Using a local guide

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
medieval bagpipe player

the bagpipers player – a dudelsackpfeifer.

Have you wondered how many guides there are in a city ready to take you into those unknown parts that only guides and locals know? I’m not just talking about those that carry clipboards or unfurled umbrellas pointing skywards but those who will also just take one person on a themed trpi to visit ghostly haunts long-closed tunnels and cellars.

In Nuremberg, there are about 160 guides who speak 29 different languages and all can be called upon to help you get the most out of a tour of the city. Some will specialise in one particular aspect of the city such as the cellars that were dug deep underground so that beer could be stored at the same temperature, day in day out, regardless of what heatwave or blizzard was happening on the surface; some wax lyrically about Albrecht Durer the renaissance painter, mathematician and all-round polymath who was born, lived and died here and some will just give a general tour based on how much time you have available.

In many ways, the guides and their knowledge have to fit what we – as visitors – want. Today I want a general tour of Nuremberg to help make sure that I might not overlook a building, a sight or an area that I might otherwise dismiss because, to my uneducated eye, it doesn’t look worth visiting.

I already know that there is rivalry between Nuremberg and close-by Furth just as rivalry exists between Southampton and Portsmouth or Arsenal and Spurs. In a national football match many years ago I was told that players selected from the national from both cities travelled in separate buses to the match, played on the same side of course but only Furth footballers cheered when a Furth footballer scored and likewise when a Nuremberg player scored. After winning the match, team players split into those from the two opposing cities and returned in separate buses again.

I know that my hotel, the Grand, is a stone’s throw from the station but when the Rolling Stones stayed here in the 1960’s, a coach was ordered to deliver them the 500 metres. taking one look, MMick Jagger, led the others across the tramline outside and a road and entered the lobby! A nice story which added to the knowledge I have of the city and  a much more interesting dinner topic of conversation  that knowing there are x number of people who live here.

The source of all my knowledge – a tourist guide.

On a very hot Sunday afternoon where the city was teeming with locals and visitors for a music festival, we stopped for a drink in a little courtyard that was unoccupied, cool and with two bits of interest. An old well, that was once the source of water, and a statue of a man with a handlebar moustache playing the bagpipes. Or, at least a medieval version of them. Would I have found it on my own? Probably not

It is this little bit of knowledge that makes a visitor feel that they have learnt something that maybe other visitors don’t know.

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