It´s nearly noon. The sugary sheen of the cobblestones in Nuremberg´s Hauptmarkt, the central market square, cause synapses to fire off in my brain and alert me to the danger of slipping. I should tread cautiously, I miss the cue and my legs fly out from under me. Somewhere between “Brace yourself!” and “Oh this could hurt”, church bells echo out melodiously across the square. Though well timed, the bells of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) were not intended to provide a soundtrack to my seemingly choreographed fall. Rather, it is has been their duty since 1509 to announce punctually the arrival of midday for tourist and local alike. Thud! Anyone gazing from the windows of the Hotel Am Schönen Brunnen would have a perfect view of my arms and legs flailing in mid-air, however, they are probably fixed upon another wonder. The king himself Charles IV, emerges from the church clock bedecked in finery becoming that of the Holy Roman Emperor, his cortège in service parading around him.
The Männenleinlauf, the churches clock, has held court over Nuremberg´s main square for centuries ceremoniously communicating the midday hour. The clock with a wooden statue of the king as its centrepiece and indeed the church itself have borne witness to a great deal of history in the last 500 years, from the feast of farmer´s markets´ to the famine of a city left unrecognisable by allied bombardment. A testament to the triumph of a separate type of wills, the late Gothic church is a reminder of both the bright and dark sides of the city´s history, gone but not forgotten. Nowadays, Charles IV, the prince electors, and the angels adorning the church gaze down upon a city centre renewed by annual international music festivals, massive outdoor art exhibitions, and the famous Nuremberg Christmas Market. When the time has been sufficiently heralded king and court retreat back into the chapel leaving the charms of the city to be explored for oneself, just as soon as I pick myself up of the ground and brush off, of course.
The Hotel Am Schönnen Brunnen offers fantastic views of the main market year round for all occasions, but especially during the magical frosty days and nights of the annual Christmas market. The Christmas market begins on the first Sunday of advent and runs until the 23rd of December.