One thing struck us at our first discovery tour: Bremerhaven has much space. All streets and places are wide and vast and nothing is really narrow. Between the houses there is much space and you can always see far. You are always near to water. It looks quite strange when a car seems to drive over the water because the street is very near to the basin. Or when behind houses loading cranes are peeking out. The connection to shipping and fishing is omnipresent.
City and Pedestrian Zone
But also the city and the pedestrian zone are wide and vast. Inbetween is much space. Always something historical. An old industrial memorial. Or an old house. Right beside, but subtle connected there is something new. It is so much fun to look around here. Behind every corner there is something to admire. Like the university for applied science which is right at the end of the pedestrian zone. One the one hand an old store-houses area and on the other side a modern creative and artistic architecture. You can’t stop wondering. And you can take pictures here without end.
Only a couple of minutes to walk there is the Weser beach. A tiny sandy beach. A couple of beach chairs and the dike. Here natives and tourists are wandering, look out on the water or let the wind caress their faces. Everything is close and drawn from curiosity you end up at the Havenland. One museum right beside the other. In-between again old cultural assets and modern design. A shopping center. A hotel with a viewing platform in lofty heights. Right beside there is the marina. Everything harmonius side by side.
Somehow this is the nice thing about Bremerhaven. Everything mixes up. You walk through the streets and you will meet professional skippers or sportsmen. And everyone is busy with their own occupation. Old things persist beside new things. Work with leisure activities. Science with sightseeing. Tourists mix with natives. Wonderful.
Cycling in Bremerhaven
We rented bikes at the tourist information office and hit the town. And we ended up inevitably at the harbour. You can’t get around the harbour here. There is a harbour everywhere. New harbour, old harbour, city, harbour, fishing harbour, container harbour and overseas harbour. You might mess it all up in the beginning with all the names. Doesn’t matter. Just have a look. And listen to the natives. They offer their advice unasked and share their haunts or recommend where you can have the best fish! Great!
Fishing Harbour Bremerhaven
At the fishing harbour there is a special area: The shopping window (Schaufenster Fischereihafen). Here everything is about fish and fishing. There is an old fishermans’ village and fish is prepared, processed, smoked and their are again some historical things to be admired. But also here where you would assume only tourists there are also natives shopping fish from sellers that could have as well their own stand up comedy program. Or they buy one kilogram of Granat – as the shrimps are called here – from the last shrimper to shell them.
Many workers let you have a look at their work. There are some transparent factories: You can watch the fish processing through a window. Or go to see the fish smokehouse with historical smoker. And one gets tipps everywhere.
Fish and Co.
So we ended up at „Fisch 2000“. A snack bar which we never would have visited if it wouldn’t have been recommended by several locals. But you can eat here very good fish. No fuss. Fresh prepared and yummy. And here Bremerhaven is reflected in miniature. There is the traveler with suitcase sitting beside the worker with smocks. Pensioners besides touristic families and all enjoy their fish. Dreamlike! But please bring some cash. Fish is only sold against cash.
View over Bremerhaven
There are some other view points: The container view tower. At the overseas harbour. The name has a double meaning and says it all. The tower is build of containers and you can watch the container harbour with all the loading cranes and lorries and coming and going. At the evening this all becomes a shadow play in front of the sun set.
Other points for a general overview are the viewing platform at sail city at the Havenland. Here you can have a panoramic view. In the summer time you can even watch the sun set. But this is nothing for people with fear of heights. The radar tower would be another possibility but it was closed while our stay.
Actually one should visit every place twice. Once at high tide and once at low tide. It looks completely different. The difference are around four meters anyway.
Along the Geeste
We had a bike tour along the Geeste with the amazing horseshoe bends and enjoyed nature but also the industrial culture.
Bridges and Locks
Take your time in Bremerhaven. It is nearly impossible to get quickly from here to there because you have to cross a bridge or lock. And then one has to wait until the boat is gone. At the lock at the new harbour you can hear the announcements in the local dialect. Very funny.
Shop around the clock
There is also plenty of time for shopping. One supermarket is open 24h from Monday to Saturday. And it is huge. Have we talked about time yet. If you like you can pay in dollars. Where else can you do that?
A lot of water, many ships, huge width, much fish, a lot of old, a lot of new, a lot to discover.
Let’s talk about summertime. About freshness. No. Not about the fresh temperatures. But about fresh things that you can find now everywhere.
Fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, fresh drinks, juicy fruits…
Wolfenbüttel has been a gardener’s town.
More than 100 gardeners grew vegetables and provided people with tubers and salads. Today unfortunately not much is left. But we looked out for some traces of the old times and searched for gardeners.
When we were strolling through town we not only noticed the numerous half timbered houses with all the tiny details. But we also came across a special flower-bed. In front of the church St. Trinitatis. This one was looking different to the other flower-beds. And when you take a closer look you will realize. Those are no flowers. This is vegetable. In the middle of the city. No wonder. As this flower-bed is right beside the gardener’s memorial. And there they really grow vegetables.
Also some seldom varieties. At least we had to ask at several points to find out what it is. Some vegetables we knew. Like mangold or lovage. But there were others. And – as always – we were curious and asked around. The answers were vague: „Maybe green cabbage. Or a special sort of savoy cabbage?“ „No this is mangold. A special type of mangold.“ Hmmm… nobody really knew.
So we went to the gardener’s museum.
200 people are caring for this museum in their free time. Among them are also some gardeners. They should know. Of course they did! It is a special type of green cabbage, called: „Lerchenzunge“. (Lark’s tongue). Wonderful. So this is cleared.
Once we are there we can as well have a look around. The museum is right to my taste. Ha, ha. Taste has a double meaning here! Because this museum is not only about theory. Here you can do some gardening. You will find a lot of vegetable patches and some flower-beds. Everything grows here. And therefore the taste. You may harvest here. With competent support you can learn about plants and gardening and you may try it out yourself. Especially the harvesting of potatoes is supposed to be very popular. With a tasting afterwards of course! As I said. Totally to my taste.
So I had a look around the patches and found something. I only say: Yummy! But I get distracted…
In the museum you will hear all about the history of the gardeners and learn about the tools and equipment. You can stroll around in the garden and – as mentioned – do it yourself during guided tours. One tool has even been invented in Wolfenbüttel. The „Schüffeleisen“. A special tool to get rid of the unwanted plants. Again something learned.
In the house everything is like in former times. From the washstand over the oven in the living room to the cooker and the welsh dresser in the kitchen. And there even is a boiler room. In those boilers everything has been cooked: sausage after the slaughter, clothes from the whole family and apples to make apply syrup. They still work though. At special days the boiler will be fired. So the gardener’s museum is worth a visit. As it does not open on a daily basis here is a tipp from us: When the colourful ribbons are flutter in the wind on the flagpole the museum is open. By the way: There is also freshly baked cake.
Enough talk bout fresh and gardening and harvest. Now we want to do it ourselves and want to cook something. No sooner said than done.
Right now there is so much ripe for harvesting. Everywhere fruits twinkle below the leaves. Salad is shining green. Herb gardens flow over. Corn fields glow yellow or are just harvested. At the market so much is offered. And the air is full of smells and flavours. And there are still a handful of gardeners in Wolfenbüttel. So we went to see the „Gemüsescheune“ (vegetable barn). Here vegetable is still grown. So we harvested a salad and some herbs.
The first ingredients were there. Then we went to the flower-bed at the gardener’s memorial to harvest mangold. There are some plant with various glowing colours. Wonderful. The other things we had to buy in the supermarket. Next time we have to find out where we can get fresh eggs, butter and milk from a farm. But that’s a different story.
Good. So we went to the chef of the „Jugendgästehaus“. A kind of a youth hostel. There we cooked with all these nice things a mangold strudel. How it is done you will find in detail in a different article:
How to make mangold strudel
It was really funny anyway to work with such nice fresh stuff and cook with it. After work we enjoyed some fresh air. You can get around quite well by bike in Wolfenbüttel. We rented e-bikes from the tourist office and cycled through green parks and along the water. Did you know that the air is little bit more fresh at the water? They say it is about one or two degrees.
You can also experience some fresh air right in the city. We like to sit outside and enjoy a coffee. Have we talked about freshly roasted and freshly made coffee, yet? Or how about a freshly baked cake? Or a freshly grilled bratwurst? Everything is available.
And there is freshly brewed beer. Yes, we found that as well. There is a new brewery – Mad Dukes Brewery. They have celebrated a party for their first fresh craft beer. There were some nice varieties: An espresso-stout, a pale ale and the new „Weizenbüttler“, a wheat beer. For the special burst of freshness try the beer ice cream. There were all three of them as ice cream. It’ s a must. An explosion of flavours.
After all this partying we went to the beach. Quickly we arrive with our bikes at the „Strandwolf“ and had a freshly made cocktail while we were playing with our toes in the sand. Great! If you need more freshness put you feet into the water.
There it is again. The feeling of freshness. „Wellbeingbüttel“. At summertime.
We tried it and cooked with freshly harvested ingredients from the region of Wolfenbüttel. Thanks to the kitchen staff of the Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel that we were allowed to look over their shoulder. And thanks for the Gemüsescheune that we could watch the harvesting. And thanks to the town’s gardener for the nice vegetable patch in the city.
We want to make mangold strudel with a side salad.
So let’s start.
All the ingredients.
Let’s first prepare the strudel dough.
Mix egg, flour and water
And knead it.
Add oil and work it in.
Do another pressure test.
Let the dough rest for at least half an hour.
During that time you can prepare the mangold.
Wash the mangold, dry it and rip the stem out.
Cut the stems.
Cut the leaves.
Peel onions and garlic and cut it.
Sweat the onions and the garlic and add the stems
Cut the cheese into cubes.
Add the cheese to the eggs
Add the mangold leaves to the frying stems and fry them as well
Add the fried mangold to the egg and cheese cream and mix it.
For the salad
Wash the salad and pluck it. Pluck the leaves from the herbs and fry the herbs in oil and add some maple sirup
Grate the carrots and add some lemon peel
Cut an apple into small pieces
Fry the apple with a little bit of sugar and add the carrots
Let the apple and carrots dry on a kitchen paper
Back to the strudle dough
Stretch the strudel dough out. Start with the hands an turn the dough around.
Work on with the rolling pin.
Stretch the dough further over your hand.
Put the dough on a clean dishcloth and stretch it further.
Put some melted butter on it.
Put grounded almonds on it.
Fry some whole mangold leaves shortly in olive oil from both sides.
Put them on the dough.
Add the pressed mangold mixture.
Put egg yolk on the edges
Fold the strudel and roll it with the dishcloth into a firm roll.
Put the strudel into an oiled form, put egg yolk on the top and put the strudel into the oven.
While the strudel is in the oven you can prepare the sauce.
Heat egg yolks in a bain-marie and stirr them with some starch flour, salt and vegetable stock.
Decorate the salad on plates and add the crispy herbs and caramelized apple and carrots
The Cycle Marathon Tannheimer Tal 2017 lies behind us and though we have not been active participants the whole week was fun.
I say the whole week because we have been their earlier for the preparations and for the racing bike week. The Cycle Marathon on Sundays is the highlight of the events.
The Racing Bike Week
It all starts on Monday afternoon with the first rides out. Those are meant for getting to know the different s and check out your performance „Will I manage?“. To benefit all there are up to five different rides out with different levels of difficulty. Those range from easy trips affectionately called „Cappuccino Round“ up to challenging pass tours. The Cappuccino round ist according to Marcel Wüst „for all those that regard a bicycle as a means of transport instead of a sports equipment“. Those trips are lead by well known and famous race bikers like the above mentioned Marcel Wüst or Gerrit Glomser or dedicated cyclists that know the routes by heart.
The fulll range of these trips show quite well the spirit of this event. It is mostly about fun about being part of it but it is not about racing or ambitious goals. Therefore a stop for drinks and snacks is always part of those trips. Talking to each other and having fun while cycling is the first priority. If you ever have been part of such a tour you will know what I mean. People are laughing, are making jokes and are chatting while pedaling. And the routes through the Tannheimer Tal and the Allgäu are stunning. Whenever possible the bikers use the bike lanes so that they are able to enjoy the beautiful nature and so that they can bike in groups.
Everyday there are several tours. Always at ten in the morning. Weather permitting. In case it rains at that time there will be a second try at two o’clock in the afternoon. So you can get ready for Sunday.
On Friday there has been an additional technique workshop with Marcel Wüst which has been interesting just by watching. It is always amazing how many tipps you can get from professionals. And even if it is just one single tipp you take along. It might be the one thing you needed to drive more easily or more pleasant or just more smoothly. Maybe you can loose your fear of certain situations and increase your driving pleasure.
On Saturday the last tours take place called „rolling in“. Some parts of the original routes are taken to get to know them. As there are some challenging parts with steep descents or intensely ascending slopes. Some bikers change their choice of route afterwards. But this is good. Because every ones wants to reach safely and in good spirit the finish line. False ambitions are out of place here. Some even change their mind while on route by driving left or right at the turnoff between the 85 km or 130 km route. The Lech bridge seems to be a special trail marker and for one or the other even a nail biter „Shall I or shall I not?“.
While the bikers are preparing for the highlight on Sunday by bike or workshop around 300 people are busy working to enable the Cycle Marathon. The organizing team is very busy. Until the very end registrations are arriving. Starting numbers have to be prepared. Applications have to be handled. The route has to be checked several times. Contact to police and maintenance area is close during this week: „What about this traffic light? Where will car traffic be stopped?“.
Sponsors have to be found and taken care of. Starter packs have to be prepared. The floor in the tennis hall needs protection against street shoes and cycling shoes. The racing office has to be installed. Speakers have to be arranged. The stage has to be erected and needs a carpet. The winners’ podium has to be ready. Catering is needed. And for the pasta party huge amounts of noodles have to be cooked. There are workers everywhere. Everyone is busy. All in T-shirts in bright colours working in the name of the Cycle Marathon. And again and again there are questions and challenges. Smaller ones and bigger ones. „Where does this go? When will the beer tables be delivered?“. Telephones are ringing. Information is given all the time and questions are answered.
Also here the mood is good. People are working well together. Jokes are told and everyone is eager to answer questions if possible. And so the tennis hall turns into a cycling centre and the cafe becomes a race office. In the evening the sign posts are distributed. There are not only directories but also warning signs. One teams finishes work around midnight and the next team starts at two o’clock in the morning. Everything for the participants.
Outside protective gratings are mounted. On the meadow bike racks appear. And a start and finish gate is raised. Music arrives and plays loud while the car for the time measurements is put in place. Bikers get their starting numbers, chat along and loads of boxes are delivered. Food, documents, office material, t-shirts, trophies, vouchers, cutlery (no plastic by the way!), rubbish bags, cake, posters, a video wall, cables, barrier tape, drinks and much more.
Sunday – the cycle marathon
On Sunday morning the whole start-finish area is humming like a beehive. Those go still for their starting number. Others use the offer to have breakfast. And the other ones are already standing in front of the starting line. You can feel the excitement everywhere. Everybody is nervous. Some fear for their starting position. Others keep a spot free for their friends that are coming late. The one or other bike is lifted over the heads of those already waiting. Sometimes the bike is pointing in the wrong direction and has to be turned again. Others ask themselves whether they will cope or whether they have chosen the right route and if everything will work out. Others think about wearing a rain jacket or leaving it in the back pack. GPS trackers are set and they twitch at their starting number until the very last minute.
And then they are off on the route. The bikers get moving. The biking shoes klick, when they latch into the pedals. In front there are support vehicle with blinking lights and a camera car. It lasts several minutes until everyone is on the route.
On Sunday there have been three starts. At six o’clock the biggest group started for the 220 km round. One hour later the bikers for the 85 km and 130 km route started off. And for the first time ever at the Cycle Marathon Tannheimer Tal there has been a start from tricycles. The two participants were allowed to start 15 minutes earlier to make sure that there would be no problems in the crowded start area. How nice, that such a thing was possible here. Each start has been celebrated accordingly by the present audience.
Along the route
Along the route assistants, security guards and policemen are standing. Provision stations are set up. They spread butter and chocolate cream on bread, but fruits and mix isotonic drinks. There is even magnesium in case the muscles cramp.
The mood among the bikers is good. They even talk today. They coordinate with each other. Who leads? Who takes the first position? Where do we go? They smile or wave for the photographers along the route. Some drivers are lonesome and all alone on the way others go in pairs, groups or teams. Some wear jerseys in their club colours. Other have been creative for the marathon and wear something special.
At the provision station they let their bikes fall to the ground. Women are searching for the toilets. Men use the meadow. They talk shop. They coordinate. Who drives on with whom? Shall I shorten the route or do I dare to go the long way? But also here the mood is good.
At the same time people are already waiting for the first bikers. And then the first one rolls over the finishing line. Also here some drive together through the gate. They are holding hands or go as a team. It is all about being a part of it. Many praise their group „Without you I would not have managed!“. They draw each other along, motivate each other or even push somebody uphill. Every finishing line crossing is emotional. From „finally there“ to fully in tears up to loud shouting everything can be seen.
The last participant drives six minutes before the official end of time measuring quickly over the finishing line and gets cheered at. The Chinese participant shouts something very loud into his smart phone. Emotions are high. They talk about parts of the route. They drink beer. There are queues at the pasta station.
And you can hear everywhere: „Next year I will be here again.“. „I have already booked an accommodation.“ „But next time I will do the 130 km.“
And somehow I am now in the mood for cycling myself …
Nowadays it is hard to survive for family run hotels. Therefore it is very nice for a change to be able to watch a small hotel to not only survive a couple of generations but to also grow and develop. Unfortunately it is more common to loose the connection to modern times.
The hotel Weinbergschlösschen is a praiseworthy exception. The younger generation took over a couple of years ago and changed some things immediately. Amongst them also the name. ‚Bergschlösschen‘ became ‚Weinbergschlösschen‘.
That was the beginning of a number of smaller and bigger changes: First the rooms were renovated in a very skillful way. Skillful means that the rooms are presented individually and fondly designed. If nothing else because of the self sketched and designed furnitures that even include clever details for the guests. Here you will find a plug at each bedside. Unfortunately this is still not common today even now that many people travel with their smartphone. Also the decoration varies from up to date styles and materials. Here you can feel the affinity to details and to handicraft in each and every room.
Also regarding the togetherness you can feel the affection. The conversation with the guests is cordially and towards the regular guests even amicable. Sometimes they even get a hug at a reunion. Also among the staff there is a nice atmosphere. As a guest you immediately can feel that all like to work together and have fun doing so. You can here much laughter.
Even now after the house has grown and gathered more employees. The originally 5 guest rooms have not only been equipped with an own bathroom and toilet but during the years the number of rooms has risen as well. The kitchen has been displaced and enlarged and some former achievements have been gone. Though one has been so proud of them, that they were announced on the hotel own matchboxes. Like the bowling alley. Or the sauna. Instead the guests enjoy the new lift and the fact that they don’t need to carry their luggage upstairs.
The restaurant became a meeting room and the old kitchen became another meeting room. Then the restaurant has been enlarged. The breakfast room as well. And in case we interpret the signs right there will be more changes soon. The creativity of the chefs of the house seems to be unbroken. Neither regarding the culinary arts nor the planning of reconstructions.
Talking about culinary arts. Also here the ambitious brothers introduced some new events. The cooking school that teaches you how to prepare a multi course meal; also in your team if you like. Or you visit one of the cookery courses dealing with different subjects. Or have a look at the travel around the world in seven courses. Here you can explore the globe with your roof of the mouth. Because the chefs have worked on cruise ships and thus learned much about exotic ingredients and flavours. Now they use this knowledge for their dishes. By the way they have both worked at the Traube Tonbach as well. So the culinary arts alone are worth a visit. Even without a hotel room.
One of the latest ideas was the kitchen party which nowadays is legendary. So it was no wonder that the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the house have been held in form of a huge kitchen party:
But first things first: The festivities for the big event started already Friday evening with the above mentioned wine tasting and a following five „Strammer Max“ which is normally fried egg with ham on bread. But now it was served as a modern variation. And also other dishes like ‚pork belly with cabbage and potatoes‘ was not old fashioned but a new creation. And like the wine tasting the evening was a mixture between young and old. With traditional courses and new creations. But everything was presented with the usual Weinbergschlösschen quality.
On the next evening even ten courses have been offered at as many stations that have been distributed over the building and in the outdoor area. There each dish has been prepared or arranged on the plate freshly in front of the guests. Additionally there have been six stands of wine growers with matching wines. The guests stroll from station to station, taste some of this and try some of that and get some advice from the wine growers about which wine to drink with the black feather chicken or which one goes with the saltimbocca from the deer.
Well known colleagues love to accept their invitation and enrich the courses with their own creations so that it will never get boring. Three of them contributed dishes for the anniversary and came up with something extraordinary. Or have you ever had apple-whisky-bacon-egg? It sounds weird but was delicious.
Different to the ‚normal‘ kitchen parties the anniversary took place in the summer so that guests could also celebrate on the terraces. Terraces in plural because there is also an innovation. The old pavilion had to go but was erected anew in front of one of the meeting rooms to form a nice place for the breaks. Of course not just like that but an new terrace has also been formed. The so called ‚stone‘ terrace. Exactly there the wine tasting of the anniversary party took place and was at the same time some inauguration. Ten wines could be tried. Old ones and young ones. Among them also the famous Bush-wine from 1989 and sadly nowadays a rare drop: Ice wine from 1983. You can hardly get anyone today.
There was even a huge marquee at the terrace according to the occasion where a band was playing and supported the party with their music. The wooden floor of this marquee later served as a dance floor.
But there was more to it than that. There have been more surprised for the numerous guests. Around midnight the name giving wine yards have not only been illuminated by an ample firework but there could also be seen a „60“ made out of lights.
No, that was not the end. There was a draw and the first prize has been a night in the legendary ‚Turmzimmer‘ – the tower room. Of course with the whole shebang.
The grand finale was a five tier cake. Also an innovation, that such a masterpiece is planned and made in house. Everyone held their breaths as the cake has been carried to the table. Five different cakes with different layers and creams like peach or vanilla, black forrest cake or chocolate. Lush decorated and with a „60“ made out of marzipan. Where do I know these two from? For the cake people were queuing because every one wanted a taste of it. In the end no single crumb was left over. Here also a new tradition could have been born.