Yesterday, I didn’t have school, so I took the chance to go to Bremen and take a stroll over the Christmas market.
And since I was in Bremen already, I had lunch at the Übersee Restaurant, their lunch special of the week which was a pepper parmesan soup followed by deer goulash served with red cabbage and potato dumplings. I’m not normally a fan of meat heavy classic German food of the sort you can get at country inns, but I make an exception for venison, since I have something of a weakness for it.
I also used the chance to buy some spices (there is a great spice stand at the Christmas market) and pick up a couple of books. I also found some interesting new Romanhefte at the central station bookstore, including the revival of Butler Parker, a mystery series about a crime-solving butler which originally ran from 1953 to 1992, and the revival of the horror series Geister-Krimi, which originally ran from 1973 to 1981. I’m happy to see this vintage Romanheft series make a comeback, especially since the mystery/crime genre has all but died out in Romanheft form with the notably exception of Jerry Cotton.
Coincidentally, while looking up the publisher links for the Romanhefte I just mentioned, I also chanced to notice that Meine Schuld (My Fault), a True Confessions type magazine published by the same company, is sold out. I suspect this is linked to comedian Jan Böhmermann occasionally holding up issues of the magazine in his program Neo Magazin Royale.
Finally, I also took some photos of Bremen all decked out in seasonal splendour, so here they are:
Bremen Central Station with Christmas lights and mini Christmas market.
These huge wreath are suspended from the roof of the entrance hall of Bremen Central Station. In the background, you can see parts of the Brinkmann mosaic, a colourful 1950s ad for the Brinkmann tobacco company.
The full Brinkmann mosaic can be seen in this photo BTW. It’s huge and almost impossible to capture in its entirety.
A look down the festively decorated Obernstraße, the main shopping street with the St. Petri Dom in the background. The fairy-light covered building on the left is Karstadt’s department store.
Bremen’s Renaissance townhall, an Unesco world heritage site, with the Christmas market in the foreground.
Another view across the main Christmas market with the townhall, part of the former Bremer Bank building, a statue of Otto von Bismarck, the Romanesque St. Petri Dom and the 1960s building of the Bremen city parliament in the background.
The St. Petri Dom seen from the other side with a look across the Domshof (churchyard) square. There are more Christmas market stands here, including the beautifully illuminated Happy Sailor carousel.
The Roland statue, which depicts Frankish knight Roland, hero of the Chanson de Roland, overlooks the Christmas market. The statue, dating from 1404, is the symbol of Bremen’s independence. It’s huge – the statue alone is more than five meters tall. The head is a replica, the original is in a museum.
It’s not a proper Christmas market without a giant Christmas tree and this example is particularly gorgeous.
A historical carousel forms the centrepiece of Bremen’s Christmas market. In the background, you can see the townhall again.
A particularly beautiful stand selling sweets.
This beautifully decorated stand sells Christmas ornaments. In the background, you can see the church of Our Lady, which is currently undergoing renovations.
Wooden candle-lot Christmas pyramids are a traditional holiday decoration in Germany. This oversized example adorns the Christmas market.
The Elchbar not just offers mulled wine and other alcoholic beverages, it also has an animatronic moose singing Christmas songs.
An alpine themed mulled wine stand, complete with deer and mountain goats.
Bremen’s main Christmas market is in the city centre, but there is a secondary market that on the Schlachte, a boulevard that along the river Weser. Here, a boar watches over a stand that sells venison sausage.
A lot of the stands at the Schlachte market are maritime themed. Here, a sharknado has deposited a great white shark on the roof of a fish roll stand. Worse, the shark has just eaten Rudolph.
The Schlachte market also includes a pirate village. Here, a pirate is taking a well deserved nap after a long day of pillaging and plundering.
Another pirate is climbing the trees along the river.
Birdhouses and Christmas trees line the Schlachte. On the other side of the river, you can see the Weserburg art museum and the headquarters of Mondelez International.
This illuminated chandelier behind the Kontorhaus mall is one of the more interesting Christmas decorations in the city.
A look down Sögestraße, Bremen’s other main shopping street. Note how the swineherd statue (Söge means swine in Low German, since the swine were once driven to market through this road) is echoed in the Christmas lights.
The other end of the Sögestraße with festive illuminations. On the left, there is Karstadt’s department store. The angel holding a halo on the building on the right is not a Christmas decoration BTW, but a regular part of the building, which once housed the jewelery shop Brinkmann und Lange.
The shopping mall Lloydpassage, built in the 1980s, with festive illuminations.
This beautiful Rococo building houses the Café Stecker, a Bremen institution since 1908. On the right, you can see the statue of Mother Cordes and her donkey Anton, a vegetable vendor and well known Bremen original.
The story of Mother Cordes as well as a better look at the statue may be found here. I’m a big fan of statues commemorating ordinary people, therefore I’m pleased that Mother Cordes is not the only Bremen original to be honoured with a statue. Heini Holtenbeen (Heini with the wooden leg), a disabled beggar, has also got his own statue. There were also initiatives to get other Bremen originals such as the fish vendor known as the Aal-Onkel (eel uncle) and two elderly sisters who used to sell flowers at the flower market honoured with statues, but so far they haven’t come to fruition. I still remember the flower vendor sisters from my childhood, while my mother remembers the Aal-Onkel making his rounds through the office buildings of the city in the late 1950s/early 1960s.
Finally, a rare sight: The big top of the Circus Roncalli is being disassembled on the Bürgerweide parking lot.