One of the best things about growing up Internationally, and/or having the chance to attend International Schools, is the convenience of having old friends, scattered over all continents. So when the time comes to travel to a country where one (or sometimes few) of them reside, inclusion of said-friends is a MUST.
After 3 days of “Xmas-ing” at our Hamburg home, Da Kid and I were facing a week full of opportunities to hang out and experience the city. We’d pre-planned to dedicate one of those days to a quick visit to Bremen – City of Becks (not the The Beckhams, the Beer) – and have Kid reunite with his High School friend, Felix.
At 8 a.m. we made our coffee. At 8:30 a.m. we were cozied up inside an U-bahn train, headed down to Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof to jump on a train over to Bremen. Following an over-priced ticket fiasco and a search for the perfect Schinken-Käse Stangl, then settling for a Salami Pretzel after one of my typical travel rants, we “wagoned out” of the station. An hour later, we were in Bremen. Barely awake yet – if you’ve never napped to the cozy chatter of train wheels, you haven’t lived – we got off the train, welcomed by a happy man, holding 3 Heinekens in his hands. “I had to follow the tradition”, said Felix, while giving warm welcome hugs and expertly opening each beer bottle with the help of the lighter, he found in his pocket. So there we were – barely 11 a.m, beer in hand, about to explore everything the city has to offer. But what do you do in Bremen on a Wednesday morning? Walk the streets and see the architecture. Then sit down for a beer and a couple of schnapps shots, followed by some food, beers, a quick walk, then more beers and some sort of espresso-based liquor shots. But let me trek back here for a moment.
Walking out of Bremen‘s main train station, you’re quickly offered a glimpse of the iconic architecture, a reminder of the past and a gulp of that fresh European air that can’t be found up here. We walked for an hour – the boys ahead of me, catching up on old times – and I, falling behind, because there can never be too many pictures of building rooftops.
Once we reached the river, a gem was awaiting: the Alexander von Humboldt – “the iconic three-masted ship”, used to promote Becks to the sound of Joe Cocker’s “Sail Away”. The Becks factory is just around the corner and if you have a full day, I’d recommend taking a tour…
…but, if you have a few hours, you find the nearest “barrel” and cozy up with a few pints.
After a couple of cozy hours, spent building up a solid buzz, we hopped on a Straßenbahn to wrap up the afternoon at a café.
Only this was no ordinary café but rather a convenient locál, where smoking is allowed, and beer and various spirits take a precedent to caffeinated drinks. Sadly, I have no picture-proof of said spirits, largely due to too much laughter, one too many cigarettes (I only smoke when in Europe, cause…Europe!) and quite a few complimentary shots. But the ambience is there…
And just like that, we were back at Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof, headed to another feast, just in time for dinner. Cause…Europe!