Travel Guide: The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
In my previous articles, I’ve written about Bremerhaven, or Bremen’s Harbour, the quaint city up north. Now, I’m gonna tell you about Bremen, or the Freie Hansestadt Bremen, which is an awesome city if you’re up for a little time traveling.
What’s Up With Bremen
I’m a bit sure the name Bremen rings a bell to you. That’s true if a) your favorite beer is Beck’s and/or b) you’ve read the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Town Musicians of Bremen”. But, anyway, Bremen is actually a city-state, one and the smallest of the sixteen states of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, its formal name, represents its historical ties with the Hanseatic League, a confederation of merchant associations and their market towns. This league existed for hundreds of years since the 1200s until the 1800s.
Going Out and About in Bremen
My husband and I arrived at the Bremen central station (Bremen Hauptbahnhof) and decided to walk to the Altstadt. Along the way, we found a windmill which we’ll tackle after a few moments.
We continued walking until we felt hungry. We decided to stop by in the middle of town and find something to eat. Luckily, there’s a branch of ALEX Bistro in Bremen!
Since we know what this restaurant is good, we chose to eat their burgers. I ordered their Joe’s Honey Mustard burger with a hefty side of McCain fries. Their burgers are totally worth every visit, and their fries are way different than the fries I’ve previously had. The fries may look like your regular fries, but they taste good, seasoned with spices.
After getting our fill of ALEX’s delicious burgers, it was time to explore. First stop was the so-called Bleikeller, which was right behind and beneath Bremen Cathedral. You have to descend a flight of steps in order to get to the crypt. Pay EUR 2,00 at the door and start looking around. You’ll be greeted by caskets of mummies.
This crypt has eight mummified remains of people that lived in Bremen more than 300 years ago. The name Bleikeller was taken from the fact that this area was used to store lead. The mummy in the photo above is said to have died from being shot as he screamed, thus his mouth gaping open.
The Bleikeller is basically a place for you if you’r into the macabre, or just plain curious. For me, you should take a peek especially if you haven’t seen mummies in your life. Now, on to our next destination, the Bremen Cathedral.
The Bremer Cathedral, or better known as the St Peter’s Cathedral, or Bremer Dom, is a very beautiful cathedral that looks way different from all the cathedrals and churches I have seen. It’s a fairly medieval building with a vaulted high ceiling.
As you walk inside, you’ll find some artifacts displayed along the way. My favourite was the cathedral key because it reminded me of the logo of Beck’s beer. Not only it did remind of a logo, I was awestruck to see such a huge key.
The pulpit was nothing like the rest of the pulpits I have seen previously. This pulpit is special because it is said to be given by Queen Christina of Sweden as a present to the city. What a beautiful gift.
From the cathedral, we head down to a street called Böttcherstraße. It is a short, quaint street filled with brick buildings that house museums and shops. This street produces its own charm due to the brick architecture all throughout. Böttcherstraße itself is a young area built in the 1930s, but the significance and the name bring back to the Middle Ages when the street was primarily inhabited by coopers (barrel-makers) as a connection from the river Weser to the market.
It was then time to head back to the central station as we had to catch a train. But, first, we need to get to the windmill! We treaded the usual route back but had to make a diversion into a park called Wallanlagen Park where we bumped into some regulars — a plump of mallard ducks.
At last, we were there. The best part of the whole scene is that there are lots of flowers! The flowerbeds were arranged as a visual treat for the visitors.
The windmill is called Mühle, and the place is called Mühle am Wall. The windmill dates back 100 years and now it houses a café.
Now, it was time to leave. We still have next time to visit Bremen again! We’ll be sure we’ll visit Beck’s Brewery first thing when we arrive.
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