Today we started the morning off with a hearty breakfast then we prepared to go to church at Matthaus in Stuhr. As we approached the church in the car you could hear the bells ringing, calling everyone to church. The building dates from the 1960’s (I believe) and is currently being added to due to the size of the growing church. Even as a 60’s building it is still quite stylish and very functional. There was no need to worry about not understanding the service as headphones were available with translators on hand for english, turkish and I am not sure what other languages. This was incredibly useful however it was obvious at times that the minister was getting really excited and speaking so fast that sometimes the translator couldn’t keep up. They do a wonderful job and you get the general feel for what is being said so that is fine. It must be a very difficult job to do. The sermon was on Pauls advice on a good life based around Thess 5 14-24.
After church we had a cup of coffee and meet some members of the congregation including someone who knew Steve’s dad at school. One couple we meet lived in Taunton near to us in Bristol and have provided the name of church we might like to look at. They were all very friendly and helpful people here.
We then headed home and while Ulla prepared lunch Friedhelm took us for a bicycle tour of the area to one of his swimming spots. North Germany is very flat and cycle paths dot the roadsides in abundance. It was a great way to exercise without having to worry about cars, pollution, dogs or bored children welding baseball bats such as we have here in Bristol. We were quite hungry by the time we got back so we had a delicious lunch before a driving tour of Bremen. The plan was on Monday for Steve and I to take the tram into Bremen by ourselves so Friedhelm and Ulla showed us where the tram stops where etc. They drove us into Bremen and we had a look at some key areas as an overview. We were quite glad of this as the next day we would not have managed to get to everything we wanted to see.
A very interesting spot we visited was a street with many art houses and handicraft shops (Bottcherstrasse). We took in the statute of the Bremen Musicians, Roland Statue, Rathaus (Town Hall), St Peters Dome, the market place, places where Friedhelm and Ulla lived in the city, where Friedhelm had worked and finally another walk along the bank of the Weser. Thankfully the weather held off from raining while we wandered the streets.
Bottcherstrasse is a magnificent street to look at. We learnt a lot from Ulla and Friedhelm about its history and in particular Ludwig Roselius who had his company Kaffee HAG there (founder of decaf coffee). The street also has a glockenspiel that plays a stunning melody on its thirty Meissen porcelain bells. You can hear the magnificent tune at this link. http://www.boettcherstrasse.de/EN/Architecture-Houses/House-of-the-Glockenspiel.html
Also on this street look out for the house and fountain of the 7 lazy brothers based on a fable. If you are after art deco design, elaborate designer handicrafts, paintings, antiques etc this area is for you.
So much we have seen and it is only day 2!