For a city of its size Nuremberg is incredibly relaxed. The people are friendly, the pace is slow, and it has one of the lowest crime rates of any major city in the world. In 2004 it was rated the 6th safest city in the world by a Mercer survey. There is a red light district down by the train station which has a slightly colourful reputation, but I didn't even notice it when I was there. I felt safe even walking around at night.
Much to the exasperation of other nationalities, we Brits are renowned for our scatological - toilet - humour (see my Tolpuddle page for proof positive of this) and I have always enjoyed antistar's Crazy Product Atlas of inappropriate product names on his home page.
Usually you can excuse unfortunate brand names on the basis that the company wasn't aware that their choice meant something unfortunate in someone else's language. However, in a country such as Germany, where most people speak such good English that it puts the rest of us to shame, how on earth did anyone give the go ahead for a toilet paper dispenser called 'Big Willy'???
I for one was alarmed to discover that there was a Big Willy lurking in the Ladies toilet of an (unnamed) restaurant!!!
Visiting churches is one of the absolute highlights of a trip to Europe, and provides a fascinating insight into the most powerful influence that has shaped European cultures over the past couple of millenia.
Unlike some other religions - where access to places of worship may be restricted to members of that religious group or a specific gender - the vast majority of Christian churches will allow tourists to visit at most times, including routine services (although some may charge an admission fee for doing so, and access may be denied for private events such as weddings and funerals). However, tourists should realise that most churches are still active places of worship, and so visitors need to exhibit a certain sensitivity to display respect to the culture and avoid giving offence to people at prayer.
The following guidelines are based on wonderful advice offered by Homer (homaned) - who does this for a living - in a forum response, and although specifically written for Christian places of worship, would apply equally to places of worship for other religions
So, here is a general list of do's and don'ts for people wishing to photograph during a church service:
READ THE SIGNS
If photography is not permitted - because, for example, it may damage paint on delicate murals - this will usually be indicated by a pictogram of a camera with a red line through it. Under most circumstances, you can assume that photography will be allowed (unless otherwise indicated), but may not be permitted during services. If in doubt, ask for clarification - this shows respect and will very seldom be met with anything other than a helpful response.
TURN OFF YOUR FLASH!
Every camera on the market has a button on it which will turn off the flash. The number one most alarming and distracting thing that can happen during a liturgy, and one which will even get you kicked out of some churches, is the bright flash that goes off when you take a picture. Not only is it distracting, but it usually makes the picture turn out dark, because your camera's flash only has about a 10-15' range. Turn off the flash, and hold the camera up against your eye, using the viewfinder, and you will likely get a better picture (and you definitely won't have any red-eye problems!).
DON'T MOVE AROUND ALL OVER THE PLACE! (UNLESS YOU HAVE PERMISSION)
Instead of walking all over down the main aisle and in front of everybody, pick a good place from which to take a picture at the beginning of the liturgy, and stay there. Unless you're a professional photographer with practice at stealthily moving during liturgies, you're a distraction, and you're being disrespectful. Even if you're a pro, try to stick to one out-of-the-way place, and use a zoom lens and zoom in to get pictures. Walking in front of people is a surefire way to distract and disrespect and closing in on priests or other celebrants just to capitalise on a photo opportunity is offensive.
TURN OFF THE CAMERA'S SOUND!
Every camera has some way to mute all its 'cute' beeps and clicking noises. If you press a button, and hear a beep, or if you take a picture and hear an obnoxious shutter clicking sound, you need to turn off those sounds (the muting option is usually in one of the menus). Along with the flashing, it's an obvious sign that someone is taking pictures and not showing much respect for those trying to pay attention to the liturgy.
TURN OFF THE 'FOCUS ASSIST' LIGHT!
If your camera can't focus without the little laser-light that shines in everyone's eyes before your camera takes a picture, then don't use your camera. You have to turn that light off! It is very distracting to be watching a lector or priest, and see a little red dot or lines pop up on his face all of the sudden. It's as if some rifleman is making his mark! Turn the light off (again, look in the menus for the option to turn off the 'AF assist' or 'focus assist' light). If you can't turn it off, put a piece of duct tape or some other opaque material over the area where the light is, so the light won't shine on someone.
TURN OFF THE CAMERA'S LCD!
You should never use the LCD to compose your shots anyways; just put your eye up to the viewfinder, and that will not only not distract, it will also steady your camera against your face, making for a better picture (especially if you don't have the flash on). And if you must review the pictures you've taken, hold the camera in front of you, down low, so people behind you don't notice the big, bright LCD display on your camera
CERTAIN PARTS OF THE CEREMONY ARE PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE
The consecration (blessing) of the eucharist (bread and wine) and distribution of communion to the congregation are considered to be particularly sacred parts of the service, and it is offensive to photograph these activities.
The main thing is to try to be respectful of the culture and of other people present at the service. Don't distract. And, if you are asked to not take pictures, or if there's a sign saying 'no photography allowed,' then don't take pictures. You can always ask a priest's permission before the liturgy, but if he says 'No,' put away your camera and enjoy the freedom you have to focus on the privilege of being able to share an experience with people who consider these religious rituals core to their culture and identity, rather than focusing on your camera's LCD!
Homer's Rules ... Homer rules!
As I write this, I am convalescing from a major foot operation, so the subject of appropriate footwear is a subject that is currently very dear to my heart!
Walking is by far the best way to appreciate European cities, and when visiting Nuernberg - indeed most old cities - it is vital to come prepared with appropriate footwear. Cobbled streets look quaint and charming, but absolutely hammer your feet if you don't have good walking shoes and are murderous on any shoes or boots with narrow heels. I tend to travel with my hiking boots, but for those who feel that these are too heavy or too unfashionable, at least pack a pair of trainers/takkies/runners/sports shoes and some thick socks.
Secondly, one of Nuernberg's peak tourist periods is in December, for the Christkindlmarkt. The snow has often started to fall by this time - further contributing to the fairytale atmosphere - but remember that snow (and particuarly the slush into which it disintegrates) will rapidly waterlog non-waterproof footwear. So make sure that whatever you pack is waterproof, and perhaps also consider applying an extra coat of waterproof spray just for good measure.
And what to do if you get caught short and don't have other shoes to use? Well, when my Mum's supposedly waterproof boots became sodden, she came up with idea of wearing plastic bags between two pairs of socks. Not only did it shop her feet getting wet, but it also provided some thermal insulation: needless to say, one of the most effective ways of getting cold and miserable is to have wet feet.
If you want to take photos or films inside Lorenzkirche, please be responsible and pay the 5 euro to get the permission. This money is used for the restoration of the church. You will be given a sticker to put on yourself, as my father did.
When I visited the church in 2006 with my parents, we bought one permission and my father took a lot of photos. If you think the fare is too high for you, you can buy some postcards at the end of your visit.
But do not take photos secretly, as you will run the risk of being caught in the act. While we were about to exit after buying a big postcard of the Engelsgruss, a man came in and started photographing. The cashier, who sells the photo permissions, didn't see him, but we did and I told the lady that man was infringing the rule, so she went to him and kindly informed him he had to pay to be allowed to photograph.
Like many German cities, Nürnberg has a lot of bicycle tracks and many people use them. However, pay attention to your bike, as someone may "borrow" the saddle, as happened to the unlucky owner of this bike!
I am currently working on the tips, so please give me a little more time before you rate them and come back soon.
I would say be careful where you wonder off to in Nurnburg! You may walk where the prostitutes are - they are so close by!