One good reason for choosing the campground, was that it was the nearest to Bremen town centre. We (including Daisy) discovered we could take the tram just down the road from the campground into Bremen. This fast and efficient service took us to just outside the old town and in a few hundred yards we were in the old market place.
Bremen is the smallest Land of the Federal Republic of Germany i.e. a city state and has fought hard for its independence over the years. Bremen started life in 765 AD and became an import trading port gradually growing importance. As in many German towns Bremen merchants were often in dispute with their church governors which flared in 1358 into open hostility leaving with one-upmanship in bricks and mortar seen today with such buildings as the Rathaus, the Roland statue and the Dom.
The Rathaus dominates the historic market square with its Renaissance facade. Opposite the Rathaus is the equally ornate Schuttung mansion the former guildhall of the merchants now the local chamber of commerce. Below the Rathaus is the Ratskeller which we didn’t explore but has the world’ foremost cellar of German wines (over 650)
Within the market square were two rather unusual statues. Firstly the huge stone statue (15m) of Roland, a knight of the 14th/15th century who symbolises the civil rights of the citizens of Bremen and has stood on the same spot since 1404. The second was that the: Bremen Awesome Foursome”. In the Grimm brothers collation of Lower Saxony folk tales the story goes that a donkey, dog, cat and cockerel travelled to Bremen to seek a future as musicians. They sought shelter in a house only to discover it was occupied by thieves. To scare the thieves off they form a pyramid with the donkey on the bottom and the cockerel on the top. They made so much noise the robbers ran away and the four settled down to live happily ever after.
After exploring the old market place, the cathedral (not that impressive) and the market we headed into the area called Bottcherstrasse. This is definitely a different area. The street entrance has a gilded relief called Luchtbringer or Bringer of Light. This street was transformed by the coffee baron Ludwig Roselius (Kaffee Hag) in the 1920s when he commissioned a team of avant-garde artists to jazz up the then derelict houses with Jugenstil, Art Deco and Expressionist styles. When the street was opened the Third Reich condemned it as degenerate.
We arrived at the Weser River and the water front which had originally been the town’s port until the river silted up and forced the creation of the sea-port of Bremerhaven920 miles away) in the late 1800’s. It was a quiet and pleasant area to walk in the glorious sunshine.
From the river we walked into the Schnoorviertal area of Bremen. This was the former quarter of fishermen, sailors and craftsmen and is an area of pretty narrow streets and small timbered houses. We found a lovely little tea house for lunch.
After exploring the Schnoorviertal area we then walked the extensive gardens that surround the old town before catching the tram back to base.
Would we visit Bremen again? Definitely. A really lovely city which has a small town feel. Would certainly be near the top of our list of best places to visit.