Among stories from prizeotel and team events, I am going to dedicate a fairly reasonable amount of blog posts to the city in which I live and work: the marvellous Bremen. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about it is, of course, the town musicians. It thus goes rather naturally that I’ll start this Bremen odyssey with its iconic statue.
You’ll need about 15 minutes from the airport. Just hop on the tram No. 6 with destiantion ‘university’ (Universität) and get off at the city centre (Domsheide). Should you arrive in Bremen by train, you’ll need 10-15 minutes on foot from the central station in order to marvel at the four stone animals that are to be found directly beside the city hall. Don’t expect something over the top though. The statue in itself is about the size of a grown-up, but is erected on a pedestal so that you can only reach the donkey’s hooves and mouth. These parts are golden, whereas the whole statue is greyish. Do you know why? Touching or polishing the donkey’s hooves brings good fortune and it is even said to fulfil a wish.
The tale says that the donkey started off to Bremen to become a musician since it was too old to properly serve its owner and met the other animals one by one on its path. Since they coldn’t get there in one day, the new friends decidec to spend the night in a forest and found themselves a cottage, the shelter of a bunch of robbers. Unaware of that, the animals started to sing with the hope that the owners would give them something to eat at hearing their beautiful choir. The combined noises terrified the burglars who took off immediately. The animals felt at home there and decided to put an end to their journey. You can find a more comprehensive version of the story here. This other version is read aloud and is perfect for childen and/or English learners.
To me, even if the animals didn’t actually set foot in Bremen, this is a success story since it shows that you can always turn your life around and it teaches you that you should aim at doing what makes you happy and, most important, that together there is nothing you cannot achieve. In a way the town musicians symbolise prizeotel: a ‘bunch’ of different people who got together with something mutual in mind, something that they can achieve, however, only as a perfectly cohesive team.