Although it was miserably hot today (and is to become even more miserably hot tomorrow), I had business in Bremen. However, I also got lucky and snagged The Dirty Streets of Heaven, the first in Tad Williams’ new urban fantasy series, as well as a Hard Case Crime paperback, which are normally very hard to find in Germany. Of course, the fact that it was Joyland by Stephen King (check out the cover in great lurid paperback original tradition – take that proponents of samey and dull stock photo covers) might have something to do with it. I also found a copy of the German SF magazine Nova at the train station newsstand. For even though Nova is supposed to have newsstand distribution, this was the first time I’ve seen an actual physical copy. The TOC of this issue – No. 21 – is all male BTW.
I also took my camera along, so here are some photos of summerly Bremen:
The Romanesque St. Petri Cathedral viewed across Domshof, the old churchyard whose name literally means “churchyard” in German and which is currently occupied by the daily farmer’s market. Building on this version of the cathedral began in the 11th century and was completed in 1901. On the left of the cathedral you can see the stunning 19th century building of the Bremer Bank, on the right you can see the new townhall. The roof struts are new additions to this 19th century square and belong to the Café Alex and the entrance of the Domshof Passage, an upscale shopping arcade, respectively.
The 12th century Church of Our Lady overlooking the flower market.
The so-called Marcus Fountain (named after the mayor who sponsored it) in front of the church of Our Lady, surrounded by the flower market. I actually had to look up the official name, since it is locally known as taxidriver fountain, since the Bremen taxidrivers finance its upkeep and the feeding of the goldfish living in the fountain. In the background you can see the brick facade of the church of Our Lady and the monument to Helmuth von Moltke on the church wall. I have no idea why there are monuments of Prussian generals on horseback on all our major churches – the cathedral has a monument to Otto von Bismarck on horseback.
Colourful summer flowers on the cobblestones of the flower market, otherwise known as Our Lady churchyard.
View across the Hugo-Schauinsland-Platz towards the overseas museum. The overseas museum is a combined ethnographic and natural history museum originally founded to show off what Bremen sea captains brought back from the colonies during Germany’s brief Imperialist phase in the late 19th century. Hugo Schauinsland (the name means Look-at-the-land) was a zoologist and the founder of the museum. Note the shinto arch and the totem pole in front of the museum as well as the two statues by artist Markus Lüpertz flanking the square. The statues are new and were only set up in January.
The totem pole in front of the overseas museum. This totem pole was carved on site by a Native American woodcarver from the Pacific Northwest approx. 20 years ago to replace an older and probably not quite as legally obtained totem pole that had been destroyed in WWII.
One of two bare-chested sphinxes guarding the entrance to the overseas museum. In the background, you can see the totem pole.
Bremen central station, built between 1886 and 1891. The entrance is somewhat marred by a cherrypicker used for cleaning the large windows. If the clock seems familiar, it’s the same clock that appears on the cover of “Countdown to Death”.
Neat advertising art from the 1950s: the Brinkmann mural inside the great hall of the central station, advertising Brinkmann tobacco. The two side panels represent the countries where the tobacco is grown, while the large central panel shows harbour scenes as well as stylized imagery of the Bremen market square. The full mural is too big to photograph in one go, so this photo shows only the central and one of the side panels.
The other side panel of the Brinkmann mural. Also note the Bremen town musicians on the far side of the central panel.
More neat advertising art: A lady with a French braid painted onto the facade of a haridresser’s shop, while the building on the right has an optical illusion trompe d’oeil design.
The Schlachthof, a 19th century slaughter house which was converted into a cultural centre and concert venue in the 1970s.
The Stadthalle arena (nowadays formally called ÖVB Arena, but nobody uses that name), an exhibition hall, concert, sports and event center built in 1964. Note the unusual roof construction and the large bay windows.