Beautiful Bremen – Glimpses of a Seasonal Wonderland!

We will….

We won’t.

We will....

We won’t…..

What do you think?….

We’ll take the chance….

It’s not worth the risk….…..

On and on and on – right up to our 3.15am departure from the house on Friday morning….

And so we went….

To Bremen

Lest I sound like a madwoman, let me clarify – this was never about my being desperate to get to a Xmas Market – I’m not that crazy! This trip was to be the next phase of an odyssey begun two years ago. Myself and a pal worked in Hamburg in the summer of 1979. So – in 2019 – to celebrate our 40th anniversary ( can’t believe I’m writing this!!!) we decided to retrace our steps. As it happened, it was the end of November before we could coordinate a weekend between ourselves and our plus ones (ah for those days when we were always on the go!!!). Anyway, we’d a lovely trip to Hamburg and decided to make it an annual event, at the same time of year, revisiting all the places we went to in the summer of ’79. Of course Covid put paid to last year’s plans for Bremen but here we were – 2021, fully vaxed and raring to go!

Things weren’t too grim in October when we booked but, as the date approached, news was bad all over – and that was before Omicron! As it happened, urgent family matters meant the other two had to pull out on Wednesday – so it was down to the two of us to make our own decision.

Bremen at any time of the year is gorgeous, but just picture the end of November – the last of the autumn leaves and the first of the Christmas lights – Magic!!

To go or not to go…

Well that’s everyone’s personal decision.

But I can tell you the following about Bremen:

Highly visible security presence in markets.

Masks must be worn when strolling through the markets.

Booths at entrance to markets issuing wristbands to those who can prove they are vaccinated/ recovered.

Wristbands needed for the food stalls (even though they are open air).

Everything closed early (we left restaurant at 10.00pm and the markets were empty and in complete darkness).

Shops – very strict and staff on high alert re masks etc.

Restaurant ( Friday night) – Police arrived in and every single diner had to produce a Covid cert and ID.

39 thoughts on “Beautiful Bremen – Glimpses of a Seasonal Wonderland!

    1. We’re well used to masks in shops, restaurants and on public transport but this was the first time I think that we were expected to wear them outdoors – So several people – mostly visitors / tourists forgot to replace them after eating. But they were quickly reminded by passing security wardens and police! Yes – let’s hope we’re not in for another miserable stretch…..

  1. Great photos. Such a struggle to know what’s safe and what isn’t. This new variant is going to make things lively again I think. Glad you felt safe enough to go. Going to the German Christmas markets is on my list – not that I’m much of a shopper but it’s the atmosphere I so want to see. Ah maybe someday.

    1. This was our third venture out of the country since the summer – we were in Spain for a wedding and Cyprus in October – but this was the trickiest by far to decide upon. And to be honest – I probably wouldn’t go this Friday if we’d booked for this coming weekend. Not with the headlines the way they are at the moment. The markets are lovely – it’s worth doing once for the experience… someday!!

  2. We made just the same trip a few years ago…thoroughly enjoyed it and Bremen itself. Regarding mask wearing, having travelled quite a lot this year, all we can say is that when we get back to England and hardly anyone is wearing a mask and we never have to prove vaccination, feels utterly weird. Mask wearing changes today here but generally we are so much more lax than other countries. We’ve actually felt safer while travelling!

    1. We returned from Cyprus in October via Eindhoven in Netherlands. We’d a long stopover so got the bus into town for a few hours. Everyone was masked on the bus but we were totally taken aback when we went into the first department store and no one – including staff – were masked up! Same with the restaurant we went to for lunch. It felt completely wrong!!! We were so used to masks indoors everywhere else…

  3. I’m very glad you made it and had a bit of Christmas magic. I remember going to Cologne before Christmas pre-pandemic and, like one of the earlier commenters, loved the atmosphere despite not being a natural shopper. I’m looking forward to going to another continental Christmas market next year and, based on your post, will certainly consider Bremen. Thanks

    1. My first Xmas market was Cologne some years ago …. loved it. Bremen would be much smaller – but still plenty there…. If you are considering that part of the world, have a look at combining Hamburg and Bremen – they’re just about 70 minutes apart by train.

  4. stunning Marie and worth the trip.. the world could learn from the Bremen approach to Covid alert ..

    1. You’re right Teresa – we certainly had no problem complying with any rules – actually we were delighted with the measures – definitely made us feel safer. XXXM

  5. Great trip and glad you made the decision to go, you as the first of the intrepid travellers as it were, we all coming up behind you after you’ve braved the way. Mind you, I haven’t the nerve yet to travel beyond my own little area, although I have booked a couple of trips next year starting in March. It will be be over by then, won’t it? Won’t it?? I’ve been to lovely Bremen – and Bremenhaven – and loved them both (blogged about it a few years ago), but I’ve never been to Christmas market, ever. Must rectify that one day. Your photographs make it look so cosy and Christmassy, yes I know that was the idea, but you know what I mean. I like Bremen’s approach to Covid. We could do with a bit more of that here. Just think, if we put Boris in a mask we might not have to listen to him!

    1. I think you’d like the markets Mari – for the atmosphere and decoration. But don’t plan on getting all you Xmas shopping done at one – it doesn’t work that way! You’ll pick up a few bits, scatter them on the table when you get home and think – is that all I got!
      I’ve nothing else booked for now. I thought we might go somewhere in January but that won’t happen – But I’d be very hopeful for March ….

  6. I am glad to see you were able to go, Marie 🙂 I’ve never been to Bremen but it looks like one of those wonderfully magical fairy tail cities – I can only imagine how beautiful it must be once the fresh snow falls and all the twinkling lights are switched on. We have the same Bremen Town Musicians from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale statue in Riga just behind St. Peter’s Church. Only the animals are not facing the bandits like in the original, but instead, the group looks through a crack in a wall The statue was gifted by Bremen in 1990 and the city planned to put it in the recently designed “Park of Peace”. As the park project never come to frustration, the statute was left beside the church. Cheers 🙂 Aiva xx

    1. The city itself is gorgeous – even without the markets. And quite accessible. I’m not sure whether Ryanair still flies to Bremen but we flew to Hamburg and got the train. I’ll certainly hunt down the musicians if and when I get to Riga – definitely on the list! XXXMarie

    1. It was lovely to immerse myself in a bit of Xmas cheer … can’t get myself excited about the festive season with the way things are going so glad to have had the experience….

  7. Looks so pretty at night with all the lights! I bet you’re glad you went and enjoyed the Christmas spirit and a trip away for a few days. How reassuring to know that they are taking things very seriously with masks and proof of vaccines and that hand sanitizer dispenser is too cute!!

    1. Beautiful after dark with the backdrop of those stunning buildings. It was lovely to get away Linda – especially with the way things are heading now…

  8. Oh Marie, it’s so so beautiful. Bremen is such a lovely city, and I’m so glad you went. We are meant to be going to Hamburg on 17th December…..who knows what will have happened in the next 2 weeks though!

    1. If things continue to escalate Hannah, I’d say the decision might be taken out of your hands anyway. On the other hand – if you do go…. from our experience last week, there were so many precautions at the airports, public transport, restaurants and markets that we encountered very few situations that made us particularly nervous. If you’ve an early flight than make sure to have a good look around the markets on the Friday which is much quieter and then you can go back for anything to buy on Saturday without having to browse through the crowds. If it’s your first time in Hamburg it would be worth joining a free walking tour on Saturday morning – if they’re still running them (I couldn’t find one for Bremen but then met a few tours while we were there). It really spoils the build up to the trip doesn’t it – hard to look forward to it with this going on…

  9. 3:15 am I would call the middle of the night, lol, but you had a great reason to go. Hope one time the Christmas markets will jump over to this side of the pond! Great views! Have never been in Bremen – my year in W-Berlin was too short to get to all the German cities. But who knows whenever ….

    1. I swore once I retired I’d never do those early morning flights ever again!!!! Some much for that!!! The one thing in my favour is that I can catnap anywhere – so I dozed on the plane and then on the train which helped. What a wonderful experience to spend a year in Berlin!

      1. Berlin was a mixed experience. I loved city life there. And so many art things and beautiful gardens. The hard part was the first 5 months of pregnancy (but that would be the same, wherever I was).

      2. That must have been very challenging for you but I’m glad you cold still enjoy the experience of living there…. XXXMarie

      3. No that I’m afraid, because I love to go by plane, but I can’t always sleep, and from USA to Eur. it takes me 5 days to get used to the time change.

      4. Ah I’m the same – we love to visit the US and before covid we managed it almost every year or 18 months. But I had to allow a week once I got home – just can’t function for days after the trip!

      5. Usually when we come home the flight is an overnighter … I have to head straight to bed mid morning when I reach the house … no discussion.. hubby stays up … goes for a walk .. anything to stay awake … so he’s sorted in a day or 2… I’m wrecked and out of sync for a week …

  10. Very colorful and festive – looks like a fun time! I would welcome more ‘proof of vaccination’ requirements in the U.S. And mask requirements. Our politics are a hot mess these days.

  11. Glad you got there, such ornate buildings. I just returned from Canada where the restrictions and checks were a matter of course. I wish the U.S. would be more consistent, every place is different and there is always someone arguiing.

    1. Everything was so black and white in the early stages of Covid. Then we had such high expectations of the vaccine – assumed it would solve everything overnight. It’s all so much more complex now isn’t it. And of course people are fed up and have had enough. We’ve a long way to go yet I’d say…..

  12. You were brave. Reading this at the beginning of January 2022 when the numbers are running wild this trip seems even crazier. However, you have demonstrated that good protection protects.

    1. You’re right – I can’t believe we actually went. I think Omicron was actually named on the day we travelled – Nov 26th …. We definitely wouldn’t have gone the following week….

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