Bremen & Hamburg Germany 31 May & 1 June 2014

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June 1st 2014
Published: June 5th 2014
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Bremen Germany 31 May 2014

After leaving Leeuwarden on a magnificent morning with sun shining and clear skies we drove just over 300kms , across the German border to Bremen. Bremen was once a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and is still one of the most important cities in northern Germany. Together with the city of Bremerhaven on the North Sea it forms Germany's smallest state. Bremen has more than 1200 years of history, and was, for most of its existence, an independent city-state.

Bremen is a rather long and narrow city, lined along both sides of the river Weser. Along the north-west/south-east axis it stretches about 10 km, but across only 2 km. The entire city is located on flat plains.'

We loved this town. We booked into Camping Wienberg which was 14 kms out of the town. We drove Mollie into a Park'n Ride and caught the train into the main square of the town. Wow, what a beautiful old Centrum. The main square (Market Platz) was surrounded by history. The Old Town Hall (Rathaus which is one of the finest in Europe and as such has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Building work started in 1410 and it is seen as an important display of the wealth and freedom of the city. ) and the St Peters Cathedral (The Dom which is ) is over 1200 years old, and its huge towered facade dominates the main square. the interior is impressive with some fine painted details on the ceilings) were the 2 major buildings. There were outdoor cafes everywhere. We of course had to sit down for our obligatory coffee. We wandered around the town and through the little alley ways, all of which were lined with historic buildings. We even saw a place where lollies were being made.

During the afternoon of 31 May and the morning of 1 June, we also saw:

· Roland, a statue on the main square is of the Knight Roland who was a protector of trade. It appears in many European cities especially those involved in the Hanseatic league. Bremen's is considered one of the finest and is included with Town Hall on the World Heritage List.

· Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Town Musicians of Bremen) perhaps the most well known figures associated with Bremen are the characters from the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale, their image adorns many of the souvenirs in the city. Next to the Town Hall is a much photographed statue of them.

· Böttcherstrasse, is the incredible Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) street that runs from the main square towards the river. There are many fine façades and courtyards all with large amounts of design detail. There is an impressive Glockenspiel that chimes at regular intervals. There are lots of shops and several Museums, including the impressive Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum.

· Am Wall is a lovely park next to the former defensive moat which offers a nice place to sit and relax.

· Schnoor this area of twisting lanes is a lovely place to wander aimlessly looking at in the many shops and also at the world smallest hotel (which has one room)

We made our way to the River and wandered along the banks where there were more restaurants and bars. It was a lovely town, which we enjoyed.

That night, we chatted to a number of Dutch people who were our neighbours in the camp site.

The evening was 'warm' (16 degrees) but there was no wind so it felt warmer.

Hamburg Germany Sunday 1 June 2014

After seeing Bremen over the 2 days, we drove further north-east to Hamburg. We decided on a beautiful camping ground about 25kms south-east of Hamburg which was next to the River Elbe which was dyked from the Campingplatz Stover Strand. There has obviously been flooding of the area in the past.

As we were driving to the camping ground, we came across a flock of sheep which were up the side of the dyke. The children in the camping ground loved the site of the sheep.

After we checked into the camp site, we drove 17 kms to a train station and parked our motor home. We then caught the efficient German train into the Hamburg city centre.

The city of Hamburg has a well-deserved reputation as Germany's Gateway to the World. It is the country's biggest port and the second-busiest in Europe, despite being located astride the River Elbe, some 100 kilometres from the North Sea. It is also Germany's second largest city with a population of over 1.8 million and the Greater Hamburg Metropolitan Region has a population of over four million. Hamburg is proud of its status as a "Free and Hanseatic City" and thus shares the same status as a province, making up one of Germany's 16 federal-states orBundesländer.

Hamburg is a city-state. It values its status as a city, being as independent as possible of other states that have existed or currently exist in Germany. Over the centuries, Hamburg has always been an international city. This is not only because of its position in international trade, but also in political dimensions.

One of the most important harbours in Europe and the world, Hamburg takes great pride in its mercantile background, which built the city's wealth in the past centuries. From 1241 on, it was member of the Hanseatic League, a medieval trade monopoly across Northern Europe.

The harbour is the heart of the city, however, Hamburg is also one of the most important media hubs in Germany. Half of the nation's newspapers and magazines have their roots in Hamburg. And, unknown even to some locals, is the fact that, with one of the Airbus aircraft assembly plants, Hamburg is a major location of the world's aerospace industry, right after Seattle (USA) and Toulouse (France).

Once we arrived at Hamburg's central railway station we saw that to the west of the station was mainly a shopping area with the streets Spitaler Straße and Mönckebergstraße, leading to Hamburg's town hall. Close to the Mönckebergstraße we saw the churches St. Jacobi (at road Jakobikirchhof) and St. Petri (at road Bergstraße), two of Hamburg's five main churches. Directly beside St. Petri there is the Hulbe-Haus, originally built as an arts and crafts house and dating from the beginning of the 20th century as most buildings around, but looking much older.

Behind the Hulbe-Haus, under the building of "Radio Hamburg", we saw the remains of the bishops tower, from the 11th century. On the other side of the road, we saw excavations in progress, seeking the remains of the small fortress Hammaburg, which was erected in the 9th century giving Hamburg its name.

The Mönckebergstraße ends at Hamburg's impressive city hall ("Rathaus"). It was built in 1897 out of sandstone in Neo-Renaissance style, including a 112 m tower. Inside there are several magnificent halls used for representative purposes and sittings of government and parliament.

We wandered around the central area and along the waterways. We appreciated that it was Sunday and so the streets and malls were very quiet for such a big city.

After a look around over 4 hours of walking, we stopped and had dinner before hopping on the train back to our motor home.

We drove back to the camp site, emptied the grey water and filled up the water tank before parking the motor home next to some water after driving over the dyke.

We then went to the camp site's restaurant for a couple of Champagnes. At about 9.00pm we walked back to our motor home just in time for a magnificent sunset. There was a fellow who was also fishing but he said he hadn't caught anything. Again, it was a beautiful evening with a bit of a nip in the air.

The next morning was beautiful - clear and warm. We had eggs for breakfast in the sunshine. Other couples were enjoying being outside also, gazing over the river and green surrounds. It was a bit hard to pack up and leave but we gave ourselves a little more time as our washing was in the dryer. Once done we headed for Puttgarden which was where we were going to catch the ferry across to Denmark.

We drove through lots of flat farmland where all the crops were green. My brother-in-law Brian would have loved this drive. He loves 'flat'!!!! We arrived at the ferry terminal, paid our 92 Euros and after 15 minutes, drove onto the ferry for our 45 minute ride to Denmark.

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