Sunday, January 13, 2013

Skating seagulls & narrow streets

Woke this morning to overnight snow … white rooftops out our window.  There is no shopping in Germany under German law so the only places you can get breakfast are the cafes at the railway station.. off we went, all rugged up because the temperature gauge said a nippy -5.

We met up with Alissa at 10am and our first stop was the statue of the Bremen Town Musicians – you remember the Grimms story of the Donkey, the dog, the cat & the rooster?  We took a couple of photos and then headed for the Schnoor … it’s a 14th & 15th century settlement on the edge of the Alstadt.   Obviously cars were not a consideration in those days so the ‘streets’ are really only 1-2 people-widths wide and wind around all over the place.  It’s tourist-vile but a) because it was Sunday and b) because we were quite early we practically had the place to ourselves.   We wandered round for a bit and came upon a Christmas Shop … even better the sign in the window says 50% off … it was THE MOST beautiful Christmas shop I have ever seen.  In a merchants house from the 1600’s and with the only remaining piece of the medieval town walls at the back, this place was fully decorated as if Christmas was tomorrow.  Rows & rows of glass bowls containing the mose beautiful glass ornaments, baubles, start, hearts, icicles, strings of beads … like a kid in a lollie shop I wandered round with my mouth open and a stupid grin on my face trying to take it all in.  It seems the old lady who owns the business had decided to retire …after 26 years and everything was to go by the end of March.  Needless to say, I added a few things to our growing collection.

After this we headed back into town and had coffee & cake in the dining room/restaurant of one of the city hotels …yum! Alissa explained I was a home ec teacher and the fellow behind the counter was happy for me to take photos … they were so beautiful to look at  … and turned out to be exceptionally yummy to eat too!

Keen to just walk for a bit after all the time we’d spent in Berlin racing in and out of museums, we took a stroll around the zig-zag shaped moat and embankment which creates the northern edge of the old city.  With the extreme cold & snow over night, there was now a frozen ‘river’ powdered white.  Seagulls & ducks were walking/skating around getting very cold feet!  It’s a really pretty part of Bremen, with lots of old trees and I can see how beautiful it would be in sprint & summer.

Tony’s knee was getting a bit cold so he headed back to the apartment & Alissa and I wandered some more  - up to the top of the roof-top carpark on the Kaufhof building for a view out over the whole city – on a clear day I am sure you could see for miles.

Dinner tonight was at Vapianos – a modern Italian place doing pizza, pasta etc – cool concept whereby you order and then watch the chef make your meal & cart it back to your own table – pots of rosemary & basil on the tables for you to use to add to your meal if you wish … something like this would rock in Sydney.

Early start in the morning as we’re off to Ieper in Belgium to visit some family related WW1 sites.  Train to Cologne, then Brussels and finally to Ieper.  Long long day but very much looking forward to Tuesday’s tour round some of the allied war cemeteries etc.

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