Contributing Editor Val Baynton enjoyed a varied trip to Germany in early May, taking in UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Berlin and in Lübeck, Wismar and Bremen. She also had the chance to understand Germany’s broader tourism offer at the German Travel Mart, which took place in Bremen and Bremerhaven.
One of the highlights of the trip was to see the bust of the Egyptian queen, Nefertiti, within the New Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island. The New Museum has been extensively rebuilt since the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago and this has allowed an extensive collection of exhibits to be displayed. Elsewhere, Val and her group were treated to a cruise out to sea, tours of the towns led by knowledgeable guides and many chances to sample delicious local food, including fish in Wismar and marzipan in Lübeck.
A spectacular town hall dominates Bremen’s historic market square while, beneath it, a Ratskeller, founded in 1405, still serves fine food and wine. The tour of its extensive wine cellar with vintage German wine dating back to 1727 includes the Rose Cellar, where the oldest cask of wine dates to 1653. Since this ancient wine now forms part of Bremen’s World Heritage Site, it cannot be sold – and it’s said that an offer of 150,000 euros for one bottle was recently made and declined! Also in Bremen, the interconnecting alleyways of the Schnoor are lined with 15th and 16th century buildings and the Böttcherstrasse, rebuilt by the founder of Kaffee Hag, Ludwig Roselius, is now the home of two museums, boutique shops and the Art Deco-style Atlantis House. Val says that northern Germany’s excellent group offer is enhanced by easy access from ferry ports or from Hamburg airport via trains and motorways.