Bristol and Hannover have been twinned since 1947, so with 2022 being the 75th year Anniversary it seemed an apt time to re-start the BJC exchange with Wirstschaftsjunioren Hanseraum (Hannover Junior Chamber or WJH). The annual exchange had to sadly pause during the pandemic, but as it’s been taking place for the last 61 years, we knew that our ‘friendship’ could weather a few years off!
8 BJC members flew out on Friday 25th November where we were greeted by a couple of WJH members who kindly drove us to our various hosts for the weekend. Let’s just say driving on the German autobahn was an experience (think no speed limits!).
Our first day saw us visit Wirthaus for breakfast where we were able to try lots of different foods at their buffet. This was also where we were able to meet many more members of WJH and hear about the fun weekend ahead.
The first stop was a visit to Herrenhäuser Brewery which is a family-run business founded back in 1868. We were lucky enough to go on a private guided tour which took us through all of the various different rooms of the brewery – some of the machines looked like we had stepped into a nuclear power plant! I’ve been on a fair few brewery tours, but this was by far the most unique and unusual! After our tour, we went up to the tasting room where we were treated to some German food (some of our group were ‘brave’ enough to try mett – have a Google!) and of course the main event – their beer!
Following this we went and visited 3 of their Christmas markets – one was a Middles Ages/Medieval theme, and they even had a full-size forest for their Finnish-themed market. We were able to try some of the local glühwein which certainly got us all feeling very festive.
We then ended the night in Brauhaus which is a huge beer hall/restaurant/live music venue – it had it all! Our hosts were keen we tried the Hannover’s National Drink: Luettje Lage, including making sure we drank it in the customary fashion (which may have involved some spillage!).
The next day our hosts had to amend our plans due to a last-minute change which sadly meant we were not able to go on the historical tour of Hannover Central Station – but we agreed it’s one of the many reasons we will definitely return to Hannover. Instead, we went along to Neon Golf for a spot of glow-in-the-dark crazy golf, which was a fun way to end a brilliant trip.
On the return train from Hannover to Berlin Airport, I reflected on what an amazing experience the weekend had been. Having set out with a group of near-enough strangers, to be greeted by definite strangers, I was unsure what to expect from my weekend. But it’s safe to say I have left having made some fantastic friends and I can’t wait to help host them when the WJH come over to Bristol next year!
Words from Amy Moody, Chair of Events 22/23