Saturday, Dec 17
The six of us gathered in the breakfast room at the Park Hotel at 9 am. Wined and dined minus the wine. Robert and Rylan left in the taxi at ten, headed back to Stenum hospital to meet with the Dr again. Jan and I trucked off on foot to all our favourite places. Walked through the Galleria mall. Salamander again. For quite some time. It was a good thing R&R were away in Stenum. We circled through the markets and surrounding stores for a good while.
The Schnoor quarter in Bremen is a maze of lanes lined with 111 tiny houses. The oldest buildings in the district still standing were built in the 14th century. The streets in this district are too narrow for cars, and at least one of the lanes is tight enough for me to span wall to wall with my arms. All six of us North Americans reunited for lunch at Beck’s at Schnoor 35. A dream from another world, felt like. Tavern type ambience. We climbed a half spiral staircase and were led to a table for six overlooking the front door. Across the narrow alley was a Tintin store: one tiny room with Tintin memorabilia. I watched humanity surge down the streets in leather lace up boots, wool berets, and every texture of scarf you’ve ever seen. I had tomato soup with almond cream sauce on top. A basket of bread because of course the Germans can’t serve a meal without bread. I asked for butter. Nein. So either they have no butter at Beck’s or it is a social faux pas to eat butter on bread when accompanying tomato soup. Who knew? Crème brûlée for dessert. Oooh ahh.
May I also take the time to mention that the Germans carbonate every liquid possible. Water. Tea. Juice. Everything. I am quite in love with Apfelschorle, carbonated apple juice. Rylan had rhubarbschorle with his lunch today. The hospital served apfelschorle, but not still apple juice. Also they would bring us ‘water with sparkles’ as the one nurse called it, unless we specifically requested still water.
After we finished our lunch from another land, we said our goodbyes to Dalen and Rustyn as they were heading back to the airport. Roberts and us continued on through Schnoor. Browsed the Tintin store. Also a toy store with wind-up tin toys. It is very unfortunate I cannot buy every single thing that I see. Here in Schnoor I finally found an English copy of The Musicians of Bremen. At the mouth of the tightest alley we waited in line to pass through as it’s too narrow to walk side by side. We wandered our way up the cobblestones back toward the main square. Streets are still narrow, but one lane of traffic could pass through. A Lamborghini was parked outside one of the tall skinny houses, half on the sidewalk. We wandered through the marketplatz, on down to the river and walked through the Medieval market one more time. I’m pretty sure I heard a cow hide for 130€ calling my name. I should have gotten it to keep warm. I don’t think the locals would stare any less if I had a Holstein hide wrapped around me than they already do. I guess I thought we blended in beautifully, but I’m having to face the truth that the people of Bremen don’t think so. Robed in wool from head to toe, red faced from cold just like them, and we are enduring stares from sun up to sun down. There are a lot less tourists in this area than down in Munich, and a lot less people fluent in English.
The crowds and traffic were pretty thick, not really surprising for the last Saturday in the markets before Christmas. It was 6 pm when we got back to Park Hotel. Ordered pizza through Uber eats and collapsed in an exhausted heap on the yellow carpet. The jokes were getting feeble and conversation quieting down, so when we heard the singing start up again in 521 we knew it was time to call it a night. No joke on the singing. We really heard it for a good half hour as our pizza was settling.