In many parts of the city you will find complete streets or at least still parts of it lined with typical Bremen houses. It's a special style well know among architects in Germany. I do not know too many details about them from the technical side, but could tell immediately if this is a typical old Bremish house or not. And they are beautiful!!! I wish I had one of those, but unfortunately, they are all very expensive by now or need essential renovation: The houses are from the second half of the 19th century. Such a large and intact structure of such houses from that period in Europe only can be found still in London and Bonn.
If you have the chance and like great football and good atmosphere - visit a game of one of Europes finest football teams in their newly renovated Weserstadion (directly at the riverfront close to the city center). If everything goes well, in May 2004 Werder Bremen will be the newly crowned German Champion. So cross your thumbs or better come here and cheer with us!
The houses usually row up in long rows, but still are individually different. Only often you have 2 houses next to each other with a symmetric plan. They usually don't have a basement, but a souterrain. Often the terrace to the street side is a wintergarden with beautiful decors, yet many of those have been destroyed. From the street you see sometimes only 2 levels even though the houses are very narrow but stretch over 4 levels. The garden is up to 2 m below street level. Inside the ceilings are very high, 4 m and more, usually with beautiful stuck decor. With wooden floors (parkett) the beauty is perfect. If you have too much money, please buy me one.....
Walking with the group we have to do stupid games in order to justify the amounts being drunk. The games are so stupid they are fun again and the system is easy: You win a game - you get a shot to drink! You lose a game - you have to drink a shot as punishment. Understood the rules???
The restaurants at the outskirts of Bremen on winter weekends are all booked out with cabbage tours. Up to ?300 people in the large places meet here to eat - guess what - brown cabbage, drink, dance and flirt.
Green cabbage is typical for norther germany, but really famous as brown cabbage in Bremen. You eat Pinkel with it, if you dare. This is a rather grous looking wurst, really greasy, really great! Fresh potatoes, some other meats and ready is the delicious speciality. My friend in Hong Kong told me, even there are Bremen people organising brown cabbage tours in a big hotel.... I love you, cabbage!
During the party each group crowns its yearly king and queen. They have to spend some extra drinks and organize everything the next year.
This little wooden ape is a well known character, "Fipps the Ape", whose world travel tales were told in German comic book. Help came again from Win, Rhineroll, in explaining:
"it is a famous early comic story by Wilhelm Busch and large parts of its plot are set in Bremen so that might be the reason...
According to historical tradition every year on the second Friday of February "the dinner of workers" (Schaffermahlzeit) is arranged in the Great hall of the Rathaus.
It is a party for the most differed seamen and shipowners. Known public figures of all Germany are usually invited to this dinner.
Breakfast is a big thing in Germany. Grannies tell you that it is the most important meal of the day. Germans like to meet up for that. It can go on for hours and is mostly celebrated with a big variety of things, such as different buns, whole-grain bread various meat slice, gouda, goat cheese, camembert, honey melon, ham, boiled egg, scrambled egg, prosecco, cappuchino, latte.
Good locations are Piano and Litfass in the Viertel. Don't go to Alex for breakfast, it is expensive and the scrambled egg is served lukewarm.
We people from Bremen are strange - In the deepest winter we go outside and walk for hours over the dikes. No matter what the wheather is like - the worse the better. We walk, talk, drink, laugh, play funny games and in the end come to some restaurants where the cabbage party starts....
When you go to North Germany in winter, you will see quite a lot of restaurants serving dishes with kale. In German kale is called "Grünkohl" (green cabbage), but Bremen has a different name for it: "Braunkohl" (brown cabbage). I was very confused about this as kale is green and not brown! Anyway you can get all kind of different dishes with kale which is really interesting as we don't have this in restaurants where I live.
Also in North Germany there's a whole culture around kale. They have "kale tours" where a group of people makes a longer walk to a restaurant where they eat kale. To make that walk more fun the do some games on their walk also, and they take a handcart with alcoholic drinks with them. It's something typically done in autumn or winter, as that's the season for this vegetable.
It is good to know some useful phrases in German before going to Bremen. Here is a list of most useful ones:
Guten Tag!=Good Day!
Guten Abend! = Good evening!
Vielen Dank = Thank you very much.
Auf Wiedersehen = Goodbye. Tshüss=Bye.
Ich verstehe nicht = I don't understand. Sprechen Sie Englisch?=Do you speak English?
Bitte = please.
Ja = Yes. Nein = No. Nein, bitte = No thank you.
Wie geht es? = How are you? Gut = Very well. Zu gross = too big. Zu klein = too little. Wie viel kostet das? = How much is it? 1,2,3,4 = eins, zwei ,drei, vier. Ich möchte zahlen = I would like to pay. Mit Kreditkarte = with credit card. In bar = in cash. Frühstück = morning meal. Die Toilette = Men's or Ladies' room. Wo ist...= Where is... Wann ist...=When is... Zwei Erwachsene, bitte = Two adults, please. Strasse = Street. Fluss = River. Das Lebensmittelgeschäft = Food store. Das Kaufhaus = Department store. Das Postamt = Post office. Das da = That one. Dieses hier = This one. Ich nehme es = I'll take it. Briefmarken = Post stamps. Polizei = Police. In Richtung Berlin = toward Berlin. Hauptbahnhof = Main railway station. mehr / weniger = more / less. Einzelzimmer / Doppelzimmer = single room / double room. Mein Name ist ... = My name is... Wir bleiben nur eine Nacht = we will stay just for one night. Nichtraucher = Nonsmoking. Ein Bier, bitte = A beer, please. Die Wurst = Sausage. Sehr Gut = Very good.
Christian churches - be they Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic - are a vital part of Europeýs cultural, artistic, architectural, and religious heritage, and as such you are likely (and I really recommend doing this:)) ) to visit many of them. However, most of them are even today not only major tourist attractions, but also religious sites where people come to pray. This is something to be respected, and here are several pieces of advice I would like to give that might help avoid ill-feeling:
- Dress modestly, covering shoulders and most part of the legs (women in Orthodox churches might be requested to put on something to cover the head);
- Do not speak loudly - all the descriptions are better either read in silence or given outside;
- Try not to walk too much during the service;
- Avoid using flash in your camera near people you see praying;
- Respect notes that forbid entrance to some parts of the church that are designated as ýfor prayer onlyý.
Following these simple guidelines helped me when I visited, I guess, more than 1000 churches up to date:)))
The old seamen's neighborhood is now a colourful collection of all kind of little shops in narrow alleys. The neighborhood is near the old harbour and is called 'Schnoor' (which comes from the Dutch word 'snoer' ... rope used in shipping).
It is a Christmas Market, very typical in any city in Germany, where people like meeting after they 're done with work, to eat and drink something with their friends.
Booths with food, beverages, sweets, crafts and many other things can be found. It is a good place to buy the Christmas Decoration you were looking for.
It is interesting to see how much Germans enjoy getting together in the streets during this time before Christmas with their friends and relatives despite the low temperatures there might be. But well, I guess their trick is to drink a bit of "Glühwein" (hot wine) before getting freezed between beer and beer.
I would recommend to anybody going to Germany during Nov-December, just before Christmas, to see these markets.
Check the streets of Schwachhausen (a bit posh), Viertel/Ostertor, Steintor (posh, funky and dodgy at the same time - great!), Barkhof, Fesenfeld, also Neustadt, Findorff