When the people at the German Tourism authority reached out and invited me to discover Bremen as their guest as portion of the #citybreakgermany campaign I identified my curiosity piqued. This post and the two that stick to are accomplished in partnership with Bremen Tourism who recommended my itinerary and arranged/offered all lodging and accommodation. The premise for the take a look at? Get an overview of what Bremen has on supply more than a 3 day weekend (arriving Saturday AM, departing Monday evening) with out a frantic schedule or more than-the-best luxury encounter. Jump to portion two or portion 3.
What I identified was a charming city that was intimate, quick to discover, had distinct personalities and a clean polished encounter and functionality that created obtaining about and exploring the town exceptionally pleasant.
The lovely factor about Bremen was that it had several of the superb qualities you could hope for in a German city – scrumptious meals, superb history, quirky coffee shops and an assortment of lovely graffiti. But, with out the broken dysfunction or dystopian rot that plagues some of its bigger siblings.
Bremen was clean. It was tidy. It was effectively maintained and felt vibrant, alive, and like a city that is thriving. The tram technique and proximity to the airport created connecting with my Hotel, the Maritim Hotel Bremen, one particular of the most painless connections I’ve had outdoors of Copenhagen. The connection from Airport to City Center expense about two Euro and took 11 minutes.
The trams are new, supply fantastic access to the city, and have screens that make identifying exactly where you are and the subsequent couple of stops simple and quick. Even even though these forms of screens have develop into somewhat commonplace on trains, trams, metros, and buses all through Europe (and beyond), I nevertheless can not enable feeling a compact level of anxiousness when very first arriving in a new city realizing I’ll have to have to navigate public transit. Even the regional Bus 670 which I took for much more than 50 minutes to the finish of its line in the nearby artist village of Worpswede had a screen that created obtaining my quit quick. Some thing that I uncover is generally lacking as you get a bit much more “local” in most cities.
Even though the forecast predicted rain all through my take a look at, Bremen proved itself to be each bit the close to-coastal trade city that its history and membership as a Hanseatic Powerhouse teased at. Regardless of a couple of drops right here and there, most have been fleeting and brought to life the amber and gold hues of the late autumn leaves that have been a bit previous their peak regardless of it currently becoming effectively into November.
I generally uncover the really feel of a city to be an extremely crucial portion of the encounter. There are some cities that I just naturally generally get pleasure from and get a superior feeling from – cities like Edinburgh and Copenhagen exactly where points generally really feel cozy, welcoming and pleasant. There are other individuals – cities like Berlin and London – which are so complicated in scope and vast in the depth of experiences and vibes you are most likely to encounter that you in no way know just what you will get. Bremen struck me as a city unlikely to shock or surprise. It has that essence to it which conveys a pleasant spot, with a breadth of experiences, and an ambiance you can generally count on. There’s practically nothing unpredictable or turbulent about it. That is not to say it is boring or drably homogeneous. Fairly the opposite. Rather, that the city itself is approachable and has an amicable laid-back really feel that is each inviting and decent.
Like several cities with a Hanseatic previous, it has the underlying sense of wealth and affluence that tends to make it clear the city has been a center for art, commerce and trade in the course of influential periods all through its history. Even though there have been periods exactly where the financial lifeblood of the city has been anemic, ebbing and flowing with the tides, the city shows couple of scars or indicators of financial tribulations. It boasts broad clean boulevards, superb art galleries, and a vibrant buying scene that tends to make it clear that Bremen is far from struggling.
As we wandered the city, exploring the several districts, boulevards and winding historic streets I was instantly impressed by the quantity of boutique galleries, custom confectioneries, and indie coffee shops mixed among much more recognizable outlets. I consider my absolute preferred was a quirky tiny shop at Schnoor 31-36 which exclusively sold folded paper templates. The complexity of the paper artwork they had out there was unbelievable from old dirigibles to birds and grand buildings. The cost was also super affordable major me to make a uncommon exception to my typical no-souvenir rule with the acquire of a 3D falcon model.
My guide for the walking tour also brought to my consideration minor information I’d have otherwise missed. These incorporated the backstory behind a rather odd public fountain at the heart of the Schnoor district. Situated squarely in-front of what was a former sailor’s brothel, the compact fountain depicts a rather unsightly but no-significantly less charming set of bathers. No matter whether the bath was a standard occurrence and merely served the regional neighborhood, or was much more strategically placed to wash some of the sea grit off the sailors ahead of a quit at the brothel was left up in the air.
She also wound me down some of Schnoor’s smaller sized streets – these conveniently overlooked as becoming a dead-finish alleyway or someone’s backyard – ahead of charting a course from Schnoor, down along the river, and then up, via the old military fortifications and moat to Ostertor. Exactly where the city center had been polished and affluent, Schnoor had been intimate and charming, Ostertor and Östliche Vorstadt which came following had character, a hint of grit, a bit of polish and a beautiful mixture of culture and vibrant life.
Östliche Vorstadt was also exactly where I identified most of my preferred graffiti, especially as I wandered off the major street and struck along the beautifully colored residential neighborhoods that line Ostertorsteinweg (the street).
It is also exactly where I encountered a beautiful cat with vivid green eyes and a slightly pudgy face that left you feeling simultaneously drawn in and judged. I couldn’t enable but really feel he was also the spirit animal/guardian for the district as he relaxed on a doorstop subsequent to a compact crop of bamboo, surveying passing website traffic with that engaged-apathy that only a cat can muster.
Situated just off of Bremen’s central Industry Square are two of Bremen’s major cathedrals.
The very first is the oldest cathedral in the city, the Unser Lieben Frauen. The church itself wasn’t especially compelling compared to its contemporaries. Even so, the stained glass windows by Alfred Manessier which have been installed following the originals have been destroyed are certainly beautiful. Easy in their colour and their depiction, they come collectively to type a superb piece of artwork that makes use of nuance to communicate to guests. They’re also a possible candidate generating the church a candidate for a UNESCO designation, which, following obtaining noticed them, wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Meanwhile, the far bigger and much more impressive St. Petri Dom Bremen which sits just about the corner has one particular of the most uncommon styles I’ve noticed in rather some time.
It feels as even though it is inspired by the classical Roman square churches you uncover in the oldest components of Rome. But, the size and majestic sculpture operate leave tiny doubt that it is a far newer creation. But, what definitely stood out for me was the detailed stonework and sculptures that decorate the front stairs along the entrance to the cathedral.
Minor pieces that are conveniently overlooked, the patterns, detailed operate, and artists have been some of my preferred things to photograph, especially as the information have been enhanced as rain soaked into the stone darkening it and emphasizing the craftsmanship.
Final but not least is the city’s renowned monument to the Brother’s Grimm and their fairytale about 4 traveling bards that set out on the road to Bremen ahead of encountering a series of unfortunate situations that led them astray.
The musicians, which are depicted as a mule, a dog, a cat and a chicken can be noticed all through the city, like a beautiful bronze that sits beside the city hall. As with any superior bronze, there’s a tradition about touching it and generating a want. I will not spoil the information, but, as my guide warned, make confident you firmly hold each the mule’s left and appropriate legs when generating your want. A single leg just will not do!
I’ll stay away from diving also deeply into the history of the Hanseatic League, but I recommend familiarizing your self with it if you haven’t study about it previously. It is one particular of these fascinating collaborative initiatives that united coastal trading partners in a way that drove unbelievable wealth, energy, and played a pivotal function in shaping the Baltic Sea, North Sea and surrounding regions.
As a dominant city in the league, Bremen was capable to garner important wealth, influence and culture which is nevertheless on show in some locations of the city now. If you dive into historic paintings and maps of Bremen and the surrounding region, you also see how considerably humanity has modified the landscape more than the final 1,000 years. Even though you’d in no way guess it now, the river has been re-worked, molded, dredged, and re-directed from a wide shallow meander to the tidally influenced classic-searching river you see now.
Regrettably for maritime trade and Bremen’s status inside the League, the city’s fortunes have been similarly impacted by the river. The city’s lifeblood – a brackish tidal region that stretched inland from the North Sea to Bremen – led to a prime hunting ground for opportunistic pirates, which fueled a lucrative naval safety and escort service till disaster struck. Nonetheless pre-dating the period exactly where dredging was a viable choice, rains and other all-natural phenomena – potentially even erosion from the industrial website traffic – led the river to silt in, leaving it impassible.
The outcome was to ultimately launch a big undertaking which led to the establishment of Bremerhaven about 50km away, perched at the mouth of the Weser River. To this day, Bremerhaven nevertheless operates as Bremen’s key port and aspires to be one particular of the big maritime hubs in Northern Europe pitting it against nearby Hamburg, a different of the flagship cities in the old Hanseatic League. It is also why the uncommon designation as the Absolutely free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which is truly a German state, consists of not only the town of Bremen right, but Bremerhaven as effectively.
It is as a outcome of this close partnership and mutually shared membership in the Hanseatic League that each Bremen and Hamburg share several of their flagship industries. Of which Coffee stands out as one particular of the most effectively recognized and extensively appreciated. It is also one particular of the motives that Bremen was one particular of the fantastic immigrant ports, like in depth records. People today attempting to re-trace their family members origins generally uncover their way to Bremen as it was, in several approaches, a bit like Germany’s version of America’s Ellis Island.
Exactly where you see Bremen’s wealthy history most visibly on show is in the city’s UNESCO Planet Heritage Town Hall. The town hall is dwelling to one particular of the most detailed, complicated, and artistically beautiful sets of woodworked room’s I’ve noticed anyplace in Europe. From the benches to the seats exactly where the city’s leadership after sat, to the carved walls of the meeting space, the major assembly hall is the crown jewel in Bremen’s crown and worth a trip in-and-of itself.
The town hall also boasts a quantity of other fascinating artifacts like a series of man-sized wooden warships which hang in the major assembly space and represent Bremen’s maritime could and showcase some of the pirate-hunting vessels which previously referred to as the Weser river dwelling. These, as with the other woodworked pieces are not only extremely uncommon but of brilliant artistry.
Final, but not least, the town hall also boasts a bizarre chandelier created from the jaw bones of a huge blue whale. The piece was, I’m confident, an extremely pricey and sought-following creation that was no doubt higher-style when it was constructed. Now, it stands out as extremely uncommon. But, what tends to make it even much more fascinating is the story behind it. The jawbones belonged to a huge blue whale that swam up the Weser river, ahead of ultimately beaching itself close to the city, exactly where it perished. For several of you, the believed of a blue-whale close to European waters is most likely a bit of a surprise. I know for my portion at least I initially assumed it had been bought or gifted from someplace a lot additional abroad. But, as it turns out ahead of whaling decimated their numbers, blue whales did, in truth, periodically uncover their way into the region’s waters.
Bremen is far from a sprawling behemoth of a town. But, it is also not the compact sleepy town some would attempt and make it out to be. It is a vibrant mid-sized city with a effectively-respected university, fantastic student culture, extremely ethnically diverse population and a wealthy history with a wide assortment of attractions best for an extended weekend of exploring. From Beck’s Brewery to their thriving Aerospace business which has supported projects like the European Space Agency’s ISS modules and wealthy cultural history – Bremen has a bit of all the things.
Jump to portion two or portion three in this series exactly where I cover my take a look at to the nearby town of Worpswede with its thriving artistic neighborhood and exactly where I delve into my dining experiences in the course of my time in Bremen.
As noted at the get started of this post, this take a look at was organized and hosted by Bremen Tourism as portion of the #CitybreakGermany campaign in collaboration with #NordicTB who arranged and covered all elements of my keep. My guide for the walking tour of the city was Rima Scheffler, who was vibrant, knowledgeable and brought the city to life. You can book or attain out to her by way of e-mail right here, if interested.
As generally, you can see the complete album from my take a look at in colour right here, or black and white.