Niedersachen Adventure: Bremen

Another German folk tale, another Niedersachen Ticket. Bremen, at the north end of Niedersachsen, beckoned. We heeded the call and bought another Niedersachsen ticket for two. We wore our rain jackets and took umbrellas, and while it did rain on us for a little bit when we arrived, we mostly had to contend with gray skies.

I didn’t remember much about The Bremen Town Musicians, the Grimm Brothers story, but this website refreshed my memory. The city has one famous statue, which legend has it that if you hold the donkey’s legs, your wish will come true. It actually seems to me that tourists think if you have your picture taken with the statue, that might happen. I snuck in a quick shot without additional characters.

Bremen Town Musicians

Then there is this more modern, and colorful, take on the animals.

Bremen Town Musicians Statue

Walking into the town from the station, I felt as though this was Germany, but perhaps with some Dutch or Danish flavor. Nice. Here’s the town square with a Town Hall and Big Church, and Germany’s largest statue of Roland.

Someone had put a chair on this horse statue, as well as Neptune in his more modern fountain.

I rather liked the fountain.

Right off the main square is the quaintest little shopping street called the Bottcherstrasse which was conceived by the decaf (!) coffee magnate, Ludwig Roselius. The short street is almost like its own museum of expressionist art. We avoided the rain for a bit in a restaurant here which served some delicious potato soup (and decaf cappuccinos!).

Moving back in time to the oldest preserved quarter of the city, it was just another charming place to walk in the Schnoor district.

Here in the very north of Germany, people spoke (or still speak?) Low German or Plattdeutsch which is the language of my ancestors. We saw this in a window and tried to figure out how much of it we could read. Some of it.

Platt Duutsche

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Day Trips from Berlin: Leipzig and Spreewald

On Travel Forums, the question arises – does one visit Leipzig or Dresden? For musicians it’s a no-brainer – one must pay homage to J.S. Bach, and so off to Leipzig it is. Not an easy day trip as it requires 5 hours on the train round-trip, but worth it.

Bach worked in two churches in Leipzig and spent his final years in this city from 1723-1750. At St. Thomas he was the Kapellmeister and director of the St. Thomas boys choir (still performing today). Bach is buried in the church. Or let’s say, we’re pretty sure those are his remains. Upon his death he was buried elsewhere, but in 1950 his body was exhumed and placed inside the church.

As this is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it is also important to note that Luther preached at St. Thomas, bringing the Reformation to Leipzig here.

Luther Leipzig

The stained glass windows show Bach, Luther, as well as Mendelssohn (who also lived out his final days in Leipzig and is credited with bringing Bach’s music back in fashion.

With all that music history, it’s no surprise that there are street musicians of all kinds throughout the streets of the old city.

Leipzig, in the former East Germany, prides itself on being the first place for peaceful protests against the government, before the wall came down. Out of the train station, one immediately sees this giant mural.

The Zeitgeistliches Forum has many artifacts from the struggles of the East Germans and gives free tours in English. You can see this original famous sign from Berlin here.

Leaving American Sector

Goethe was also a former Leipzig resident, and it was here that he was inspired to write his version of Faust. The statue on the right is above the Auerbach’s Keller where the paintings on the ceiling from the story inspired the poet.

Leipzig has many beautiful things to look at, including these statues, and the facade of the University of Leipzig.

Our second day trip took us to the Spreewald – literally the forest along the river Spree. Only about an hour south of Berlin, it’s famous for boating, but we took a 9-mile hike along some of the canals and past ponds on a beautiful and sunny day.

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Little Bridges Organ Loft

IMG_6101Bridges Hall of Music (aka Little Bridges) on the Pomona College Campus draws audiences for concerts throughout the academic year. The beautiful venue also hosts weddings. Last month while playing for a wedding, I got to view the hall from the organ loft, a perspective not everybody gets to see.

Many times have I sat in the balcony, admiring the ceiling, and now I enjoyed this particular view of the intricate woodwork above.

 

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The Hill Memorial Organ was dedicated in 2002, many years after the opening of the hall in 1915.

As long as I was walking around upstairs, I enjoyed the views out of the second-story windows.

June 2017 Photo Round-Up

For some reason, I don’t feel as though summer Claremont City Hallis really here until July. June must fill itself up with things I put off from the school year. Then there are June events to fill up the calendar.

Some of the events included the Annual Vista Track Meet, a talk by Luis Fuerte (the cameraman of the PBS show California’s Gold), a Levitt on the Lawn concert at Scripps College (the Dustbowl Revival), and my sister’s graduation from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.

 

A volunteer squash plant sprouted in my yard, and we had a bumper year for apricots which we had to rescue from the squirrels. Plums were good this year, too. A dead city tree was removed, and early June was a great time to hike the Wilderness Park Trail before it got too hot.

The wading pool at Memorial Park was open once again after years of drought. The bottom of the pool has new sea creatures painted on it.

A day trip to Pasadena led to the discovery of a few Little Free Libraries.

The Vintage Flip people are working on two buildings along 4th St. between Harvard and Yale.

Pomona College was busy with weddings and National Cello Institute.

 

 

April 2017 Photo Round Up

April went by very quickly. Here are some photos to remember her by.

The wall at Walker Beach at Pomona College expressed its LGBTQ pride.

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Signs ala Berma Shave encouraged students to vote for their favorite professor.

It doesn’t take long, to show you care, about that Professor, who’s always there.

Easter came on a beautiful Sunday

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Claremont hosted its annual Earth Day Fair on the hottest day of the month with temps in the 90s.

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First grade students practiced writing their quarter and eighth notes.

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The college softball season was in full swing….

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And to round off National Poetry Month, here is a favorite one of mine. Enjoy!

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March 2017 Photo Round-Up

As usual, music filled the air in March. The Claremont Concert Orchestra performed Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto. The annual Bach in the Subways allowed for the audience to get up real close and personal.

New stop signs on Harvard Ave. at Harrison show that Claremont thinks of “Safety First”.

The annual Silent Auction at the Folk Music Center ends today. Hurry on down!

With the end of the drought in most of California, everything seems to be in bloom, including allergies. I haven’t heard much complaining, though.