Travel Diary: Bremen

My Bremen-London-Brighton trip is already over but I enjoyed every moment on the road. I am again a little late but today I want to share with you my days in Bremen. Are you ready for another probably boring travel adventure? I hope you enjoy!

Day 1: Wait, Bremen is COOL?!

After reading things from internet and seeing some photos of Bremen I truly thought it would be just city I was passing by quickly to get somewhere else. The photos I saw looked so dull and gray. Why didn’t I find any photos of colorful street art, charming tiny alleys or beautiful parks when researching? Apparently many people travel to Bremen because it is cheap but this city doesn’t get as much recognition as it should.

I really want to return there because I liked the feeling of being traveler in Bremen but two full days were quite enough to see the major attractions. If anyone is now planning Bremen trip, I recommend staying for a weekend. It seems like perfect European weekend gateway destination. However, for longer time it may be a little boring if you don’t decide to do day trips to cities close by like Hamburg.

Travel Blog: Bremen

But now back to my first day! This trip started totally differently than my travels usually do. No early wake up or long way to the airport. I had evening flight from Tampere to Bremen. My flight only costed 30€ and it is one of the reasons I decided to go in the first place. I am all for the cheap trips and budget traveling.

My dad drove me to the airport and I may have been a little surprised of the size of Tampere’s airport. I knew it was small but never thought THAT SMALL. Surprisingly I have lived my whole life near Tampere but have never visited our own airport! In addition to being amazed by the small size of the airport I soon noticed that I had to share my flight with too exited group of teens on field trip. Fortunately, they didn’t sit next to me on the plane even if Ryanair gives the seats to you randomly.

Travel Blog Flying

Instead I got very talkative man next to me. One of the first things he told me was that he got parachute in his bag right above us so if we crashed he was ready to save me. I didn’t know should I feel comfortable or even more scared. And he never made clear if it was normal thing for him to fly with parachute or if he was going to use it in the destination. You never know about people you meet during traveling.

After my short flight I arrived to Bremen’s airport and literally walked trough the customs without any slow downs. The place seemed dead. There was only people from our flight, a few staff members and no one else. Then outside of the airport I was totally in trouble. Everyone, remember to research how to get from airport to your accommodation before you are in foreigner country without internet! 

Travel Blog: Bremen

Fortunately, I wasn’t alone. Next to me was this Asian girl who later told me that she studied in Finland and she was here to meet her boyfriend. We tried to find the tram together and then she even taught me how to buy right tram tickets (not as easy as it sounds like). She seemed nice but I lost her after getting on the tram.

My problems continued in the tram but once again I had nice people who were able to help me. I don’t know why but in Bremen’s tram your ticket won’t fit in the ticket machine where you should mark it. Who the heck has designed thing like that? Friendly group of local boys fortunately shoved me the logical solution: fold your ticket. I would have never figured out that by myself!

Like I said before, I wasn’t expecting a much from Bremen. Maybe that’s why it was love in the first sight. I stepped out of the tram in city centre. Old buildings all around me, students laughing and running over the tram tracks, trams passing by in lines. The last straw for me to be amazed was weather. You know that moment before storm when everything looks so fresh and vibrant. Sun is still shining but you can see dark clouds in the horizon.

Travel Blog: Bremen

I started walking to the direction I believed was right one (probably the first and last time in my life when I was right!) I had to walk past old buildings and old bridge. Then between two sides of the amazing park going through whole Bremen. And lastly to the area full of graffiti and artsy cafes. Later on I will tell you that this artsy area I totally fell in love with wasn’t as nice as I believed but first let’s talk about my hostel.

My hostel was nice and cozy. I got my key and basic information easily before going towards my new room for the next three nights. I scored lower bed but had to take bed that was in place where you will literally see everyone when they come to or leave the room. As shy person that’s good and bad thing. Why? Well, it is the easiest way to make friends in hostel. Just greet them with smile. However, after a while it will get tiring to not have your own hiding place.

Travel Blog: Bremen

It took a few hours and one trip to close-by convenience store (I may have bought too big bag of candies that took over my backpack and that I still have somewhere even if I gave them as souvenirs for my family and friends…) before I began meeting people in the hostel. There was a lot of people who had been on same plane as me. Finns talking everywhere. Surprisingly, I didn’t make friends with any of them but rather talked a little with some German guests. Pro tip for any traveler meeting Finns. We usually want to talk but we are just super quiet and don’t want to disturb anyone so you have to talk for us first.

Day 2: My Inner Science Nerd

I woke up late. Like breakfast was already over late but that’s wasn’t really problem for me because that food was expensive. However it was problem for a older hostel guest who was staying in same dorm room with me. He kept telling me that I should go to eat because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have no idea how the old hostel guests always want to take care of me. I feel like there is always someone who gets worried for my bad eating habits or wild adventures.

pink_cafe_bremenAfter my late start for the day I walked towards the closest metro stop. On my way I bought some food and ate it on the go. My tram trip was towards Universum Bremen museum. I love science museums but usually skip them while traveling because of the high prices. Visiting Universum was one of the best decisions I did in Bremen. That place was amazing! I can totally recommend.

16 euros (11 euros if you are student) sounds high but with that price you could stay the whole day in this interactive museum. Definitely better place if you have friends with you because then you can truly embarrass yourself while trying all the thing. For solo travelers this is quicker stop but still fun way to spent your one extra day in Bremen.

Bremen museums Universum

Only bad side was that it’s not the easiest place to find. I may have jumped of the tram like two kilometers too early. There is so many stops that have similar names. And then I couldn’t of course wait for the next tram because it would have been embarrassing! So, I did what any awkward traveler who is too scared to take public transportation would have done. I walked.

When you come to the Universum building, you will recognize it from the whale like shape. However the main door isn’t in that building but on another one across the street. This museum has three parts. The first building with changing exhibitions and lobby. Whale looking building with the interactive exhibitions. And lastly outside area with adventure park. All of them are worth of checking out but I would use most of you time in the interactive area.

Universum museum BremenHere is small list of my favorite things in Universum:

  • Playing with small artificial tornado. It was like normal tornado but a lot smaller and you were allowed to touch it.
  • Dark labyrinth. There was room where you couldn’t see anything and then you had to walk towards trough all these strange rooms. There was sounds, weird materials, soft floor, different objects, smell and all kind of things expect sense of seeing.
  • Intelligent computers. I totally fell for the computer area. There was all kind of tests for you and computers who knew things. Well, at least they tried to know things. This one computer was meant to tell your age, gender and current emotion if you stood in front of its camera. Wanna guess what it told about me? Apparently I am middle-aged angry man… Yeah, so correct…
  • Aquariums and turtles! As person who used to study animals you can totally charm me with just showing me some animals. Aquariums and turtles have always interested me. I could spend hours just looking at them.

This list was just short example of things you can find from Universum. The interactive area has four floors so there is a lot of things to try.

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Maybe the funniest thing during my visit here was that I had expected children and maybe teens but the museum was full of old ladies, a few romantic couples and me. So, I can recommend this for people of any age. Everyone I saw was having a lot of fun.

After taking another tram trip back to the city center I meant to go back to my hostel and rest for a while. Didn’t go as planned. When I exited the tram the old narrow streets just attracted me too much. I had to go and adventure a little more.

I can’t really say anything about the old city expect that it is worth of visit. Aesthetically appealing would be the right term. Especially when it’s sunny. So, I spent a few hours just walking around and visiting small shops. Then I ended up to newer part of the center and shopping small. That took even more of my time!

Travel Blog: Bremen

Bremen has a lot of shops selling cards with cool texts. I of course had to buy one travel themed card but later on was disappointed… Why? My mom told me that they sell exactly same card in her shop… She takes all the joy out of my travel shopping. Every time I find something cool I realize that I could get the same thing from my mom’s shop.

After walking all day my feet were literally dead. Wearing high-heel sneakers wasn’t probably the best possible choice. But hey at least those shoes look super nice? I returned to my hostel and felt wanted just to sleep. Instead of sleeping I went on my computer because as basic member of my age group day without computer would be impossible. Also I had some writing jobs to do and after traveling too much this year every penny counts.

I am happy that I decided to surf around the internet for a while because one of my roommates happened to leave the room with his computer in his hands. Surprisingly we had exactly same computers and having something identical with your hostel roommate means that you are automatically new best friends. We talked a little but then he had to work and I had to work and we decided to talk more later on.

Travel Blog: Bremen

I knew that I should rest for a while but my feet took me out of the hostel. I ended up visiting the close-by art museum. I have always loved art so I have nothing to complain about. Except well I may have accidentally interrupted some kind of art therapy yoga class. The last room of this museum had big windows and it was huge open space. There was art on the walls and a few sculptures on the floor but about five people in the middle of the room made me freeze.

One of the five was walking around and speaking while the rest of them had their eyes closed and stood in odd positions. For a moment I didn’t know if I should exit or just keep going. You never know in these modern art galleries if people are doing something important or if they are performing art as part of the exhibition. I think that one person who was walking around saw the horror in my eyes because he smiled and motioned me to continue my way around the museum.

Travel Blog: Bremen

Do I even have to say that I left that last room too quickly? I don’t even care that I paid to see the exhibition. That situation was too awkward for me to worry about lost money.

After the frightening museum experience I decided to walk a little bit around the are full of pretty graffiti before returning to my hostel for the second time on that evening. This time I stayed, spend some time in the common room and then went to bed too late.

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Have you ever visited Bremen? Or have you had anyone interesting sitting next to you in plane? All comments are welcome like always! And sorry for my blogging silence. I have had total lost of inspiration but I think I am slowly getting over it. Thanks for all the old and new people who are reading my blog. I will come back soon with another as boring and long travel article.

Have an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Travel Diary: Montpellier & Paris pt.4

 

Day 11: The art of canceling plans

We meant to do a lot. Only two days left and there’s still much to see. We ate breakfast and just decided to not do anything. Unexpected decision right?

My opinion is that even when traveling the most important thing is to know yourself. When you are tired and need free time from tourist life just take it. Cancel all of your plans and just be. This is what happened to us. We had seen and done too much and it was time to rest.

 

Day 12: Art, shopping and bye Montpellier!

Our last day in Montpellier had dedicated to visiting museum Fabre. People told us it takes whole day to explore this museum and let me tell you that it’s not joke. The place is huge. Even one day isn’t enough if you want to see everything carefully.<

 

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There is a lot of old art pieces. Some from famous painter and some from unknown ones.<

 

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And then there is modern paintings and everything between. Also statues and changing special exhibitions.

At the end of our museum visit we started to be too tired to even properly admire the art. However the museum was amazing and I recommend it to everyone! Well you get lost easily but the staff are nice and always ready to help.

After this we did last souvenir shopping and then went back to our apartment. Our last night at Montpellier and I knew I would miss this city too.

Day 13: Hi Paris! And we got sick…

We left Montpellier before the sunrise and said our goodbyes to the sleeping city. We sat quietly in train both tired and at least I already missing the place I had called home the last two weeks.

 

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When we finally arrived at Paris bad weather welcomed us. It started to rain when walked towards our hotel. Both of us were feeling a little bit sick and the recipe for disaster was almost ready. Our time in Paris would soon turn o nightmare…

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After taking nap in our hotel we decided to start the day. It was only a couple of kilometers to the Picasso museum. Well it was two kilometers too much. I was feeling sick but I have got used to doing things even when feeling bad. But when we were in the museum my sister started to look really pale and almost fainted.

I took her to the cafe in museum (very expensive and not even good food…) After that I took her to the closest metro station and send her back to the hotel. Well at least we didn’t pay for the museums because under 26 years old Europeans get in free.

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I have always loved metros and Paris’ metro isn’t exception. There is so many lines and ways to go. It took a while for me to understand the map because it’s already been over half year from the last time I used metro. In the end I found Les Halles shopping mall without problems.

The last time I visited Les Halles was year ago and before the horrible Paris’ attacks. I knew there would be more security than the last time but the guards and security measures still surprised me. There was security people in every door with their metal detectors and other security things.

muji

My visit was still pleasant. I got flash back to Japan when visiting Muji and spend too much time in Forever 21. My trip did stop when I got really sick… I didn’t visit even half of the shops before I had to go back to the hotel.

Rest of the day we just sat on the hotel room and rested. Fun trip to Paris… right?

 

Day 14: Goodbye France!

Guess how it feels to be in Paris one day and be so sick you just decide to go airport and pass the opportunity to see the capital of romance. With heads down we left our hotel and took the long train journey towards airport.

After waiting spending six hours in airport we flew away from lovely France and headed towards home.

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I hope I see you soon Paris!

Because I didn’t have any interesting stories in this post there’s some more photos for you:

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My favorite thing from France was the road trip we did

 

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In the future I will visit Sète for longer time…

 

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…and go see the charming Montpellier again!

 

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Arc De Triomphe in Montpellier

 

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Modern art in Musée Fabre
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Paris Charles De Gaulle airport
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The last sighs of France

Thank you for reading and I will write soon!

Sincerely,
Neidotta

Travel Diary: Montpellier pt. 1

When my grandpa’s friends asked me to come and spend sometime in their place in south France, I couldn’t believe I would eventually really go. Here I am in sunny charming Montpellier. Is this dream? How can I be so lucky?

I didn’t do a lot of planning before leaving my home behind. In the early morning one hour time left I still had things to do and back. The feeling of traveling never come across my brains. Traveling is the only way I truly feel like living. The feeling of freedom and unknown paths is my home. So here I am and this is the first part of my travel diary.

 

Day 1: Lost in train stations

Finland is amazing country to live in but there is one big flaw. The airport isn’t located anywhere near my city.

So in the early Sunday morning I woke up at three am after sleeping only four hours. My mum then drove me to bus station in the city next to us. (I’m sorry mum you had to do that so early).

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Snowy and dark Finland just before my flight

After two and half long hours in bus I was ready to embarrass myself at airport. Like usually I went in wrong line and then the security check machine beeped for me. I’m starting to think I’m made of iron… How can it give the alarm for me every freaking time??

The whole airplane was packed and when choosing my place I took the last window seat. It was quite funny that at my six people row everyone were lonely travelers.

The guy next to me read book about growing puppy and beside him sat Japanese guy who had a lot of snacks with him. We didn’t really talk but they smiled nicely to me and the Japanese boy said goodbye when we departed.

The flight was normal and everything was good. Well if we don’t mention the horrible weather… It was snowing a whole night before and it didn’t end even when it was time to fly. I was scared to death.

France
France through my train’s window

The conditions in France were totally different. Sun was shining and I had to abandon my leather jacket. For locals the feather seemed cold but for me it reminded Finnish summer.

Montpellier charmed me starting from the first seconds. There was beautiful old buildings, graffiti and sunset.

The older madams (let’s call them S and L) who had invited me welcomed me with hugs and smiles. Together we continued the trip to their apartment. We used tram and let me say I have never seen that kind of public transport. The trams were all colorful and different. So cool!

 

Day 2: Fascinating older Montpellier

The first morning rose cloudy but still almost 20*C warmer than Finland. S and L were still sleeping and I had time to admire the scenery outside of my window. Not much to see but still different than I have got used to. Heck there was palm trees in this city! Those would never survive in Finland.

After a while all three of us ate french breakfast. There was so much food I was sure eating later on that day would be impossible (I was totally wrong).

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The center of Montpellier reminds me of old labyrinth

Quickly after that I was dragged to the tram and towards to the mystical old streets of Montpellier. The first thing I learned was how everything is closed at Mondays. That however didn’t matter because we just walked around and even found small restaurant open.

The second thing I learned from my lovely companions was only order well done steak (rather not even that). Apparently french people like their meat red and bloody or it’s not tasty. I’m of course just joking… (or am I?) Well just remember kids never order medium steak in french. Of course if you like your food a little bit raw don’t listen to my advice.

MontpellierTram
Look at the tram design! So cool?

After eating and wandering around more I had to admit being tired. So we headed back to home. And I just need to add that I get amazed easily but I totally fell in love with the local tram network. Firstly who doesn’t like the bright colorful trams??! And secondly only 6 euros for 5 persons to use all the trams and buses 24 hours! In Finland I pay 5 euros to go one trip…

 

Day 3: Road trip time!

I only had four days with my amazing hosts -and their car- so we decided to do day trip. After we left the sunny Montpellier behind us I quickly come to the realization this day wasn’t going to be some kind of short visit. No, the lovely madams had planned full day road trip around the Mediterranean coast. We left home when sun was rising and got back after dark.

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The ghost town Mèze

Our first stop was Mèze 40km to west from Montpellier. The city seemed more like ghost down this time of the year. According to my all knowing guides all of the too many restaurants filled up in summer time. I liked it more when I couldn’t see any people. Like peace had taken over this little town.What I did see a lot in this town was seafood. Farther away you could see the frames where locals farm oysters.

After the calming city we continued our travel towards Sète. However without reading the map our trip went trough several other smaller cities. If you ever have car, time and just happen to be in south France good entertainment would be just driving from city to city. Everyone of them has something different to offer and oh my goodness how beautiful the small roads inside towns can be.

So finally we arrived at Sète and drove around to see what it was like. Canals covering the city layout made using car kind of hard. However I have always liked water and bridges so Sète made good first impression on me.

Setefood

As first thing we tried to find place to eat and there was a lot of options even if it’s not the tourist season. As not french speaking persons we didn’t get so kind service and the waiter “forgot” us often. But the meal and dessert overrun all my expectations.

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The view from cemetery in Sète

The most amazing thing I recommend to do in this small city is visit the Paul Valéry Museum and cemetery next to it. You have to walk up the mountain but visiting there is worth it. The museum has really succeeded in the presentation of the art works. It was delight to my eyes.

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Big cross in the top of mountain and view to Sète

Our last thing to do before leaving Sète behind us was visit in the viewpoint in the highest point of the mountain. Looking from the sky this city seemed even more idyllic and full of adventures. In addition to the view there was small chapel with lovely atmosphere.

Our next destination was Palavas and it’s endless beach. The drive there showed me the coast and small towns. And of course something I didn’t expect! Flamingos! Flamingos living in wild. Pink cute and gorgeous flamingos. It was my first tie seeing them and that literally made my day perfect. I would have drove to the Palavas just to see those amazing birds. Unfortunately I didn’t get pic of them. 😦

palavas

Finally in Palavas the sun has already setting down. That didn’t prevent me hunting seashells between the sand and stones. I love pretty things… We spend sometime there just enjoying the last warms of day and looking the sea. Then I thought it would be time to go back home but the madams S and L still had one place for us to go.

L drove in the darkening evening and I got to admire even more of the France’s coast. In fading sunlight everything seemed so different. After a not so long drive we found ourselves in this odd futuristic city. La Grande Motte’s buildings rise towards sky in different architectural forms.

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My attention quickly turned from structures to the clouds. Sun has already set but it’s last remaining lights reflected from clouds. S and L took me to walk around the harbor and promenade. If I would decide my every evening should end like that. Like I said I love pretty and beautiful things. I love everything that takes my breath away.

After the darkness had taken over we returned to car and started the travel back home. That night I fell asleep smiling.

 

 

You can read the part 2 from HERE

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Stay tuned for more stories of my adventures!