Are you planning a short visit to Bremen from Amsterdam?
A state with two cities, Bremen and Bremenhaver, make together the smallest state in Germany. Full of cultural sites, mainly in the historical center, makes it easy to organize a short visit from Amsterdam.
This Guide is divided into three Blog posts with an average reading time of 6 minutes per post, based on my last weekend trip to Bremen:
- How to get there and what to see from the train station to the old city.
- Schnoor and the bay.
- Bremerhaven from Bremen
A. How to get there?
Bremen has an airport, but we find it faster and uncomplicated due to the issues happening lately in Schiphol going by bus from Amsterdam. Flixbus departed at 2 am from Sloterdijk station and stops at Schiphol airport. Therefore, the trip was pleasant and comfortable. We took only backpacks as this was a 3-day trip, but you can opt to have luggage, of course. The option of booking the seats is possible and advisable, as the bus comes from Belgium, and at this point, it is already mostly complete. One down thing about the bus is the lights went on at every stop while announcing the halt. Handy if you have a profound sleep like me to not is your stop, but if you have a light sleep, I would recommend going on the back seats. Still, this bus made only one stop at Groningen, still in The Netherlands.
We arrived at 6:30 am, and the bus stop in Bremen was one block away from Bremen Central Station. My advice if you arrive early is to go for coffee and a snack here, as most of the city cafés open at 8 am. The best options are on the back side of the station (further away from the bus stop), where you can find different bread options and pretzels. At the station, you can also find toilets for a small fee.
Pay close attention to the mural after the main entrance when at the station. You will see a summary of the maritime past and the first view of the Bremen Musicians. If you are unfamiliar with the kids' story, I recommend you read it. You will see musicians everywhere.
Fun fact: Did you know the Bremen musicians never arrived in Bremen?
B. What to see in Bremen?
Bremen is a cultural city with Unesco monuments and multiple museums and galleries. So let's divide the visit into 1 or 2 full days to make things easier -still, I believe you can visit Bremen on a Full Day if you are short of time.
Then, we will make an optional third day for Bremerhaven.
On your first day
Discover the city on foot. The old town is small and beautiful. Walking from the train station, you will pass a bridge only 12 mins away. Over your right side, there is a windmill not actually in use. But stop here and pay attention to the river's shape. The main characteristic of this river is to have been made of a zigzag shape. This river was outside the former city's protection wall, and there were towers with archers. If a boat approached, it was easy for the Bremen inhabitants to stop it, as the zigzag shape made the boat longer to reach the city's entrance. (Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/bRRNE73KFzhsnPBE9)
Look now to the other side of the road, across the avenue. You will see very large letters with the word "#MOIN." Our fantastic guide, Adio from Lokafy, explained this is how locals say Good morning - Guten Morgen in German - the term evolved and shortened with time. So sometimes you'll listen to "Moin,moin."
If you continue your journey, you will enter the city. The first avenue is called Am Wall, the original place where the protection wall was located. Then, you will see a very curious sculpture. A man is guiding pigs. You are now on the pedestrian street named Sögestraße. (Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/c3zuehPZDRX1msgd8)
As an essential European port, Bremen had the fortune to be tax-free. Therefore, a central market where everything was traded was located. We are walking towards it as major old markets in Europe are primarily the nowadays main squares. The sculpture is due to the existence of this market, so the pigs were brought here to be fed on the food leftovers, then left the city through the northern gate, located in the area you are now standing. This is why this street was called the Street of the Pigs.
Nowadays, this commercial street is where you can find different stores and restaurants. When you approach the end, you will see how an old building starts to be seen. It is a fantastic view of the ancient and modern buildings together.
We are now in the Altstadt or Old Town, and if you arrive early, you will find it primarily empty for taking as many pictures of the buildings as you like. The picture above is the Marcus Fountain (Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/ps3GAeZEbTYr3cnv7)
From here, I must confess my first stop was looking for the Town Musicians, as it was my goal to go to this city, which was on my bucket list for a long time. So, here they are:
We are now right across the Bremer Marktplatz. So please, take a couple of minutes to enjoy 360º of absolute beauty.
Do you see the big statue. That is the Roland, standing at the square since 1404. Our guide told us while Roland stands in the city, freedom will reign. So, rumors say there is a replacement for this Roland in the city, just in case.
If you turn to your left on this point, you will see a narrow street at your left. On that direction is Schüttingstraße
After passing this door you will be transported in time. The walls, the shops, everything around. Take your time, explore each corner. There is also a candy shop in one of the spaces with a fountain decorated with the town musicians on the top. Here is where I heard the story of the seven lazy brothers of Bremen.
Legend says, the brothers were not hard workers in the family farm and, as they couldn't find any work in the city, there went to explore the world. Then, they saw different ways to do things, and they brought these new technics to Bremen and applied them to the farm of their father. They implement irrigation, also paved the road, and constructed a dyke to prevent flooding. There is an interesting remark on this story, some people see it as lazyness, to not do the same as everything is already be done, other see it as inventive and have courage to be different.
And we arrived to the last part in our first day in Bremen. If you have read this so far, thank you and next week the second part of this tour is going to be on the blog.
Have a great weekend and happy holidays from Amsterdam!
Until next time,
Joanna, your Amsterdam photographer
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