I left la chaleur de Nîmes to go freeze in Bremen to see my friend Marine again before leaving for Taizé. She was au pairing in Germany, so it seemed a good excuse to go visit Germany for the first time.
There was just one hitch. On May 1st (labor day), the
day of my flight, everything in France shuts down.
EVERYTHING. Save for people selling muguets (lilies of valley/ edelweiss, edelweisssss) in the streets. This means there was no airport shuttle and led to my first experience with covoiturage (sometimes called
BlaBlaCar). For those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically organized, safer hitchhiking. You can look for drivers passing through your city heading towards your destination and reserve a seat in their car. It was a good first experience with covoiturage, and I made a friend with another girl in the car to pass my long wait in the airport. I also got to learn lots and lots about Tunisia, especially Tunisian weddings.
It was fantastic seeing Marine again and discovering a new country with her. I have to say, of all the European countries I’ve visited so far, Germany (or at least Bremen) reminded me most of the US. Because of the war, many buildings are more modern, though it does still manage to not overdo the urban vibe. People eat ice cream any time of the year and the flavors verge more on the American-type of fun flavors. People wear
sneakers in public. The mentality seemed a bit American. Bremen was at once quirky, frat boyesque as it’s the city of Beck beer which is consumed after each soccer match in which Bremen’s team plays, and a bit up-and-coming hip. It’s unique and I liked it.
I wouldn’t recommend spending more than a few days in Bremen, but there are some nice neighborhoods to check out and the Schnoor, the old fisherman’s quarter, is like a village that took a detour and got lost in a city. Because my luck always seems to have me meeting interesting and random people (and I wouldn’t have it any other way), the woman we asked to take our picture in the garden was French. She’d married a German and moved to Bremen and talked a while about her life. Randomly enough, I learned that one of my mom’s co-workers is also from Bremen. The craziness. It was a fun few days to make for the third country I’ve visited with Marine.
Check out the bells!