Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sonntag in Bremen

With the CWE crew at the Ratskeller.
July 6, 2014 - Bremen, Germany. By Todd Van Auken.

Sunday which translates to “Sonntag” in German was a marvelous day for exploring, adventure and leisure in the City Municipality of Bremen.

After recovering from the jet lag and excessive quantities of bratwurst and rich Gelato once arriving in Hamburg, our bodies were ready for the sights and sounds of Bremen’s historic quarter.  Just minutes by foot from the hotel, we were surrounded by centuries old architecture, statues and famous landmarks.

A wine barrel at the Ratskeller.
St. Peter’s Cathedral, which is over 1200 years old, is an impressive feat of early Gothic architecture.  The Town Hall or “Rathaus”, built in the early 1400’s, sits across from the cathedral.  Beneath the Rathaus is the Ratskeller where wines were once stored and sold.  It still houses Germany’s oldest barrel of wine dating back to 1653.  Some of the cohort enjoyed fellowship and gourmet food in the Ratskeller.  Outside of the town hall is the Bremen Roland Statue which along with the Rathaus is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.  The statue has symbolized trading rights and freedom since 1404.  Also nearby is the famous bronze sculpture of the Bremen Town Musicians. Visitors touch the legs of the mule for good luck.

The area is energized with street performers and musicians who draw large crowds while displaying acts of unique and sometimes strange talents.  There are also a variety of food vendors which adds a pleasing array of smells to the quarter.  Full from the meal in the Ratskeller, mental notes were taken as to which foods would be sampled later in the week.  Another “must-visit” for the sweet tooth is the Hachez chocolatier.  Suddenly after entering the store, the aroma of fresh German chocolate forced many of us to pretend that we were not as full so we could make room for a couple of truffles.

The "secret high street"
From here the group dispersed. Some walked off their meal by visiting Bottcherstrasse, a “secret high street” filled with merchants, craft workers and art.  Others partook in shopping and then rest back at the hotel.  A few highly motivated members of our group rented bicycles and experienced even more sites as they rode throughout the city.  Sonntag in Bremen was a wonderful day to end the week.

We must now rest in preparation for Montag and the academic program at the University of Bremen.