I booked my trip to Bremen on a whim thanks to irresistibly cheap return flights and was excited to explore a city I knew relatively little about. I briefly googled before booking, just to make sure I wasn’t buying flights to an airport 100 miles from the city I wanted to visit – anyone who’s ever flown with Ryanair will know what I mean here. After confirming the city centre was just a tram ride away from the airport I blocked out the dates in my calendar and began to get excited for mulled wines and exploring.
I stayed in an AirBnB apartment, a short distance from the city centre, which was easily accessible by tram. A last minute work trip meant I had slightly less time in Bremen than originally anticipated but still more than enough to take in the sights. If you’ve come here following Sunday’s post you’ll already know that Botanika was a real highlight of my trip. But that’s not all Bremen had to offer.
First thing’s first: it was the end of November and I was in the mood for a little festive cheer so the Christmas markets were high on my list of ‘must-see’ places. I found two – a modern market in Market Square with handmade trinkets, gallons of Glühwein, (my tipple of choice was Feuerzangenbowle) and vast quantities of bread and potato-based goods. A short stroll from there led me to the Schlachte promenade, down by the river Weser, which played host to a really fun medieval market. Stall holders dressed in traditional garb luring passersby to their stalls with promises of potions, poisons, artisanal crafts and more.
The atmosphere was fun and friendly and as a solo traveller I felt very safe there. The backdrop for the markets was beautiful with stalls flanked by exquisite buildings that were works of art in their own rights.
Naturally I used my visit as an opportunity to do a little Christmas shopping which I mainly did at the markets and a little tucked away street named Böttcherstrasse. I discovered this gem late on my last day but made up for lost time in a lovely little tea shop – Germans have a tea for everything and boy am I glad they do.
I also popped into a terrific indoor market which sold items handcrafted by people with learning difficulties who are supported by a local charity. I was really impressed by the quality of the products – easily on par with the work of some of my favourite London ceramicists – and snapped up some beautiful crockery for my kitchen. I wish I’d been able to bring back more! Even though I was primarily looking for presents for other people I couldn’t resist bringing home a little Räuchermann, (smoking man), of my own which I’ve been wanting since I first went to Germany many moons ago.
Clear skies and milder weather made for good wandering and I really enjoyed taking my time, camera in hand, with nowhere in particular to be. I was bowled over by the city’s stunning architecture and it seemed that around every corner was a beautiful building waiting to be photographed.
I did most of my wandering on my last day – my first day was pretty much taken up with Botanika and a night time trip to the markets. I remembered a little too late that museums in Germany are traditionally closed on Mondays but I did manage to take a peek inside St Peter’s Cathedral. It’s free to visit and was a perfect pitstop when I began to tire.
The church is over 1200 years old and has a bit of a turbulent past having started out as Catholic and ending up Lutheran. Its beauty was breathtaking. I love the stillness of holy places. I always find they give my head the space it craves with living in such a busy city. Unfortunately the tower was closed when I visited but the views from the top are said to be magnificent so that’s definitely something I’d like to see next time I’m here. There’s a small charge of around €1 to go up the tower and if you’d like to go to a concert in the church ticket prices range between €10 and €30.
Although I managed to cram a lot into my short stay in Bremen there are still some things I’d love to see. I think a Summer visit would be ideal for a trip out to Blockland Dykes and of course I’d like to take a tour round the Town Hall and maybe visit one of Böttcherstrasse’s two museums while I’m in the area. I love a good cup of coffee too so a masterclass at and tour of the HAG coffee factory would be right up my street.
I’d love to hear about your travel plans for 2017. Are you planning the trip of a lifetime or revisiting old favourites? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to call back on Sunday for a new post.
Til next time,