A ‘Grimm’ Time in Bremen

We got up around eight o’clock this morning as we were booked on a half-day tour of ‘Panoramic Northern Germany’.  In the Palms Café we said good morning to Roy and Joanie, and found out that Joanie hadn’t gone to bed until 02.45 this morning!!  So it was surprising that they were up this early to be honest.  😊

At 9.00am we disembarked the Balmoral and boarded the coach ready for our trip.  We were leaving behind the bustling city for the morning and venturing out to the more rural parts of the area.

We soon joined the autobahn and the driver put his foot down, as we sped through the towns, villages, commercial districts and farmland.  As we travelled through the less populated areas, the landscape and buildings grew prettier, with lots of trees, fields and flowers, as well as gorgeous little houses, some with thatched roofs.  We stopped at a place called Worpswede and the coach parked up so we could all get out.

Worpswede is a municipality in the district of Osterholz, in Lower Saxony.  It is situated in the Teufelsmoor, northeast of Bremen.  The small town itself is located near the Weyerberg hill.  It has been the home to a lively artistic community since the end of the 19th century, with over 130 artists and craftsmen working there.  Looking at the very individual designs of the buildings and gardens, it was easy to see evidence of the many crafts.  There were also a couple of art galleries.

We walked for a short way through some woods and saw some very distinctive buildings and sculptures designed by architect and sculptor Bernhard Hoetger.  Many of the buildings featured rounded corners and acute or obtuse angles (rather than right-angles).  There was also a hint of native American design about them, such as totem designs or roof projections meant to resemble tepee tops.  The gardens were manicured and there was a lot of lush green lawns as well as flower borders.

We saw a few more individual thatched houses and cottages and an old well.  We then briefly visited an Evangelical church and walked around its grounds.  The sun was shining by now, so we enjoyed the lovely scenery and the fresh air.  We saw a field with a couple of horses placidly cropping the grass; we were amused because the horses were wearing coats in a zebra striped pattern, as well as mesh masks to keep the flies away from their eyes.  I joked that the horses must have been robbers because they were in disguise and had stockings over their heads!  😊

Soon it was time for us to go for some refreshments.  We went into this lovely old hotel, full of oak beams, old heavy furniture, china ornaments and dressers with plates and old-fashioned lamps.  It was dimly lit inside but it added to the hotel’s immense character.  We enjoyed some strong German coffee and a couple of pieces of butter cake; the cake was very rich and sweet and was coated in a crunchy layer of sugar (most of which I scraped off).  Because the cake was quite substantial, we decided we wouldn’t have any lunch.

The guide then rounded us all up for the return journey to Bremen.  It took a bit longer to get back because there was a big traffic tailback on the autobahn, so the driver decided to take a different route; it was longer, but quicker than being stuck in the traffic.  On the way, the guide told us the very apt Grimm fairy tale of The Bremen Town Musicians.

Arriving back in Bremen, we had a brief stop in the city centre to allow is to see the Town Hall, the impressive Bremen Cathedral (dedicated to St. Peter) and, of course, the statue depicting the donkey, the dog, the cat and the rooster that make up the “Bremen Town Musicians”.  Bremen town centre looked absolutely amazing, so we decided we’d come back this afternoon and explore further.

The bus took us back to the Balmoral, where we waited outside the dock gates for the shuttle bus back into town.  We had a wait of about 10 minutes, then another ride of about half an hour through the traffic for the seven-kilometre journey, dropping us off at the Radisson Blu hotel in town.  We now had the afternoon at leisure to do our own thing.

Bremen is a really fascinating city; the buildings are so interesting and there were so many shops, cafés and bars.  We decided to buy some postcards and sit and have a beer while writing them out.  We found a lively open-air bar in the market square and we sat down at a table under a sun-shade and ordered a pint of Beck’s beer each, as Beck’s is brewed in Bremen.  The beer was cold and thirst-quenching and went down a treat as I wrote out the cards, sat and relaxed and people-watched.

Once our beers were finished, we asked directions to the post office and took the cards there to get stamped and posted.  Then we had another wander around and window-shopped before returning to the Radisson hotel and joining the queue for the shuttle bus back.

Back in cabin 4137, we got ourselves showered and primped and preened because, once again, tonight was formal night.  This time I wore a black velvet and lace dress with a red velvet bodice; the skirt was shorter at the front and cascaded down at the back.  I teamed it with a short black velvet bolero with a mandarin collar, fishnet tights and black stiletto shoes with 5” heels.

As we hadn’t had any lunch, we were good and hungry for dinner.  We enjoyed the usual delicious four-course meal, washed down with chilled wine and finished off with coffee and a glass of Grand Marnier.  However, one of us was missing from table #76 – Joanie had not been well (some gastrointestinal issues) and so had been confined to her cabin for 24 hours as a precaution.  Roy said he thought her very late night last night had a lot to do with it!

Walking back through the restaurant on our way to the Neptune Lounge, my unusual Gothic outfit received a lot of compliments and comments.  😊

Just after 8.00pm, feeling the increased vibrations coming up through the floor, we looked out of the window to see that the Balmoral was slowly making her way down the river Weser towards the North Sea again.  We felt quite sad because it meant “bye bye” Germany; the next time we’d set foot on terra firma we’d be back in Newcastle.  ☹

Tonight, the Neptune Lounge featured the Balmoral Crew Show, so we made sure to get good seats as these traditional folkloric shows are always very good.  We saw singers and dancers from the Philippines and Thailand, all wearing colourful costumes they had sewn themselves in their ‘spare’ time.  It was a heart-warming show and they all got a huge cheer at the end.

Then it was just the usual – the quiz in the Observatory at 10 o’clock (we didn’t win!), after which we spent some time talking and drinking and enjoying each other’s company while the hours winged by and midnight came and went once more.  By now the Balmoral was in the open sea, but all was calm and the ship’s motion was barely discernible.  Once again we slept very well after a very full, very interesting day.

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