Christmas Cards from Germany

Sending Christmas cards is not a common German tradition. As a matter of fact, the only cards I get from Germans are sent by the ones who had lived overseas and are familiar with this tradition. In most German homes, they are neither hung up on the door, nor strung over the fireplace, with the latter being a rare commodity in this country anyway.

When I was a child, the only cards we ever sent were to aunts, uncles, and cousins who lived out of town. Calling each one would have been too expensive then, so a Christmas postcard was sent.

The tradition of sending Christmas greetings originated in Great Britain in the early 19th century. It was common practice to write seasonal messages on calling cards and then deliver them on the next call. Then there came the postal system and that was the beginning of sending one’s festive greetings by regular mail.

Over the years, the then rather plain German Christmas postcard has evolved into some finer Christmas cards sent in envelopes. Some of the most beautiful ones are done by the artist Allmuth Gutberlet, who paints seasonal images of the towns such as Kronberg, Bad Homburg und Oberursel.

We do appreciate her cards as they depict wintery scenes of places we know so well. This one shows St. Ursula Church.

A. Gutberlet

 Seen from the corner of the Oberursel Market Square (Marktplatz)

A. Gutberlet

Oberursel’s Historic Town Hall (Historisches Rathaus) dating from 1479

A.Gutberlet

Again, this is the Oberursel Market Square with its fountain and the street leading up to the Historic Town Hall.

A.Gutberlet

These cards can be purchased at various Christmas Markets around the region. Some of the local stationary shops sell them as well.

Is sending Christmas cards by mail bad on the environment? Should we only send digital seasonal greetings?

I do care about my personal carbon foot print in most respects, but when it comes to cards, I will stick to the non-green tradition. Call me a romantic, if you like.

Market Day in Oberursel, Germany

If you happen to be an expat moving to Oberursel, be prepared for a mostly quiet, beautiful, and regulated surrounding. Germans love their beer and wine fests, they do not shop on Sundays, and there are rules when you can party/make noise and not. You’ll get used to it, I’m sure.

Saturday is a busy day for most shoppers, since everything is closed on Sundays. I managed to get away from work for 40 minutes and took a short trip downtown to the market for a Fischbrötchen (marinated fish on a bread roll).

Oberursel’s market is located right at the market square and it’s a very pretty sight.

Saturday market day in Oberursel

Saturday market day in Oberursel

When I went to order my Fischbrötchen, the lady told me she was out of bread rolls and asked me to get one from one of the other vendors. Once I come back with a bread roll, she could make it for me, she said. This is Germany at its best 🙂

Another view of the market with the ever-so-clean fountain.

Oberursel market and fountain

Next, we went down into the Altstadt, where they got ready to set up for the Seifenkistenrennen (soap box race).

Soap box race, Oberursel

Soap box race, Oberursel

“Yes, it’s spelled correctly”, one of the guys seems to say.

Does this look right to you?

Does this look right to you?

Being a repat, but working expat hours, it is sometimes difficult to match my schedule to the German hours of operation.

But this should be the least of your concerns when living in Germany. It is safe, they have good beer, and are generally honest in business dealings.

The Old Mountain Lodge at Camp King in Oberursel

Another opportunity for Open House to the Mountain Lodge at Camp King Oberursel was given on 29 June, when Col. Halverson (Ret.) came by for a visit in remembrance of the airlift Berlin-Frankfurt 1948/49.

Join me on a stroll through this landmark of military history.

These stairs are leading from the first floor to the second floor.

Stairway

Stairway

This is what the basement looks like today. Apparently, this area will be turned into apartments too.

There's work to be done

There’s work to be done

Pictures were on display throughout the house, including this one of the bell in the attic.

The bell at the Mountain Lodge, Oberursel

The bell at the Mountain Lodge, Oberursel

This is another photo on display of the belfry.

Camp King Mountain Lodge belfry

Camp King Mountain Lodge belfry

This is one of the rooms on the second floor.

More rooms and entries on the second floor.

This is the stairway today, connecting the first and second floor of the building.

Walking down the hallway on the second floor.

Another photo on display of the stairway connecting first and second floor.

This room overlooks the north side on the second floor.

Here we are in the attic.

attic

attic

The basement with this haloed door truly has the look of a haunted house.

basement

basement

Some of you might remember the shower rooms in the basement.

shower

shower

If you have ever been to the Mountain Lodge (a.k.a. Officers’ Club) in Camp King Oberursel, then I am sure you can appreciate this last tour of the building in the way it has been. Soon much will change when renovation is complete and apartments are for sale.

Pizzeria at U-Bahn Kupferhammerweg near Camp King Oberursel

Whenever I do some research about Camp King, I inevitably stumble across comments mentioning the pizzeria on Hohemarkstrasse, which is across from the U-Bahn station Kuperhammerweg, close to the former military post Camp King. Also readers of this blog do occasionally mention the pizzeria, such as L.L.H. when she stated “I was wondering, is there still the Pizza shop (as you go out what was the front gate to the left)”.

Yes, the pizzeria is still there. When we moved here in 1995, it was run by two elderly Italian men. A few years later, another Italian family took over and has been running it since then.

We are regulars at this restaurant and one of our daughter’s first words was “Toni! Toni!” when she wanted their Rigatoni dish. That was a long time ago…

Anyway, here are some photos I took while walking from Camp King down Hohemarkstrasse to the pizzeria Del Golfo.

There is construction on the other side, a new housing development called Am Urselbach is in the making. At this corner, there used to be the gate.

Camp King corner facing east

Camp King corner facing east

This is the eastern end of Camp King, at the corner of Eichwäldchenweg and Hohemarkstrasse.

Camp King Allee sign post

Standing at the corner of Camp King Allee and Hohemarkstrasse.

Camp King corner facing north

Camp King corner facing north

The U-Bahn station Kupferhammerweg was redone a number of years back.

U-Bahn station Kupferhammerweg

U-Bahn station Kupferhammerweg

View from the U-Bahn station.

Looking back at Camp King

Looking back at Camp King

Also the pizzeria building got a new face – the facade was repainted several years ago.

Pizzeria Del Golfo

Pizzeria Del Golfo

The pizzeria does good business with very good food, reasonable prices, and friendly service.

Pizzeria Del Golfo

My next research will have me locate the bakery the reader L.L.H had mentioned, “also at the stop for the Ubahn there was a bakery that had some of the best breads and coffee. Would buy my coffee there for home use and have it fresh ground.”

Oberursel Old Town

If you are coming to the Frankfurt area to work, you might find Oberursel to be the perfect place of residence for you and your family.

In addition to lots of surrounding nature, clean air, traditional buildings and a small-town atmosphere, Oberursel is also home to Frankfurt International School, one of the top international schools in Europe.

I took this photo three days ago – Oberursel old town (Altstadt) is one of the nicest places around the area. At least, this is what our out-of-town visitors always say.

Oberursel Altstadt

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