First Day in Bremen: Getting used to the time change

I first met my Masters thesis advisor Dr. Till J.J. Hanebuth in Portimao, Portugal in March 2015 to participate in research cruise POS482 on RV Poseidon sponsored in collaboration with Coastal Carolina University, MARUM at the University of Bremen and the University of Granada as part of the CADISED (Cadiz Shelf Sediment Depocenters) project.  On board RV Poseidon, our very talented, multi-cultural crew and scientists from Bremen in Germany, Faro in Portugal, Granada in Spain and Conway, South Carolina in the United States sampled an extensive data set of cores from the Gulf of Cadiz continental shelf.  The short duration of the 10 day cruise did not allow time for opening the 108 cores and samples from the seafloor. 

Now, six months later, when most of our schedules matched up, we are meeting at MARUM in the University of Bremen, Germany at one of the three International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) core repositories.  This massive refrigerated core repository holds 1100 sqm of all the drilled cores from the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Mediterranean and Black Seas.  Their state of the art center accommodates international working groups such as ours. 

After exploring bit of the historic city while trying to overcome jet-lag, tomorrow I get to see some friends/colleagues and meet new colleagues while sampling the un-opened cores from the RV Poseidon cruise. 

A view of historic city center in Bremen, Germany. Credit: Mary Lee King

The Bremen city center is an interesting combination of preserved culture within its’ extravagant historic buildings and statues and twenty-first century timely effective public transportation. Growing up in a city where a bus system barely exists, I was worried about navigating a city that mainly relies on public transportation. I was amazed to find out how easy it was to traverse the city with little to no German comprehension with a tram and bus system that, to my surprise is never late. Most Bremen natives travel this system or by bike. The streets are shared with trams, busses and some cars. On the other side of the curb, I thought the red bricks indicated the walking area for pedestrians. HA, I WAS SO WRONG AND WAS QUICKLY CORRECTED WITH DINGING BELLS. Within my first day here, I can honestly say I have been chased out of the red zone by multiple dinging bells from bicycles. Pedestrians do not have the right of way here and I was quickly educated in the matter.

Other than almost being run over by bikes, I have had a tiring yet thrilling first day exploring Bremen.  I’m excited to see what tomorrow’s first sampling party holds.  Stay tuned for updates from across the pond.

Cheers (or as they say in German, “Prost”),

Mary Lee