-war years was the Kehlsteininhaus. There was also a hotel on the mountain where famous Nazi party members stayed but that too was demolished and is now an interesting museum. So, for history’s sake - if you’re into history as I am - this is kind of an interesting place to go. Although I’m not sure I would have gone on my own accord.

What I found most interesting about the experience was our tour guide. I loved listening to her stories and I personally prefer to hear the history of world war 2 from a European perspective rather then an American one. The European perspective is always different, better informed, and has more interesting stories - also the attitudes are different. I also felt quite bad for her when she had to answer insensitive question posed by ghoulish Americans. I don’t say that to be mean, but in the future if you’re an American and you go to Germany please try to keep in mind that most of the people you meet and talk to were not alive during that time period. There is no need to make them feel any worse about a black spot on their history then they already do. How would you like it if the positions were revered? Anyway, the actual building itself is much smaller then I would have expected, but the view is stunning. I could have sat high up in those cliffs looking down at the city and around at the surrounding mountain scape for days. It’s no wonder that this particular spot was chosen as a residence, everything about the location is breathtaking. When you’re high up in the mountains looking down at the world, and the clouds and mist are rolling in you almost feel like you’re a god looking down from the universe. It’s incredible. I didn’t want to leave my perch, but alas, I had to.

Now, you’ll have to forgive my memory again because I can’t remember exactly what came next. We probably did some other things in the city but it’s been so long now I don’t recall. So instead we’ll move onto Nuremberg.

Nuremberg was my husband’s idea, and I’m not sure why exactly he wanted to go, maybe because it’s a famous Germany city who knows. I personally did not know much about it until we actually got there, and so I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed it. It’s about 170km from Munich and is the second largest city in the Bavaria region after Munich. I actually wish we had more time to spend there but we had to keep moving forward. As it was, we spent most of our time in the old city - which I suppose from a history perspective is the most interesting part.

Our first night we got in rather a bit late. We checked into our hotel which I think might have been staffed by some of the most beautiful women in all of Bavaria, and then my husband and I changed and headed out for dinner. There were not very many places still open in the old-city at that time of night. Mostly it was pubs, and they didn’t have much food at all - let alone vegetarian fare. So we traveled outside the old-city walls and came to a quaint little Italian restaurant a few blocks away. There was nobody inside - though a couple of guys were outside listening to the football game. We thought maybe the place was closed but we walked in and were given a seat. Since it was so late, and our German is not great we decided to make it as easy on our waiter as possible. We ordered to plates of spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and herbs. As it turned out our waiter wasn’t even German himself, and when he heard us speaking English to one another started to speak to us in English. He told us that his German wasn’t great either and so that it would probably be best for all of us if English was spoken. He was Spanish, and so my husband did speak with him in Spanish briefly but my Spanish is worse then my German so I stuck to English. We had a really lovely meal, and a great conversation with the waiter who was super friendly and somewhat amazed that we’d decided to come to Nuremberg on vacation. Why? He kept asking. Why? I asked him what he was doing in Nuremberg and he said he was just working and traveling. If I remember correctly he was originally from Majorca and so I had to ask why anyone would go from there to Nuremberg just to work. He shrugged and said Majorca is boring. Boring! Are you serious? I guess no matter where we come from we always think it’s greener on the other side eh?

After dinner we wandered the new city, and then the old city until we were so tired that we had to call it a night. In the morning we enjoyed one of the best full-breakfasts of our trip. They actually had soy-milk in Nuremberg how perfect is that? Not to mention a lavish spread of every fruit imaginable, every kind of bread, vegetables and even some salads. Perfection. Once we’d loaded up we set to walking. We checked out all the old fortifications, and the Imperial Castle which was awesome. We took tour of the Castle and our guide was fantastic. A rather good-looking bloke with shaggy black hair that had more of a British accent then a German one except when it came to words with a W. Slight German accent there. He was very funny, and gave a good tour. Then we headed out to look at shops, check out the old city hall, and the Albert Durer house which was actually very near our hotel. We also spent a great deal of time walking around the Hauptmarkt which is the central square where the Christkindlesmarkt is held each year. Obviously the market wasn’t going on when we were there because it was the middle of June but many of the shops in that area sell Christmas wares all year. During the spring-summer there’s something of a farmer’s market that goes on there and so we picked up some fruit, and then got some sorbet.

This is where my memory becomes a little hazy - because I know we also went to some museum, checked out some kind of craft fair that was happening, and went to no less then two cathedrals. But ask me what any of that was called, and when it took place and I couldn’t tell you to save my life. I remember it was all very fun, and we enjoyed ourselves a great deal even though it was sweltering hot. I think our stay in Nuremberg was one of the hottest we experienced anywhere in Germany aside from Münster.

As for food I distinctly recall us wandering around looking for the Loving Hut that is supposedly in Nuremberg, but either it closed down or HappyCow provided us with the wrong address because it was nowhere to be found. In fact the street HappyCow said it was on was full of sex shops and strip clubs - not that I have anything against those but I was pretty well starving, and desperate for food. At least the cool thing about Nuremberg is that there are several vegan and vegetarian restaurants to check out. I believe we ended up at Chesmu which is at Johannisstrasse 40, Nürnberg and Red Curry House which is at Lorenzer Strasse 29, Nürnberg . Red Curry House is not vegetarian but each day they serve 2-3 vegan options, usually something Indian or Asian inspired. It’s a very small place, but the portions are a good size and the staff was friendly and accommodating. The food was great.

After dinner and for a good portion of the following day I recall we spent a good deal of time walking along the river and through the parks. Enjoying our time, enjoying the breeze, enjoying the scenery and the people. A big football game was being broadcast in one of the parks and so we hung around and watched a bit. We took pictures of the sunset, and took pictures of statues and I think at one point we were going to go over and see where the Nuremberg Trials and Nuremberg Rally were held but in the end we never went. It was quite far away from our hotel, and really I’m glad we didn’t go. There is so much cool history in Nuremberg without having to dig up the second world war.

So in the end I had quite an unexpectedly good time in the city, and would definitely travel there again. It was a constant amazement to me on the entire trip just how easy being vegan is in Germany, but for now I’ll leave it there. Hopefully it won’t take me another 5-6 months to give you part 4.


  1. Hi Kyleigh,

    Im so glad to come across your blog as I as searching for vegan/vegetarian eateries in bavaria/salzburg side. Its really great and amazing to see how you have maintained your vegan commitment as you've travelled in germany/Austria, Im sure God must be so pleased with you for choosing a cruelty free diet :)

    Im a Hare krishna follower and a nature lover . I was planning a similar vacation trip in Munich - salzburg to see Europe's beautiful lakeside town and attractions.
    Did you visit Hallstat? Are there any vegan eatery around? I will be travelling alone to I wish atleast the accomodations will have some kitchen facities :)

    I hope your vacation was wonderful enough!

    ~ Pujan

  2. Thank you so much for your comment, I'm glad you are enjoying the blog, and I hope you have a fun vacation! I had a great time in Germany, and Bavaria was beautiful. I did not go to Hallstat, but you could always Check to see if they have a listing. They normally list all the vegan, vegetarian, or vegan friendly restaurants around. Of course, if they don't have a listing for the places you are looking for it really isn't too hard to find vegetarian food in Germany, and once you find vegetarian food it's easy to make it vegan. It's potentially harder if you don't speak German, I found the language barrier more difficult in the smaller towns, but with a minimal understanding of the language you should be able to get your point across.