After a seriously turbulent night flight across the pond, a bus ride over the Frankfurt tarmac, a multiply-delayed ICE train and a missed local connection, it was nice to arrive at the Nestor Hotel and have a room ready to go. Walking over from the train station is very easy indeed, and helps you stay awake. Check in was easy even in zombie mode.

Sadly, the Nestor chain appears to be set up to accommodate conferences and large groups more than anything else. This is a four star in Germany, which puts it right smack in JW Marriott territory. Everything looks pretty good on the surface, but it is really cheap veneer with thin carpet allowing lots of noise between rooms. A business class hotel. Not NPS’s cup of tea.

The little NPS cubicle (replete with tiny bed) is 308.

Lil teeny bed in 308

The sitting area and desk are all within 15 feet of the bed

Fortunately, Ludwigsburg is resplendent today.

View from 308

The bathroom is likewise “cozy” and very Euro.

Not plastic unless you count the tub, which is plastic

Sink stand

There is a big pipe in the bathroom. That is just weird.

After a much-needed invigorating shower, it was off into town for lunch. Greek food at Die Griechin is very homey. Great people. Authentic, if not uninspired fare.

Breakfast at the hotel is very nice, and the restaurant serves a decent lunch as well. Service is friendly even if the kitchen is slow.

On a more upbeat note, the Black and White Cocktail Bar just a few short blocks away is cozy and excellent. We were among the only patrons on a Tuesday night.

Amer Picon in the house means a Liberal or two.

La Barrosa Cocktail (by Mario Wirth)
50 ml carlos I brandy
10 ml Strega
.5 ml Balsamico creme (can sub px Sherry)
Amaretto spray on top
Stir. Serve on one big rock.

Make sure to visit the Black and White Bar if you are in Ludwigsburg.

Dinner at the very friendly Zum Urigen was authentic and about as German as you can get. The owners are from Vietnam, but have lived in Germany for 30 years. This place has a very local feel with lots of patrons who know each other.

A very low three showerheads for the Nestor, where function overrides style, and things feel fairly fake.

Having been to Nuremberg twice now (see this posting about the first visit), NPS now has some friends in town. So what do we do on this very short visit? See our friends!

First there is Park Plaza GM Carsten Baumann, and then there is Manfred Gendsior the proprietor (along with his wife) of delikatEssen, about more which in a minute.

Before our trip out, we contacted Carsten to secure a room at the Park Plaza. Sadly, the room we like 614 was already booked by a regular. However, when that person cancelled their reservation the day of our arrival, Carsten made sure that we got the room at the previously-quoted price. Now that is service. Thanks Carsten!

Anyway, here we are again in 614, not a hamster cage. Everything is pretty much the same as last time.

Park Plaza 614

But what is that on the bed?

This time there is a personal note and a present of local chocolates on arrival! So very thoughtful.

The bathroom remains superior grade (only the shower floor could use improvement).

glass shower goodness

Gigantic tub almost always associated with a glass shower

We were greeted warmly by the staff who were on notice to ping Carsten. After an arrival shower, it was off to a late lunch at the Atelier bar. Nuremberger bratwurst of course.

View from 614

Staying up until 8pm proved a challenge this trip. NPS is getting old.

In the morning, we were up in time not to miss the “breakfast cutoff second.” Breakfast was very nice, though the “double espresso macchiato” was delivered in massive late form. LOL.

Double espresso macchiato? Nope.

Then it was off for a morning at the “Documentation Center” which is what the Germans politely call the Nazi museum. A powerful exhibit worth seeing, make sure to go when you are in town. With the jackass Twump currently in the oval office as so-called president, it is essential that US citizens not lose track of how the Nazis came to power.

Book burning Nazis

The Racist Nuremberg laws

To clear our mind, a trip to delikatEssen was in order. Once again we had a great chat with Manfred who suggested a local gin and some German asbinthe (!!) to buy.

knowledgeable and friendly Manfred curates an interesting selection of liquor in Nuremberg

Manfred also suggested lunch at essigbrätlein, a two michelin star restaurant across the street. Great suggestion. The duck course was absolutely out of this world.

Tonight we will revisit our favorite bars, and see how the cocktail scene is going. More about that later.

Five showerheads for friendly service that learns at Park Plaza Nuremberg. Come visit Carsten and his staff!

So what happens when Daimler has a technology conference in their home town? All of the good hotels are booked months in advance. Which means NPS ends up at the just a bit too big to be good Le Méridien Stuttgart (part of the design hotel group and most definitely a chain).

The staff is ultra-professional. But the hotel has the same “incredible style” as a Sheraton. Glag. Spend all of your money on an impressive lobby and leave guests in the cages after the elevator ride! Double glag.

We are assigned room, or rather rectangle, or maybe just cage, 539. They must be all the same.

Crane hovers over the pit that is Stuttgart

Be forewarned that Stuttgart is currently under construction. Judging by the size of the hole, this may be a few decades. That means getting from the train station to the hotel (which should be a quick walk) is instead an obstacle course negotiated only by drafting packs of feral students.

This is the scene right in front of the door to the hotel (the grand entrance so to speak).

Guess which hamster cage? Nope!

BED room with no room for anything but bed.


Our massive multiple property search for a shower cube that was less than $2K per night was unsuccessful. Euro-shower is not so bad if you can ignore the bouncy plastic tub thing. NPS does not approve.

A very helpful concierge aimed us at a great sounding restaurant called Murrhardter Hof, but sadly they were closed on Monday. The good news was that the 10 minute walk down to the Carls Brauhaus for some Maultaschen and potato salad was beautiful. Delicious with a beer.

It is beautiful in Stuttgart today. Very early Spring (which is a far cry from Virginia!).

Eat at Cube above the art museum. The view is great and the food is good too.

Any by all means, go visit the Staatsgalerie which is an incredibly great museum. NPS stashed bits here.

One of many pieces at the fantastic Staatsgalerie

Three shower heads and a set of identical rectangular hamster cages for Le Méridien.

Late stage relationship Ehekarussell (loosely, the Marriage-Merry-Go-Round)

Big chains like the Park Plaza chain are generally something we avoid at NPS. But we neglected to set this trip up far enough out and it turns out the Embedded World conference fills up Nuremberg almost completely. That meant that the boutiques we would normally target were full. Only some seriously good detective work came up with Park Plaza (thanks for your help Abbie).

View from 614 Park Plaza

The hotel itself is situated just across a major road from the train station. Turns out to be a great location given the venue for the event (Indabahn). And the Nuremberg Park Plaza itself is much better than expected. Friendly front staff, early check in on arrival over the pond (!!), a modern spacious hip lobby, and get this—no plastic showers.


The bathroom is spacious and well appointed. (Sure, the shower pan may be vinyl, but the glass cube is fantastic.

Glass shower cube with two shower heads


Walking around Nuremberg is a great way to see the sights. The city is very walkable. Use these guides.

Some restaurants of note
Atelier Bar for sausages
Sangam nuremberg (very good Indian)
Pillhofer (get the crispy pork shoulder)
Hausbrauerei Altstadthof (house brewed red beer and award winning schnapps)

We’re still working out the cocktail situation in Nuremberg. Atelier Bar in the Grand Hotel is great. They not only made a cocktail called the Nuremberg Mule
4 cl Haas gin (a local product)
2 cucumber slices
1/2 lime
freshly ground ginger
muddle ingredients. add ice. Top with Thomas Henry spicy ginger. Garnish with cucumber slice

Nuremberg Mule

…they also accommodated NPS for breakfast 15 minutes before they were even supposed to be open! Get this, the weenies in the restaurant at Park Plaza have no flexibility to serve past their 10:30 cut off (on zee dot, you are late, NEIN). The solution is to walk next door to the Grand Hotel and find some actual service. Let this be a lesson to you and your corporate droids Park Plaza! Minus twenty.

Atelier Bar Nuremberg

In other cocktail news, NPS has confirmed that Bar Nürnberg is in fact a very good bar indeed. From the special cocktail of the night (a dark and stormy derivative with rhum agricole from guadalupe) to corpse reviver #2s to sazaracs, each cocktail was meticulously made with care and expertise. Highly recommended.

We got into the Fernet Branca and stayed until 1 am.

On our last day in Nuremberg, we had a very nice chat with Park Plaza GM Carsten Baumann who shared the history of the hotel, talked some politics, and veered on into distilling (predictably given our proclivities). Carsten is an interesting fellow. His outreach was very professional.

The DelikatEssen is a great spirits shop in Nuremberg hidden across the river. Bought some Haas products, an interesting German Windspiel gin, and some high end hazelnut liqueur.

Vintage Bar (just across the street from DelikatEssen in fact) is the second best bar in Nuremberg with the most passion of all. Spent a nice evening chatting with the owner.

Four showerheads and some training for the breakfast staff at the Park Plaza. Much better than expected and yet also short of the mark.

My friend Spoolia stayed in the “Spirit” room above Cafe Rinaldo while she was in Regensburg. The room is actually a two bedroom apartment with a cute little balcony upstairs. The spirit room is not really advertised anywhere, but it is owned by the same (Italian) guys who own the elements hotel.

Spirit room balcony.

Spirit room balcony.

The stairs.

Stairs to the balcony.

Stairs to the balcony.

View from the stairs.

Spirit bedroom.

Spirit bedroom.



Extra bedroom.


Sadly, the spirit room for all of its superior points has a euro shower over a bathtub. Prepare to soak the floor!

Uh oh.  Plastic shower.

Uh oh. Plastic shower.



Regensburg dom.

Regensburg's gothic cathedral.

Regensburg’s gothic cathedral.

It was super great of the element’s guys to let us invade the spirit room with no reservation. They’re excellent.

It takes some doing to get to Regensburg. A day that included a hike by the Shenandoah on our trail and a short dip in the river, also included twelve hours of flying and two trains from Munich. But once you get here, it feels worth all the rigmarole.

Zooming from Munich.

Zooming from Munich.

The elements hotel is tucked away in the Old Corn Market square just next to the gothic cathedral that serves as Regensburg’s centerpiece. Each of the four (count ’em, four) rooms is named after one of the (greek) elements. I am staying in earth.

Earth, replete with antlers.

Earth, replete with antlers.

Earth chair

Earth chair

Earth has an anteroom that may or may not come in handy depending on whether the couch needs to be occupied.

Earth anteroom (cozy and dark).

Earth anteroom (cozy and dark).

The bathroom in earth includes an LED light that you can program with a remote control. When I arrived, it was set in blue mode. The bathroom design is very interesting and tasteful, with a curved door that carves the shower space out of what would otherwise be a small rectangle. Great design.

Bamboo sets off the bathroom pod.

Bamboo sets off the bathroom pod.

The shower is non-plastic (bonus) but does not have enough water pressure for my tastes. That may be the only fly in the elements ointment.

A non-plastic shower bathed in blue (or green, or red).

A non-plastic shower bathed in blue (or green, or red).

Downstairs at Cafe Rinaldi (where Italian is spoken), breakfast is buzzing. Don’t plan to watch your diet in Germany. A big breakfast is par for the course and served with superior espresso.

Five showerheads for the Elements Hotel (and the associated spirit room next door).

In other Regensburg news, the Historisches-Eck Restaurant is a nice upscale white tablecloth place with a young up and coming chef. The chef stopped by after our delicious meal to chat. This is a good special occasion restaurant.

On the other hand Scholz Restaurant is much less fancy and not in the same league. Food is good and the bartender is willing to play (we had them try a Corpse Reviver #2).

For cocktails, it appears that Hemingway Bar is the only game in town. I had them make a bastarized Liberal (no Amer Picon).
El Bastardo Liberal
4 cl Bourbon (sadly, Jim Beam or Jack Daniels)
4 cl Martini Rosso
1 cl Ramazzotti
Shake. Strain and serve up. Garnish with a Johannisbeeren cluster (red currants).

The Blue Monkey Room near the Dom is a great place for cocktails. Though their menu is standard issue (and heavy on vodka and sweet junk), they have a nice selection of things to make real drinks from. Barman benno litzke played along, making a Bastardo Liberal, a Corpse Reviver #2 and a Nevada before the night was through.