My husband is born and raised in Bremen, a large city in Northern Germany. I first came to visit with him in 2004, and this picture was taken during that visit. Bremen is a beautiful city with a long history. To give you an idea – this City Hall in the picture was built before Columbus sailed for America. I really love this city, and it would be my second preferred place to live after California.
We visited Germany (mostly Cologne and Bremen) with Smarty in 2008 when she was about 21 months. She doesn’t remember any of it, of course, but she was very interested to look at the pictures of Bremen and pictures of herself as a “baby” on our computer. Unfortunately, we don’t have many pictures from that visit, since we had a really bad point-and-shoot at the time, and a lot of pictures are blurred.
Bremen is one of the few places in Germany that made it to the title of a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm. Of course, we had to read it. I have to admit, however, that the story itself is sort of sad, and this retelling that I picked up from the library turned out to be pretty bad. It looks like the author was really trying to fit as many SAT words into the story as he possibly could, and I had to simplify it a lot while reading. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite works here, since Smarty usually tracks where I am reading and asks, where did it say “sadly”. I don’t see it. Well, the story said, dolefully. It was funny that in the end of the story she said, But they didn’t really come to Bremen! Why is the story called The Bremen Town Musicians?
I remember Bremen Town Musicians to be a lot more fun than this grim story from the Brothers Grimm. I grew up with an animated Russian version of it that took quite some liberties with the story and has wonderful songs. In the Russian version the animals are part of a traveling circus and a human troubadour is an important part of the story. We have a DVD from my parents with this cartoon, and I was amazed to find it on YouTube with English subtitles. There is only one problem – getting my daughter to watch it. For two weeks now she refuses to watch anything but Sid the Science Kid.
We had some Bremen souvenirs since before Smarty was born. She was quite happy to lay her hands on them and retell the story in her own words: All the animals were going to die. Then they went away to Bremen, but they didn’t get there. They came to the dark forest and there were bad people there. Animals scared bad people away. Mama, did the bad people die?
For more geography and history, visit History/Geography linky at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.