Sunday, 7 November 2010

Bike rides, Bratwurst and Beer

I've realised that this is a post I have been putting off doing because I'm just not quite sure how to put into words all the sights, smells and sounds experienced over our weekend in Germany. I mean, when you are surrounded by beautiful people in a beautiful country who eat FREAKING AWESOME food, where do you start??...

My nearest and dearest friend has parents.
Her parents live in Bremen, Germany.
We have been meaning to visit them in Bremen for the past 3 years.
They are moving back to NZ at the beginning of next year.
I am now GUTTED that I never went and stayed with them sooner. GUTT-ED.
But I am EVER SO GRATEFUL we were given an opportunity to experience a weekend in Bremen before they head back to their Homeland.

Austin and I left the boys in the more-than-capable hands of Auntie Gretchie (and her reinforcement/support troops) while we flitted across to another Continent for 3 days.

Oh the freedom and uninterrupted sleep! Freedom in that we didn't need to be responsible for anyone other than ourselves. Therefore, we hit the town on the very first night!
Hard core. I know.
But instead of hitting the clubs we went along to the final night of the Freimarkt (a big festival/carnival) that runs for the month of October and has done so since the 1600's.
It's actually just a big stimulation session for all the senses.
My favouritest stall from the evening - Corn On The Cob served with an Aioli (creamy garlic) type sauce. 
Oh. My. Word. A seriously exciting taste-bud party.

There were rides and other such things to do. Matty and Austin braved one ride but came off looking decidedly pale so we decided to head straight for the Festival Hall for the rest of the evening where they serve beer. And not just any ol' beer. MASSIVE beer.
For the record, I was NOT drinking the beer, being pregnant and all. The above photo is for aesthetic reasons only.

The Festival Hall is where the Germans - young (16yrs+) and old alike - sit around drinking beer and dancing on tables to live bands. Very fun times indeed!
Those Germans sure do know how to have a good time without it ending in tears and punches. We only saw one punch-up the whole night (which was football-related of course. I know this only because one of them was wearing a Bremen football shirt and they had just played a game that afternoon...). I was pleasantly surprised the crowd was so well-behaved, considering all drinks are served in maHOOsive glass Steins - anywhere else (except for Germany it seems) this would be asking for trouble!


The following morning we headed out for a bike ride to the park to take in the beauty of Autumn in Bremen.
Leaves of gold and mahogany fell all around us like snow as we cycled along leaf-strewn tracks. The beauty and serenity was absolutely breath-taking.
There was a bit of a drizzle happening so you can imagine our excitement when we rounded a corner and were greeted with this:
It would have been rude to just cycle on by so we decided it was hot chocolate time.
The decorations inside were pretty crazy - wooden horses and old brass instruments hung from the ceilings and very retro old advertising signs filled the walls.
The rest of the day was spent discovering the streets and shops of Bremen and partaking of more great German food.
Kartoffelpuffen (Potato Pancakes) served with apple sauce, Bratwurst, mushrooms cooked in white wine and served with that yummy Aioli-type sauce and fresh bread.
We made ourselves acquainted with the infamous 'Town Musicians of Bremen' characters and wandered the streets, soaking up the ever-so-quaint atmosphere of the city.
And check this out - making boiled candy.
As darkness fell the shops lit up, luring passers-by in with their invitingly warm glow.
We managed to not get too seduced by the stores tempting us to buy their very German/Quaint/European wares. One must keep in mind the 10kg carry-on bag allowance when flying with RyanAir...

Our final day happened to be a certain young man's birthday

We celebrated in style with a champagne breakfast at home with fresh bread from the bakery, meats, cheese, some crazy German dishes with pickled Herring in them which are DIVINE and lots and lots of coffee.

Our flight back to London didn't leave until later that evening so, after the wonderfully lazy breakfast, we still had a good handful of hours left - time enough to indulge in some Kaffee und Kuchen and revisit some of those dear little streets of Bremen.
I am sorry to report (Ma & Pa Bokser) that I brought shame to the Bokser name.
We were in a very classy kitchen store where everything was very stylised and expensive and I'd discovered some very cute egg-cups that I thought would be great for Christmas presents for the boys. One of the shop assistants very kindly offered us a coffee from their machine they were promoting. Of course we said "HELL YES!" and were served espresso in some very dinky dainty stylish cups and saucers.
So I was holding my dinky dainty stylish cup & saucer with one hand and asking the shop assistant if she could gift-wrap the egg-cups when suddenly my dinky dainty stylish cup (still mostly full of coffee) went crashing to the floor.
Friends and Husband - being so wonderful and loyal to me - immediately headed for the door, leaving a very embarrassed me apologising profusely to the shop assistant. I could have blamed it on the baby "I am with child" but thought that was a bit of a fob off...
But she still gift-wrapped the egg-cups for me and wouldn't let me pay for the broken cup. Bless her.

Our last port of call was for the largest meal of Weiner Schnitzel EVER served at the HofbrÀuhaus
AND they even served alkoholfrei weiss bier (alcohol-free white beer) which is truly heaven-sent when you are pregnant and would kill for a beer.
I am sad to say I only managed to polish off half of the Weiner Schnitzel - but it wasn't wasted, that's what husbands are for.

So after a truly wonderful and relaxing weekend away we were still eager to see our boys again. They were both asleep when we got home so I spent some time poking them hoping they'd wake up and want to come and snuggle in bed with us. But no such luck. Auntie Gretchie had done a SUPER job of wearing them out so they didn't wake until their usual 7am.
And the first thing Luca says when he walks into our room - "Where's Gretchie?"
I'm sure he did actually miss us.


  1. VOW - Bremen looks A-MAY-ZIIING! I spy at least one dearlittlestreetdearlittlestreetdearlittlestreet that Lady would have lost control on the spot over.

    And the boys definitely did miss you and were extreeeemely excited that you were coming back. They were an absolute treat to look after - amazing little chaps, they are such good boys - you done good Brigitte, you done real good x

  2. great photos! even better weekend! love u guys

  3. OOOOhhhhh So jealous. I keep reminding myself that this is the luxuries my husband and I are looking forward to in our 40's. Due to having the family young we will do our traveling then and truly enjoy it (and afford it!) Thanks for the awesome peek into your wonderful weekend away xxx


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