Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beautiful Bremen

 This week I went to Bremen Germany for an ECPR graduate conference.  Bremen is up north by Hamburg.  The ECPR is the same group that put on the conference in Iceland, but this was only for PhD students.  There were about 500 people who came (2,000 came to Iceland).  Overall it was a nice conference.  I was a panel chair and I presented a paper on Russia's energy transit policy in the Baltic Sea region.  The paper was not very good, it was basically a review and not a piece of scholarship but I was in a hurry to get it done for the conference.  There was actually a direct flight from Tallinn to Bremen with Ryan Air, meaning super cheap ticket prices!  I got financial support for the conference, but not as much as in years past so the Ryan Air tickets means that the trip was all for free. 

The first thing I noticed about Bremen was how awesome their Trams are! Wow, they were really awesome.  They even had a ticket machine and a mail box inside!!  I know that Tallinn is going to replace one of the four tram lines with nice new trams but that will be in a few years and it will be hard to compete with the German ones.  The trams were nicer than Finland and even cheaper.  The state of Bremen has about 600,000 people and about 18 billion euros in debt, so that explains it I guess.  
 This is the main train station in Bremen, it was really beautiful.  I just read that California gave the green light to high speed trains!  They don't really have the money for it but I think high speed trains are wonderful.  They certainly work well for Europe.

 This is the inside of the train station.

 The conference took place at Jacobs University which was outside the city limits.  It had a US style campus including an all faiths building.  The founder of Jacobs coffee bought the university and turned it into a super nice private university.  I was amazed by how many nice buildings they had for a university with only 1,300 students.  One interesting note about German students, if there is ever a time to clap (for a speaker or something) they knock on the desk instead.  Usually in Estonia people will clap and you will here a few knocks followed by surprised German faces wondering why everybody is clapping.  Here it was about 75% knocks!  I think the knocking system is pretty good, it only takes one hand.

 One of my favorite parts of the trip was the food!  When I first got there I tried a bratwurst from a street vendor, it was ok but not great.  On the 4th of July the conference had a big BBQ (but not for the 4th of July, just a coincidence)  They had some really amazing bratwurst though.  Fantastic.

 My last night in Bremen I got the Schnitzel and it was so good.  Man I love that Schnitzel.  It was just from the street vendor, so I can't imagine how good it must taste in the fancy restaurants.

 Who knew that Snickers in German were Stürmer?  it tasted the same though.

 Bremen had an awesome old town.  Not as big as Tallinn's, but just as impressive.  We had a meeting in the town hall which was really awesome.

 This statue is super famous, one of Bremen's main trademarks 
 This was a cute touristy part of the city.  Most of the stores were closed when I went but I still enjoyed it.

And I even saw a real German slug bug! 

This was my first real trip to Germany, I had an overnight layover once before in Frankfurt, I took a train to Mannheim to visit a friend but I didn't see too much.  Germany was really awesome.  I hope I can go back another time.


  1. You are absolutely right! Germany is awesome!
    As far as I know, Snicker is still called Snickers in Germany. I guess, what you saw was some sort of special edition wrapping for the European championship (Stürmer = striker/forward).

    1. Good to know, I guess it doesn't matter what a snickers is called as long as it tastes the same. I think Stürmer is pretty cool though, maybe they should keep it.