Visiting Ulm and the Museum der Brotkultur – quite literally a Museum of Bread Culture!
Getting to Ulm from Munich isn’t difficult, with trains departing frequently from the Hauptbahnhof. There’s a wide range of train types to choose from too; Eurocity (EC), Intercity (IC) and Intercity-Express (ICE) get there the fastest with travel times at about 1 hour 20 minutes. Regional-Express (RE) trains however take about 2 hours. As always, you can search for the train you’d like to take (including prices) in advance at the DB English language website.
Wandering Around Ulm
I say wandering… but actually I knew in advance what I wanted to see. Using bits of information pulled off the internet, I’d planned out where to go, along with the best way to get from A to B. Why? Well it worked out that we had just about 2 hours to spend in Ulm! Given it was just a quick stop en route to somewhere else, I was determined to make the most of it.
As you’ll spot in our pictures, the streets were almost empty and quite drizzle soaked. Having arrived in Ulm just before 9am almost nothing was open. Like most places we’ve found in Germany, 10am seems to be the time that shops (other than bakeries) start waking up. This isn’t a problem for us in the slightest – but if you’re travelling for a shopping trip it’s probably worth noting!
We visited in early March 2017 and started our wander in the Fishermen’s and Tanners’ Quarter:
The Fishermen’s and Tanners’ quarter is idyllically situated at the place where the River Blau flows into the Danube, representing the most significant part of the historical city centre. | Tourismus.Ulm.de
Buildings of historical note have signs in both German and English – a small perspex-like plaque, with a brief description of what you’re looking at. The Leaning House (above image, bottom right), now a hotel, was built in 1443 and the semi-circular opening over the river used to enable barges to sail into the building!
From the Leaning House we headed to the Butcher’s Tower (Metzgerturm) which occupies a position overlooking the River Danube, before heading up to the Town Hall (Rathaus) pictured above. It’s a rather beautifully decorated building that’s worth spending some time looking at, even in the rain.
The ornamental astronomical clock was installed around 1520. The lavish exterior murals were extended to the older part of the building and didactically illustrate virtues, commandments and vices. The paintings visible today originate from the year 1900 when the previous paintings, which had been largely destroyed by the weather, were restored or renewed in the sprit of the surviving remains. | Tourismus.Ulm.de
We’re pretty quick walkers, so after walking past Ulm Minster, we’d seen all the buildings I’d wanted to. We even had time for a bit of a gentle wander around the shopping area before hitting the main reason we’d stopped in Ulm: The Museum of Bread Culture.
Museum der Brotkultur
I’d spied this museum on TripAdvisor and had no hesitation in wanting to visit. In fact, I arranged the stop in Ulm especially for it. I thought it would be a small museum and knew I’d have 45 minutes from it opening to needing to get back to the train station. I’m not in the slightest bit ashamed to say I stood in front of the doors, waited until the church bells stopped chiming for 10am and walked on in.
The very nice lady on the front desk looked quite surprised to have visitors at 10am on a Tuesday! It turned out we had the whole museum entirely to ourselves whilst we were there. Perfect! There’s space by the front door to hang coats, lockers for bags or bulky items and English audio guides are available. There’s the odd bit of English description dotted about the museum but it’s mostly in German. Exhibits are fairly obvious in nature though, so it really shouldn’t cause much of a problem.
Displays run from explanations of grain to tools of the trade and artwork depicting bread along with advertising plates and posters. There’s a sense of the importance the bakery trade had in the area, along with official seals for documentation. The second floor focuses on the need and importance of bread and grain in world cultures, with particular emphasis on famine, hunger, war and rationing. There’s a fragment of Egyptian relief, a piece of Greek pottery and a selection of World War II propaganda posters!
Unfortunately we didn’t get as much time to spend in the museum as I’d have liked – 45 minutes wasn’t quite long enough and I could have used a full hour to spend here. However I didn’t feel I had to overly rush my visit and was really surprised at the variety of exhibits on display. I can’t say this museum is going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I really enjoyed myself. I suspect if you’re going to be the type of person to visit, you’ll still be reading this overview!
Always check with the Museum to confirm any details important to you before you travel!