Hello everyone, I'm Kim from notcrazyunwell.com / notcrazycreative.com and I am very excited about this chance to show you a little slice of my hometown of Bremen in northern Germany. Thanks so much for this opportunity, Danielle!
I was born and raised in Bremen, and apart from 13 months between '97 and '98 that I spent abroad in the Twin Cities, I've lived here all my life. I love my hometown. With its population of roughly 550,000 people it isn't a small town but also not a huge city where you can barely make it from one end to the other in a day. One of the things I love most about Bremen is the fact that you can get almost everywhere by bike or public transportation. Up until 2007 – when my boyfriend C moved here with me from the U.S. – I didn't even have a car.
The beautiful river Weser runs right through the middle of Bremen. It's an important part of the city and there is always a lot going on along the river. In the summer you will see people chilling on the grass of the dike/levee, having BBQs or just drinking some wine or beer pretty much 24/7. There are also several cafes along the river. One of my favorite ones is the Café Sand with a small beach, nets to play volleyball and lots of tables outside. There is even a small ferry that goes across the river right to the beach of the Café Sand during the summer months because it's located between two bridges and would be somewhat difficult to get to on foot or bike without the ferry.
The stadium for our local soccer team Werder Bremen is also located right at the river. So during the soccer season there's always something going on on game days. If you're interested in soccer at all, I recommend you try and get tickets to a home game. The atmosphere is amazing and you can usually get tickets for right around 15-30 Euros which makes it much more affordable than American Football… Then in the summer there are usually a few concerts in the stadium during which hundreds of people just bring blankets, drinks and snacks and just get comfortable all around the stadium to listen to music.
Another great area along the river is the Schlacht. It used to be the medieval harbor of Bremen (the modern port is some kilometers downstream) and is now a riverside boulevard with pubs and bars aligned on one side and the banks of Weser on the other. It is always packed there in the summer and even during the colder months it's a popular place to go bar-hopping.
Speaking of bar-hopping... :) Aside from the area we live in, the neighborhood I'm going to tell you about next is my favorite one in Bremen. It's called the Viertel- which basically means "the Quarter," and is kind of a hip-artsy-laid back neighborhood. It begins just a few minutes walk from downtown right by our art museum and is about 2 km long parallel to the river. There are lots of small restaurants, bars and individually owned stores – only a few small chains really. I would call it the heart of Bremen and just love the atmosphere there. As soon as we get a little bit of sun everyone is out there on their bikes, walking around, sitting in the sun (with blankets if necessary) and just living. A lot of times that “living” is accompanied by a beer – or to be more specific – a Beck’s Beer which is brewed in Bremen. For anyone interested: the brewery offers (English) tours on a regular basis ;)
Next up is our beautiful city center with the statue “Roland," our gorgeous City Hall which was built right around 1405, the beautiful Cathedral and shopping area. The heart of the city center is a market square which is surrounded by buildings from the last seven centuries that host businesses, restaurants, bars, banks and little stores. It is the oldest part of the city. And when you walk around City Hall you will find the famous statue of the “Bremen Town Musicians." As the legend goes, when you hold onto both (!) of the Donkey’s legs at the same time and make a wish it’ll come true. This is why the front legs of the donkey are always shiny. :)
A few minutes walk away – kind of “hidden” is the “Schnoor," which is definitely another one of my favorite places in the city. The “Schnoor” is a small but really well-preserved quarter of crooked lanes and fishermen's and shipper's houses from the 17th and 18th centuries, now occupied by cafés, artisan shops and art galleries. It’s one of the areas where you really feel and see just how old Bremen is. It’s beautiful and you can see something new every time you walk through the tiny lanes and paths.
Bremen is very multi-faceted, which is one of the reasons I think it’s so beautiful. There are a couple of fairs each year with rides, booths, music and parties as well as a beautiful Christmas-Market in the city center in December. There are a lot of beautiful neighborhoods with houses over a hundred years old and still in great shape. There is a gorgeous park about a five minute bike-ride from where I live that’s always busy with families going for a stroll, joggers, old couples going for their afternoon walk, people walking their dogs...there is a small “zoo” and a couple nice restaurants in the park; it’s one of the things Bremen is particularly proud of.
There is so much more beautiful about my hometown but you’re going to have to see it in person. So make sure to plan a stop in our beautiful Harbor City when you take a trip to Europe. And feel free to get in touch – I’d love to show you my beautiful Bremen in person. xoxoxo