Sequoia Trees in the Oberursel Forest

There are two Sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) near the Frankfurter Forsthaus located in the Oberursel forest.

If you live in the Oberursel area, enter the Rosengärtchen at the U-Bahn station An der Waldlust. Walking downhill a bit, you’ll soon see a sign pointing you to the Tierheim (animal shelter). Follow this road into the woods, pass the Tierheim, and you will soon come to and intersection and see the trees on the left side. Walking time: 20 – 25 minutes

These trees were planted around 1860. One of our international friends asked me if I knew who planted them. As of now, I have only learned that 1860 was a significant year in Europe’s history.

As these tree have been planted close to the Frankfurter Forsthaus in the Oberursel forest (closer to Oberstedten and Bad Homburg), I suppose it might have something to do with all the important people and events in Bad Homburg.

Certain events in 1960:

* Bad Homburg got connected to Frankfurt by rail.

* Emporer Wilhelm II. started using the Bad Homburg castle as his summer residence on a yearly basis.

* The Bad Homburger Kurverein was founded.

* In the year of 1860 alone, there were  275 000 Kurgäste (spa visitors) in Bad Homburg.

* The Gotische Haus (Gothic House) bordering the city limits of Bad Homburg came into possession of the  forest landgraviate( landgräfliche Forstverwaltung).

Sequoia sign in Oberursel Forest

Sequoia sign in Oberursel Forest

Oberursel Forest

Oberursel Forest

Sequoia cone and seeds

Sequoia cone and seeds

Looking for information about 1860 Deutschland, there are about 9,560,000 results. Searching for 1860 Bad Homburg, the net comes up with 126,000 results.

 Who planted these two Sequoia trees? If you know, feel free to share it here with us.

 

Journaling

Some good friends are in Weimar for the weekend, and they sent me this in the mail this morning.

While strolling around the Nationaltheater (national theater), they came across this famous quote by Oscar Wilde, glued onto the cobble stones, and then they thought of me.

Kopfsteinpflaster Weimar

Original quote: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Yes, my friends, well, anybody, always see me carry my journal around. Not only when I’m traveling, but throughout any regular day.

I use it daily. I write first thing in the morning, while the coffee is still brewing. The journal holds my to-do list, any creative ideas, Chinese fortune cookie sayings find a home with a glue stick, and so much more. It’s a great organizer for loose notes as well.

When my children were younger, and dinner service at the restaurant took a bit too long (yes, we are in Germany), I asked them to draw something in it to pass the time. That will be a nice memory to look at someday.

I started journaling in 1992, when I lived in the U.S.A. In the past 24 years, I must have filled about 40 journals or more. The journals look more like a scrap book, because I add more life in form of tickets, photos, etc. to the covers too.

I find writing very soothing. I can have a thoughtful conversation with myself. Sometimes, I’m just happy to be home and ‘visit myself’, while everyone else is out.

Until now, I have used my journals only twice to do some research. One search was for information about Japan, and the other one was looking up a certain date.

So there really isn’t any further usage once I get past the writing. But writing helps me clear my mind, set goals, and stay organized.

Whether you are an expat experiencing a new culture, or a new mom wanting to leave a lasting memory for her child, or your spouse is too bored to listen. Writing is therapeutic.

Life at the Motor Pool in Oberursel, Germany in the 1950s

Jack Stites, a former U.S. Army soldier and now a retired police officer, was stationed in Oberursel at the Motorenfabrik (Motor Pool) from January 1954 to January 1955, and he loved every minute of his time there. Now, almost 60 years later, he is here to share some memories with us.

Jack Stites in 1954

Jack Stites in 1954

1)  In what ways was Oberursel different to the places you were previously stationed?

The difference between Oberursel and other stations was that it was very low key, and like a regular job. We got up in the morning, went to roll call and then to breakfast. After P.T. we were off to our assigned jobs.

We were a Direct Auto Support. We repaired vehicles from all over Germany. When a vehicle came that needed an engine, our mechanics took the engine out and put it in a crate, then put another one in the vehicle. We just replaced engines — not overhaulling them.

I had been to 14 weeks of wheel vehicle repair at Atlanta General Depot. Then to Red River Arsenal in Texarkana, where I packed wheel bearings in trucks, which really doesn’t need any schooling. Duh.

Then to Oberursel, finally! After arriving there, they discovered that I had been a truck driver in civilian life. They assigned me to a M62 wrecker, where I evacuated vehicles that were in need of repair and brought them back to our base.  14 weeks of schooling wasted. I never touched a wrench while there. My job was to take the engines in crates to different military bases where German civilians overhauled them. I was very fortunate because I saw a lot of Germany through my job.

2) What sort of interaction was there between the Motorenfabrik and Camp King?

The only interaction with Camp King was the Post Exchange (PX).  Camp King was a military intelligence center, and we were the grease balls from down the street.

3) What were your impressions of Germans and German culture? Did you have a favorite hangout in Oberursel?

As for the German culture, it was so interesting.  For example, I had never seen leather coats, knapsacks on the school kids, and reflectors on bicycles’ pedals. These are things that we have here now. It just goes to show how far behind we are.

In regards to hang outs – at $91.30 a month, there wasn’t much hanging around. This is where I learned  poverty is no crime. It’s just a helluva inconvenience. Across the street from our building, and about a block towards Camp King, there was a bar in the basement, and we used to go there for steak sandwiches and a beer. Not much, though. Poverty ruled.

4) Is there a particular memory that you would like to share?

There was an Enlisted Members (EM) club in town. The only time that I was there was during Fasching. Bad news!! There were four of us sitting at a little round table, drinking German white wine. When we couldn’t fit another bottle on the table — empty, that is — we decided to go home. Back at the camp, I crawled up the steps to the second floor. It wasn’t pretty.

The other place was in Bad Homburg, at the Texas bar. The funniest thing that happened was at the Texas bar. Claude Wiggins, a real redneck from the south, got drunk one night, then punched out a few of the windows in the bar, cutting a large slash in his wrist which could have been fatal. In front of the bar, he asked the owner how much he owed him, then paid him. It was quite a scare!!

5) How has the town changed from the way you remember it?

As far as if the town has changed? I really can’t say. My wife says it’s really built up! I wasn’t there to compare. My wife is the traveler.

Thanks so much, Jack, for sharing your story with us.

Sledding and Skiing on the Feldberg

Back by popular demand is the answer to Where can we go sledding and skiing around here? In this case, this is from expats in and near Oberursel at the foot of the Taunus Mountains.

The state of Hessen boasts many sledding trails and the most popular ones are the hill in Falkenstein, downhill from Hohemark, Pechberg at Oberreifenberg, and at Sporthotel Erbismühle in Weilrod.

I personally prefer Oberreifenberg, but you should give the others a try too.

Oberreifenberg sledding trail

The Pechberg at Oberreifenberg has been recommended for sledding and skiing and also provides opportunities nearby for cross-country skiing and walking trails. The Pechberg is most suitable for ski beginners among the children and adults. Once you get to Waldstrasse in Oberreifenberg, you can see the little ski resort and the parking lot in Siegfriedstrasse.

There is a ski lift, which is also safe and suited for the little skiers. The sledders have their own trail.

Many families bring a little snow-picnic lunch along (hot juice or tea and sausages). There are also food vendors selling pizza and Bratwurst.

For a detailed snow update at the Pechberg (tar mountain), you can call 06081 – 442 138 for more information.

The Taunusklub lists four more skiing/sledding trails (in German) within the vicinity.