After a decent night’s sleep considering we had our vents open to try and manage the smell of diesel in the van, we learned that our fuel filter was indeed leaking. The mystery was from where as there were no obvious cracks etc. So a new filter was ordered which will be delivered tomorrow which means another night camping on the garage forecourt.
All this took until 9:30 am to determine, so we had the day free. As we are near to Bremen’s city centre which is just a 30 min bus ride away, off we went in the rain. Oops, I forgot to mention the rain as has rained so often so far on this trip. But at least it wasn’t blowing a gale. I must be more grateful for small mercies.
According to Wikipedia, Bremen is and I quote, ‘the capital of the German federal state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (also just called “Bremen” for short). So there you have it.
Bremen turned out to be much nicer than we expected (we hadn’t intended to visit Bremen so we had no real expectations). The buildings were highly decorated and individual. There was lots of green space. So overall we got a good impression of the place.
The City Hall and Roland statue are UNESCO World Heritage sites….
Roland deserves a mention as he was paladin to Charlemagne and protector of the city. According to legend, Bremen will remain free and independent for as long as Roland stands watch over the city.
Bremen is also well known through the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale ‘Town Musicians of Bremen’ (not one I know personally), and there is a statue dedicated to it in front of the city hall….
It’s supposed to be lucky if you touch the golden hooves…..
Forming another ‘side’ to the market square is Bremen Cathedral dedicated to Saint Peter. It’s stunning inside…..
We then strolled around Schnoorviertel which is the only part of old Bremen that is still preserved, and it’s the city’s oldest district. The name Schnoor comes from the word ‘Schnur’ (string) as the houses seemed lined up as if on a piece of string. This is artistic licence in my opinion, the streets and houses were not lined up like a piece of string that I could see. But this is nit picking, it was lovely, even in the rain….
By now we were on our knees kind of hungry so we stopped off for some lunch. We had a lovely hot meal and a cup of creamy coffee for the price of an open sandwich in Copenhagen. No contest. Whilst enjoying our meal in a restaurant overlooking the market square, we saw and heard a protest going on. We couldn’t figure out what it was about, but it was quite noisy with shouting and whistles.
Apparently there is a Bohemian area of the city, so as we were now well fortified with lunch we took ourselves there. It looked an interesting place in that there were lots of independent shops, cafés and restaurants with nice looking side streets full of old terraced houses with tiny to non existent front gardens yet brimming with plants stuffed everywhere. It also had its share of down and outs and more than enough drug addicts and dealers hanging around. There is only so much Bohemian one can take.
So heading back to the respectable end of town, we wandered through Bremen’s ‘secret high street’ featuring a gilded relief called the ‘Bringer of Light’
The old Trade Hall…
And this. The Windmill on the Wall. The windmill is in the middle of a city park and was constructed where the city’s fortifications once stood. There’s been a windmill here since the 15th century, the current one was built in 1898. It is now a restaurant.
The old city is built on a dune in the river Weser that flows through the city, handy for defending in less friendlier times. The river banks are green parkland, right next to the city centre and gives a real feel of openness and space. As we were strolling through this area (near the Windmill) before making our way back to the bus station, we met up with a drunk who started chatting with us, initially about trees and then the conversation such as it was, moved onto Brexit. This was different. He thought Trump and Boris are brilliant, he hates Germans even though he is one, and wants the Brits to kick the EU’s backsides. He’s the first person we have come across in Europe with this view. And he was a drunk, probably says it all really….
We’ll know later this morning/lunchtime if the van’s new part will work. To occupy ourselves we cycled off to Ikea, only 15 mins away by bike. Fabulous cycle route too. Eric was not keen obviously, I lured him with a promise of Swedish meatballs for lunch. A way to a man’s heart……
Good news! The van is fixed and it works! So relieved. With the bill paid, we left Bremen and continued our journey, stopping overnight near Groningen in the Netherlands before heading to Amsterdam on Friday. Oh, and it’s raining….