Scare stories about the hotel wifi being terrible were inaccurate, so with a mildly ropey head I was able to iPlayer myself some Have I Got News For You early doors, rather than wake Helen. What eventually woke her, and me since I'd nodded back off, was an unwanted knock at the door. We'd locked up and put the chain on, and I shouted "nein danke" or something, but bah. Stop doing cleaning so early!
It was early 'n all. About 0930. Time for me to get up and go out though, on my own; we had charger fail, so it fell to me to pop round to Saturn - Germany's answer to the question "what would happen if we merged Comet and Maplin?" - to buy a USB-C to USB-A cable. Thus Helen was able to charge her phone, which might come in useful if we were to go anywhere picturesque.
Wrote up the story of our BA flight to Hannover on Friday night, and then set off out to the station just as an alert came through that there was some kind of disruption to BA today. Perhaps it was lucky we'd come out the previous evening.
We were heading to the station because we weren't intending to spend any time in Hannover today. It's our bolt hole, but we'd decided some weeks back to take a day trip to Bremen. One niedersachsen ticket later, via some free chocolate and a pretzel and baguette purchase, we're on a very crowded platform. Entirely by luck we happen to be standing exactly where a door stops, so we get seats on what ends up being an inordinately crowded service.
Next up, walking past all the Jesus people and the unfortunate girl having a fit over the way. Lots of people helping out, thankfully. Kinda hope none of them are trying to perform an exorcism.
On the other side of the square is Böttcherstrasse, a small passage with some museums and shops, opening up into a nice little square with a couple of pubs/restaurants. The strasse has an impressive opening.
So says Wikipedia, Böttcherstrasse was an attempt by some fella in the 1920s to build a street dedicated to Nazi ideals, but the Nazis themselves didn't like it and considered it degenerate art. Huh. Also there's a leter box I'm peculiarly taken by.
Out the other end, we walked along the main road and then ducked into the area called Schnoor. This is the oldest part of Bremen, a series of small streets full of buildings built in the 15th, 16th, 18th and 19th century. No explanation is given for what happend in the 17th century. Perhaps it was a period of awful architecture? (Later, we learn that there was a war that century, so perhaps people were either a bit too busy to build, or busy destroying new stuff)
Before exploring it properly we double back to get some cash out, expecting that we might finally need some. On our way to the ATM a lady asks us for directions - in German - to Schnoor, and I manage to answer her accurately and entirely in German myself... using hand gestures and the single word rechts. Go me!
Once we have money, we realise we can now afford a pint, so we sit down and have a pint at the kaiser's hof.
Finally, we do actually wander through Schnoor. It's both an area and the name of the main road within it, full of craft shops, souvenir shops, working artist studios, cafes, etc. The whole place is fantastic. There are walking tours all around, but it's still not hugely crowded.
At the far end there's a sign to a museum, and another to a theatre, but we're interested in neither. What the bloody hell is this permanent Christmas shop all about though? I guess it's apt since this trip is Helen's Christmas present, but seriously. What?
Inside, it's just a shop selling a wide variety of posh decorations. Thankfully they aren't playing festive music. There's also a Mrs Claus statue that looks to me like Maggie Thatcher. Shudder.
Back up through Schnoor again and it's time to retrace our steps, and look for food. The heat has been beating down on us all day so we're looking for places with outdoor seating in the shade, and are regularly foiled; no luck at the platz, no luck at Böttcherstrasse, no luck at the cafe by the windmill which has a sign saying something about technical issues.
Eventually we find a tapas bar with a confusing way of ordering, at least to me - write stuff on a bit of paper, take it up, wait to have your name shouted out when the food is ready. Our waitress - not that anyone waits on tables here, actually - is tri-lingual in German, English and Spanish which helps enormously. We order a ton of food and some very nice booze - Helen loves her sangria di cava.