Tuesday, July 12, 2011

City in a Day: Bremen

Part of the USAC program includes a few field trips; on Saturday we went to Bremen. If the name sounds familiar to you, it may be because of the old folktale, The Bremen Town Musicians. Indeed, right off the main square of the Altstadt (old town) is a statue in honor of them, and you'll be able to find toys and souvenirs easily in their image. (Below: the official statue, and a lighthearted one near a living museum.)

Since this was a group trip, it had been arranged to meet with a tour guide to show us some of the Altstadt's highlights. We met in the main square in the shadow of this beauty.
St. Peter's Cathedral
Which also had two gorgeous mosaics in the tympana (singular: tympanum), the half-circle spaces above the door.

Have I mentioned that this entire trip is like a dream from my art history class?

Anyway, having a guide was a real treat, and if I go back I'll have to be sure to look things up ahead of time. Wandering around will only get you so far, and I would've missed things this:
The clock is a mosaic!
Every day on the hour from 12-14 (Germany generally goes by 24-hour time) the bells start playing, and the middle section of the round tower turns to reveal woodcuts of explorers and pilots. Apparently in the early 1900s a man purchased the alley, basically renovated it to how it looks now (traditional Hanseatic red bricks) and turned it into what's essentially a giant art gallery.
 Charles Lindbergh and the French welcoming him from his transatlantic flight

Being Europe, there are a fair amount of statues about, and of course you've got to have some in the art place. We were informed earlier that wherever was gold--shiny from rubbing--on statues was okay to touch.
I resisted.

We spent the rest of the day in the Schnoor, the city's oldest living quarters. I'm getting used to small, cobblestone streets, but these took the cake! At some points there was hardly room for two people to pass each other.

People live there, yes, but it's also a bustling hub close to the river and filled with cafes and restaurants, shops selling stuff besides your usual tourist swag, and what they claim is the world's smallest hotel (it fits two people).

Sadly, we had to be back on a train that evening and didn't get to see nearly enough, but since I can ride the trains free with my student card and ID, I'll have to go back at least once. Speaking of trains:
Even the bahnhof is gorgeous!

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