Thursday, April 21, 2005

BREMEN (Germany) Weekend

Bremen (pop. 546,000), Germany's oldest port city, is absolutely our Dream City here in Germany thus far. Following on the heels of much larger Hamburg (see last post), we almost wished we had started the weekend here on Saturday when the shops were open. Maybe we're learning that the smaller cities have a different charm we appreciate more, like out of some story book....

Speaking of which, the Brothers Grimm have a fairy tale about Bremen's Town Musicians as seen here in the Market Square. Everywhere you go you can see some art form of the 4 animals: the donkey, dog, cat and rooster on top of each other. It's a riot! I was able to capture several of the caricatures around town, sometimes through shop windows because they were closed on Sunday. As you may already know, Grimm's fairy tales can be quite grim, but this one is tame enough that we bought a coloring book of it for Nicholas. We'll have to embellish the story a bit but we think he'll get a kick outta it.

Bremen's Market Square area is something for the, say, The Three Musketeers! That's how we felt about Bruges in Belgium several years ago. Being there just takes you back to a different time. The Town Hall and St. Peter's cathedral are 2 sides of the Square at right angles to each other. The other two sides are
the Chamber of Congress and old patrician homes, which you can see in my photos (above link). One pedestrian street off the Square, the Böttcherstraße, is famous for its extensive art collections, one of which, the Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876 - 1907) exhibit of the Expressionist movement, we enjoyed.

I'll share a DUH! experience I had with my camera inside St.
Peter's cathedral. I was complaining to Donica about how I hated my inside shots being so dark (like in Paris). She told me there was a special setting on the camera for inside shots, which I promptly started to use. Sometimes I'm like that--you have to hit me over the head with a hammer! But once I get it, I get it! Needless to say, shots like this made me a much happier camper! But now I want to go back to Paris and re-do all those shots inside the Pantheon and the St. Germain and St. Sulpice churches. Live and learn.

Last but definitely not least (!) was The Schnoor district, beginning with St. John's church in the oldest part of Bremen, a couple streets away from Market Square. This was where Time stood still for us as we walked up and down the pedestrian-only crooked lanes where 100 houses rub shoulders with each other. The oldest was built in the 13th century. That's a long time ago!

On one of the houses is a Bremen saying in Low German that points to an old Bremen virtue: "Through saving and preserving you come to prosperity." Sounds like a good motto for those of us who come from a throw-away society. Come to think of it, sounds like a good motto for our entire globe!

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