This morning as we chatted over breakfast we discussed our plans to visit Bremerhaven with Christina. She suggested that we travel just a little further and check out Cuxhaven as well. She found a large scale map of the area which showed the coastal areas and pointed out a few features. She told us how the tide of north sea at Cuxhaven goes out so far that the nearby islands are accessible by foot at low tide.
Cuxhaven is only about 90 km’s from Bremen and Bremerhaven roughly 65 km’s so roughly an hour on the highway. Checking the weather we had a forecast of a sunny day but after we headed off we were thinking we should’ve worn an extra layer for it was so cold.
After arriving at Cuxhaven we parked the bike and took a stroll. With the sea breeze blowing a gale thoughts of stripping down to shorts and walking along the beach quickly disappeared. Michele took off her bike pants but there was no way I was taking mine off. The beach at Cuxhaven charged a €3 entry fee which was quite unusual for us.
Along the beach tonnes of yellow sand had been trucked in and hundreds of beach baskets lined the sand.The whole beach was blocked off with the only access through collection points. the sea breeze was blowing. The yellow sand only stretched to the waters edge. Beyond that slimy looking mud stretched out towards the horizon with small patches of water here and there. Lots of people were wading out in the mud, some towards the island, whilst others were looking for shellfish in the mud. A few horse drawn carriages slowly made there way through the mud on their way from a tour of the island.
We settled on just walking along the promenade as the €3 entry fee sounded a bit extreme. As there was no water the only thing to do was lie in the sun that was not there today) and that didn’t sound like fun.
Like most seaside towns Cuxhaven had no shortage of souvenir shops, cafe’s, and restaurants. It seemed a nice enough town and the horse drawn tours give it a really nice feel.
After wandering back to the bike we headed to the fisherman’s wharf at Bremerhaven for lunch. A long row of restaurants sell all sorts of local seafood, most of the names we didn’t recognise. After finding a restaurant we settled on calamari.
After lunch we discovered a few brochures at the restaurant advertising the Migration Museum (Deutsches Auswanderer Haus) and theTechnikmuseum U-Boot Wilhelm Bauer.
After a walk around the restaurants and port at Bremerhaven we headed to Bremerhaven Zentrum. Parking the bike outside the Migration Museum (Deutsches Auswanderer Haus) we then split up with Michele visiting the museum and I the submarine Wilhelm Bauer.
Technikmuseum U-Boot Wilhelm Bauer
The Wilhelm Bauer is a former training submarine of the Federal German Navy. It was built in the last stages of World War Two but was scuttled without seeing any action. In 1957 it was recovered and refitted as a training vessel. The Wilhelm Bauer design revolutionised post war submarine design. The innovative systems employed on Wilhelm Bauer enabled submarines to remain submerged and maintain high speed. Throughout the Wilhelm Bauer storyboards tell the story of the submarine and the crews who sailed on it. It also tells the story of submarine attrition during the Second World War. A large table shows how of the 1156 German submarines built during the war 784 were lost or sunk. Of the German submarine force 75% were killed. It’s quite a sobering figure. The Wilhelm Bauer Museum is a reminder of the horror of war and promotes the peaceful use of technology in the maintenance of peace.
It’s quite easy to imagine how cramped the conditions were for the 58 men who crewed the submarine. It was amazing seeing some of the spaces which people worked in. The submarines galley was no bigger than a broom closet and inside it the chef cooked meals on one household stove for everyone in the boat. There was not much room for the crew to sleep and even the officers quarters were pretty cramped. Inside and out the submarine was absolutely immaculately maintained and well worth the € 3.50 entry fee. It really gave a great insight into life on a submarine.
German Emigration Museum (Deutsches Auswanderer Haus)
The German Emigration Museum is a theme based museum dedicated to German emigration.
After paying the museum entry fee of €13.80 I was given an activity pack with all the information needed to follow someone’s journey from Germany to Australia. As Bremerhaven was one of the ports where ships left bound for the USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
You started at the docks, saying goodbye to your family and then followed their journey across the world, including spending time on a ship in the same conditions they would have been through. It was so realisitic I actually felt a bit seasick.
From there you learnt how their life panned out in their new country, it gave a great insight into migration in that period and how hard their lives were during that period.
My story was of a lady who migrated to Fremantle (near where we live) to meet her husband who she had not seen for over two years. When she arrived life was not what she expected and her marriage broke up, from here she migrated across Australia to Queensland and remarried.
The museum also has a Research Centre where people can trace their ancestors who left from Germany.
After both our visits we met up again at the cafe for a coffee and swap stories before the run back to Bremen. Portugal and Wales were playing soccer against each other in the semi final of UEFA so we settled down for the night in front of the TV with our friend, Christina. Tomorrow we head to Groningen in Holland.