Important Hessentag Information

The school has just forwarded this useful information regarding the Hessentag, the traffic and transportation situation in the town of Oberursel, and a few highlights of the event.
Even though the content is related in some parts only to FIS, this information might also benefit all other English speakers in our area.

1. Traffic closures
During Hessentag, areas of Oberursel have been broken down into zones. Depending on the zone, traffic is either fully or partially prohibited. The red zones will only be accessible by car between 8 – 20 June from 6:00 – 9:30 in the morning. Please note that the red zone is closed off three days longer than the duration of the event!

The other colored zones are accessible from 10-19 June only with a special permit, which is generally only available to residents of that area.  This means that parents from outside of Oberursel will not be able to drive through the center of Oberursel to get to school.  For a map of the various zones, click here.

2. Access to FIS

FIS will be accessible via the Hohemark Strasse between the Lahn Strasse and B455 exit Hohemark.
• Please be aware that there will be increased traffic, congestion and a longer driving time to get to school from 9-20 June.
• The school parking lots of the Primary School, including the one across the street, as well as on the Waldlust campus will be completely closed after school on Friday, 17 June until Monday morning, 20 June, for the Hessentag parade.
3. Public transportation
We encourage all visitors to the town center to use public transportation, which will take one to the edge of the Altstadt.  All other traffic within the Altstadt is restricted to pedestrians.

• The U-Bahn and S-Bahn will be running every 15 minutes for the duration of Hessentag. The best U-Bahn access to the center of town is the stop “Oberursel Altstadt”.
• The bus lines 41 and 42 will not be able to drive through town as usual and will thus be split into separate routes above and below the closed off areas. They will travel on a 30-minute schedule. Bus 42A also goes from FIS (departs 13 and 43 after the hour) to the Brüder Winter Strasse, but NOT on the day of the Hessentag parade, 19 June.

4. Parking at Hessentag
There are two huge parking lots available during the event. For a look at their location, see P1 and P2 on this map.
• P1, which is accessible only from the Frankfurter Landstrasse, is closer to the Altstadt, but is still a 20-minute walk away.
5. FIS participation at Hessentag
A number of FIS-related events will take place during Hessentag. Click here for a map.
• 10-18 June – 10:00-19:00; Activity tent on the Königsteiner Strasse/Corner Füller Strasse; Student, parents and teachers will offer various activities to the Hessentag guests. For a detailed look at the events, click here.
• 16 June – 17:00-19:20; FIS 50th Anniversary Performing Arts Showcase; ES and US students will demonstrate their creative talents on the Thomas Cook International Stage on the Bleiche. Parents can park at school and take public transport downtown, but  please note that the school closes at 22:00.

• 19 June: 13:00; Hessentag Parade through the Altstadt with a pedestrian group of FIS students and staff dressed in national costumes.

6. Hessentag Highlights
The full program is available in German here.
The school has also put a short list of some events together that do not require language skills. That information can be found here.

Jeff Jarvis – A German Paradox

When I listened to Jeff Jarvis’s talk on Schlossblog- ein Geburtstag (a blog written by a non-conformist German who dares to blog!), I had to think back of all the encounters I had when I started blogging.

There were questions such as Why would you do that? and What do you get out of it? Forget the monetary aspect, I am in for the show. I like to report good things in town such as the Irish Pub in Oberursel as well as negative experiences such as Doctors’ Discontent in Medical Fees in Bad Homburg.

It was funny to hear Jeff talk about how Germans publicly exhibit their private parts, such as in a sauna or on the balcony, but strongly refuse the openness of the internet. He also pointed out that there are relatively few German bloggers.

Why would Germans be so open about showing off their private body parts but not their mindset? Jarvis believes it has nothing to do with the Stasi Zeit, but with the German culture. Keeping things to yourself is not about privacy, but a matter of control.

Personally, I have always wondered why the newly built townhouses in our neighborhood have such high fences for a relatively tiny yard. Well, without such a high fence, we passerby could be looking in and see what they are doing while they are striving for Ruhe und Ordnung. On the other hand, I have seen many homes in the U.S. where you would not want to block the view so as NOT to miss who is passing by.

Germans ask for transparency from firms, conglomerates (and the Vatican), but privately this is a different matter. Sharing knowledge via internet and helping others is uncool. They know knowledge has value and are therefore reluctant to share it on the net as writers could: lose face, cause envy, and seem pretentious.

I know many elderly Germans who go out of their way to help me get some information, but to do so via the net is unusual, especially by Germans in my age group, the baby boomers.

Just ask any of your German friends to leave a comment on your blog – this seems worse than going for a job interview.

I am glad somebody like Jeff Jarvis has finally put this whole enigma into words and ideas.

In the beginning, Jeff Jarvis apologized for not giving this talk in German (bear with the German introduction…) Nevertheless,  it will still take another generation of young Germans to adjust to the modern world. I have stated this before in my lectures I gave about reunification in Germany while living in Japan.

Germans are slow to change, and very habitual. Their way of going public might be word of mouth, gossip, and … showing private parts.

Listen to Jeff Jarvis’s talk on A German Paradox (scroll down a bit).

I have been walking for more than 45 years

In the past friends and family had been after me to get my driver’s license. New friends acted surprised to hear I live without a car, but yet I have so much fun. I have a big network, and I am always out in my free time – on foot.

I learned how to drive while I lived in the States and also got my driver’s license for $12.50. I guess my driving was not really worth more than that anyway. My husband had to teach me and I remember my mother-in-law’s warning that even the best of marriages end up in divorce after driving lessons from the spouse. We survived this trying time…

Later on I even taught a young Japanese girl how to drive near our farm where we only used deserted country roads. For the best of me I could not figure out why she always swerved to the left side of the road while driving. Ignorant as I was, I did not know there was left-side traffic in Japan. And she did not know enough English to tell me about it. We survived that one, too. As a matter of fact, she outgrew me when years later she traveled by car from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States.

Even though I traveled on the busy highway East 140 towards Baltimore every morning to get to my job in Finksburg, I did not become a very experienced driver during that year. And most of all – I did not enjoy driving.

When we moved to Germany, we ended up in a very convenient location with daily necessities such as bank, supermarket, kindergarten, school, train station, bus station etc. – all in walking distance. Why would I need a car? My friends would argue that I might need one in case of an emergency –

Is that so? Then I would call the ambulance for € 20 or a taxi for € 40. This is still a lot cheaper than the purchase of a car, maintenance, gas, and insurance premiums.

Now I am even happier for not having followed my friends’ unsolicited advice. Why put more cars on the road with the current status of energy? One of my friends bought an ethanol driven car, which seemed to be more environmentally conscientious. Based on this article The Clean Energy Scam in TIME magazine, though, all this could be some kind of humbug.

I’d rather keep on walking – it is good exercise, free of charge, good for the environment, and more sociable. I get to see things I would miss while driving. I get to talk to people instead of just waving at them through the window. And lots of walking is good for the shoe industry. Knock on wood – so far I have never caused an accident as a pedestrian, either. I love the freedom of walking and not having to rely on a car.

Public transportation is around the corner and if need be I take the U-Bahn (train).

From the time I learned to walk, I have been on my feet – except for this one year in the U.S.A. This totals more than 45 years.

How long have you been walking?

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