Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

My friend Debbie  has traveled the farthest for the beer balcony. She has come all the way from Lorne, Australia. In 1996, we first met here in Germany, and only again now – 20 years later. So we have quite a bit of catching up to do.

beer balcony with Debbie

Debbie J. from Lorne, Australia

Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

I had a surprise visitor passing through Oberursel, and looking me up. Yes, our beer balcony is back in order after last summer’s three-month long renovation (German style). It passed inspection.

Beer Balcony

Jeannette from Nottingham, UK

The seven ages of man:

spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills.

The New Face of the Mountain Lodge at Camp King Oberursel in June 2016

I took another walk towards Camp King around noon today. A few Mountain Lodge construction workers had not started their lunch break yet, and I heard them at work. There has been much progress on this somewhat futuristic architectural design, of which I’m not sure yet whether I like it.

Mountain Lodge Oberursel

This front-up photo shows more of its new design.

Mountain Lodge Camp King Oberursel

So you can compare – the photo below shows the Mountain Lodge in December 2013.

Mountain Lodge Oberursel

Most of the old trees are still there.

Camp King Oberursel - old tree

For some of you, the Mountain Lodge Chapel might hold a special memory. While passing, I also heard someone working out back. The last I’d heard, the nearby Montessori school was renting the chapel for its drama department lessons and performances.

Chapel at Camp King Oberursel

More photos to come again later…

From HL Markt to Handok Market in Oberursel

For many years, the HL Markt was the only one in our neighborhood. In 2001, we heard it would close soon, because a newer and bigger one would open in the new housing area ‘Camp King’. Some residents of the Rosengaertchen area signed a petition asking to keep the HL Markt open until the new one opens. By then, we had an aging population already, who had to do their shopping on foot, and quite a few of us relied on this small supermarket.

In November 2002, EDEKA Supermarket in Camp King opened its doors and the old HL Markt in the Rosengärtchen closed. Fortunately for us Asian food aficionados, the Asian market HanDok Kaufcenter 한독마트 moved in.

I used to shop at the HL Markt on a regular basis, so the photographer happened to catch me that day for the photo accompanying the article.

Closing the HL Supermarket

HL Markt Rosengärtchen – Schließung 2002

In 1995, when we moved here, German supermarket opening hours were still very limited:

Monday – Friday until 18:30 (closed for lunch) and Saturday until 13:00

Working at Camp King Oberursel in the mid-1980s

On one of the ‘Camp King Open House’ events, I ran into Lale, whom I had met in 1998, when both our sons were at the same kindergarten. At the time of the event, she told me of her employment at Camp King in the 90s. So this is her little story about how she got the job and what working there meant for civilians.

Q: You have German and American citizenship, I assume. Was it easier getting a job in Camp King with an American passport?
 
A: Actually, I only have American citizenship, because dual citizenship for Germany and the USA was not possible then (*Lale was born on U.S. soil, so the U.S. Government does not recognize dual citizenship with Germany). When we moved to Germany, my stepfather took a job with the army in Offenbach, and that’s how we got an ID card with privileges. When he returned to the USA in 1981, we had to turn in our ID cards. We were still able to enter the the military camp as long as another soldier would sign us in. We had to present our passports, nevertheless.
 
Q: When and in what position did you work at Camp King?

 

A: I was part of the cleaning staff for the military base. My favorite place to work was the gym. I was even once nominated “Employee of the Month” (Lale added, “a thorough cleaning goes a long way”, while laughing). This award made me proud in the sense of my work being appreciated. Once I was even asked to clean the top-secret underground offices. I only cleared the bins in the company of an MP. We had to leave the building immediately after that.
I can’t quite remember how long I worked there. It was only a temporary solution until I could find permanent employment. I worked there sometime in 1984.

 

Q: During your time at Camp King in 1984, what are your most memorable moments?

 

A: Oh, the fun times we had (snickering). At the former Disco ‘La Soiree’ in the Vorstadt (today: Bärenarkaden shopping center), we used to party and sometimes went back to the base to party a little bit more. Ela’s Stübchen was also a popular spot. A lot of friendships developed during that time, some in a romantic way.
Years later, in the early 90s… there was one scary moment when I saw G.I.s walking the Camp King fence with their machine pistols. This could have been the time of the Kosovo war. The soldiers, usually always friendly, were under some stress during that time. I tried to stay away from that fence as far as possible on my way to the then nearest U-Bahn station ‘Kupferhammerweg’.
It must have been during that time that leaving camp became more restricted – no entry between 2 – 5am.
Some went out nevertheless and then we just partied till 5am, when the gates opened again.

 

Q: In those years you mentioned, 1984 to early 90s, did you live close to Camp King? Did you hear the daily reveille calls? Some German neighbors found this annoying.
 
A: Unfortunately, I can’t remember this. Our apartment was facing the Feldberg Mountain, and so it was relatively quiet. But I do remember loudspeakers all over the camp. There were also announcements made throughout the day, but I can’t remember about what.
 
Q: You had mentioned a plain building near the tennis courts? Was this a special place?
 
A: Right between the tennis courts and the motor park, there was this square building, made of cement, and I believe it housed the computer server and all the equipment. Once I had to cover my colleague’s shift and my task was to clean the bins and this had to be carried out in the presence of a civil servant.
Thanks, Lale, for sharing this with us.
Ela’s Stübchen in the Henchenstraße has been closed for a few years. I was there once, it might have been 2010, and then it was called the Schnitzel Haus by some friends.