We learned yesterday afternoon that Monday is a holiday in Germany which explains the big crowds both in Bremen and at the stellplatz. When we got back to the stellplatz last night there was a sign in the entrance saying that there was no room in the parking lot. Because we liked Bremen and were worried about finding a similar sign in our next destination we decided to spend another day.
The World Heritage Site the old town hall that we saw yesterday had a tour today at noon and we decided to make that our highlight for the day. We slept in and then spent the morning cleaning François and watching the morning exodus of motorhomes from the stellplatz before walking down to the city for our tour.
The tour of the interior was helped by an extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide who did a good job of explaining how Bremen developed as an independent merchant city under the Holy Roman Empire. When Charlemagne first tried to incorporate Bremen into his empire he did so in the normal way by sending a bishop to the city. The citizens of Bremen resisted this because they wanted the city government to be separate from the church. Charlemagne’s son Roland agreed to this and Bremen claims to be the first government where the separation of church and state was formally proclaimed.
Unlike in other cities in Europe the town hall was as prominent as the Cathedral, and do to luck the building survived all of the wars that occurred over the 600 years it has been in existence. In addition to the normal fantastic wood carvings and paintings the town hall also has a giant wine cellar that holds over 650 different examples of German wine.
Part of the wine cellar is now a restaurant so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch down in the cellar. When we arrived we were offered a private room for about 6 people built into the side of the cellar. It was a cool place even though we were planning on a light lunch.
After lunch we strolled thru town for a while taking in the sites, and people watching. Bremen has a cute town symbol the four musicians of Bremen. It is based on a fairy tale by the brothers Grimm about 4 animals who are abandoned by their owners when they are too old to be useful. The 4 of them decide to move to Bremen to be musicians and even though in the fairy tale they do not make it to Bremen the town has adopted them as the symbol. There is a statue of the four musicians next to the town hall and the legend is that if you make a wish and touch both forelegs your wish will come true. It is important to touch both legs because as they say in Bremen if you only touch one it is just two asses shaking hands with each other.