Trying to bid adieu to my master thesis ennui, I recently spent 10 days in my hometown in Northern Germany. Whether it was the relief of finally looking up from a laptop screen or merely all the good food and drinks we had, I fell in love with Bremen…once again. It was like seeing an old lover that I had almost forgotten, scratched from my inner list of what to care about. I had moved on, found someone better. I mean, who can complain about living in Amsterdam? Only an insane person. And just to be clear – I’m definitely not complaining. I’m just saying, Bremen has its charms too and it is worth reminding myself from time to time. It also helped that I had some visits from my Amsterdam friends. Seeing a town through the eyes of a tourist changes your perspective. Suddenly you marvel at the beauty of its historical buildings. You discover things you have never seen before, although you might have looked at them a million times in passing. In honour of this enlightenment, I thought it would be nice to show you my favourite places and things to do in Bremen.
Take a walk in Bürgerpark
The biggest local park is in the middle of town and calls itself “park of the citizens”. Start at the Hollersee, with its enchanting view of Parkhotel and make your way up to Meierei. On your way, there will be a point where you can marvel at either establishment from afar, gazing over meadows and trees, standing on an old stone bridge. You’ll never want to leave.
Experience the Viertel
The Viertel is the most alive quarter in Bremen. Quirky little bars, well-stocked retailers, cozy cafés and bohemian boutiques make the Ostertorsteinweg a place to spend your day at. If the sun makes an appearance get some ice cream at Panciera and stroll through the streets leading up to Osterdeich. Each house on the way has a different colour, each one will make you say: “Gosh, I could live here.”
Kaffee & Kuchen at Café Tölke
Germans love their cake. It’s a stereotype because it’s true. At least this German does. Café Tölke is conveniently located in the Schnoorviertel, one of the oldest and most picturesque parts of Bremen. Explore these small cobble-stoned streets, shop for some souvenirs, squeeze yourself through the narrowest street – but for god’s sake – do not miss out on a Rumkugel from this cozy café. And this is the best way to catch up on some gossip. We even have a word for it in the Bremen dialect: Kaffeeklatsch.
Sunset at the harbour
You need a car for this. Drive through Rablinghausen while twilight sets in, all the way to the end until you see shipping containers. And then a bit further, until you see the floating cranes. Park at what used to be Lankenauer Höft, put your car radio on loud and dance around to David Bowie and Prince. The colours of the evening sky will take your breath away.
Catch a movie at Gondel
The Bremer Filmkunsttheater is a community of small-scale artsy cinemas in Bremen that mostly show European and/or indie films, sometimes even in the original version (don’t get me started on the stupidity of dubbing movies). The Gondel is my favourite one, as it has a bar attached to it with the flair of a Parisian café philosophique, where they serve delicious appetizers and unique drinks. Huge plus: you are allowed to take your wine glass into the screening room.
For a unique historical tour of this beautiful town give me a shout out. I’ve been told, I’m very good at it.