Winter Impressions from the Rhön Mountains in Germany

These photos were taken by a friend of mine, Reiner Gehles. He took a trip to the Bischofsheim i.d. Rhön area this past weekend, and came back with this beautiful shots. I have his friendly permission to post them here.

Germany can be so beautiful when covered in snow. Recently, our winters have been fairly mild though. But with La Niña heading our way this week, more snow is anticipated. This means more photo opportunities!

Bischofsheim i.d. Rhön is located in northern Bavaria (Reiner and I both hail from that part of Germany). The small town lies at the base of the Kreuzberg, the ‘Sacred Mountain of the Franconians’.

Bischofsheim i.d. Rhön

Let the music play. The oak bench reads Rhönbauernbuam (only the letter R is visible here), which stands for Rhön farmer boys.

Not only the mountain is sacred to the Franconians.

“Snow softens the world, and for a moment covers the grime and ugliness that characterizes most of the winter world in the city” (quoted by my friend Gar)

Here is my favorite one of all. This is the Snow Queen of all snow photos I have ever seen.

For more information about this corner of Germany, visit: Bischofsheim Info/English

Thanks again, Reiner, for sharing these photos.

For a model of the old-fashioned wooden sled, visit https://amzn.to/2XtdyZd.

Snowy Oberursel in December 2010

It seems our winters are getting milder, and with fewer chances of snow, so are the snow photo opportunities.

This one I took in December 2010. That winter was a good one. We were the only ones in our apartment building (8 parties) to have a snow shovel, and ours was in high demand.

Of course, snow shovels had already sold out.

Snow in Oberursel, 2010

The Significance of Keeping Order – German Style

Germans are known to be orderly. Whether we truly are or not can only be based on personal experience. My husband will tell you we are. And he claims to suffer from it… 🙂

The forest workers have been very busy for the past few years. Storms, parasites, and extreme heat have taken its toll on the forest. But this stack of trees near our home was a good reminder of how we supposedly are. Orderly.

For some interesting observations from an expat to Germany, visit: BBC – What Makes Germans so Orderly

When I saw this neatly stacked pile of wood, it just warmed my heart, gave me a sense of pride, and put a smile on my face.

Oberursel Forest

I would even take it a step further, and claim Germans have national pride for this sense of order. More so than for the German flag, as we only use it when it comes to soccer championships and the likes. On national holidays, we do not display the flag. Instead, we clean up.

We are proud when our garden is tieded, the grass has been mowed, our car has been washed, the flower boxes are neatly arranged, the windows have been washed, and the sidewalks swept.

Keeping things orderly might be our own ‘national flag’.

Taking Walks around Oberursel, Germany in April 2020

Taking walks around our residential area and the nearby forest has become my daily routine. With self-isolation and social distancing, it is good to be able to still go out and about.

This morning, I saw many joggers and people using their phone in the forest. Social distancing and domestic friction brings people into the forest to call a friend in privacy. It seems the forest is a good place to air oneself. 🙂

Here are some photos of places which have not changed during COVID-19.

The U3 is waiting for its departure at the end of the Hohemark line.

U3 Hohemark line

It is usually ‘Coffee To Go’, and food for take out, but the principle is the same. Restaurants and bistros are eager to stay afloat. Currently, 70.000 hotels and restaurants face bankruptcy.

One of the many walks we can take around the area – this one highlights the Celtic walking tour.

Heidetränke Oppidum Keltenrundweg in Oberursel

We walked all the way to the end of the town limits, which is heading towards Schmitten.

This must have been put up just a few weeks ago as it reflects the current situation.

Heading back into Oberursel, we are reminded of the town’s sister cities.

Spring Time in Germany in April 2020

Thanks to social distancing during COVID-19, I get to live a very different life. This special time also has its good sides, and I find many things to be grateful for.

We live in an area close to the forest, and within the social distancing frame, taking walks for pleasure is still permissible. The cherry trees are blooming, we’ve had sunny weather, and I’ve had many chances to get out and about.

Spring time in Oberursel

Even in the midst of a green leafed forest, if you happen to look up in the right spot, you can spot a cherry tree just as tall as the others. I would assume it was 10-15m in height.

I have the extra time to take morning walks, often with a friend on my side. I’ve noticed more Germans being friendly and saying hello while passing.

On a different note, once, we saw a female jogger heading our way. When she was about 10 m away from us, she suddenly left the way and ran into the forest, hopped on a tree stump, and stood there, as if she was getting ready for a ski jump. We passed by her, continued walking, and then turned around to watch her run off again. This was the most overcareful measure of safety precaution I had ever seen. This will remain rather unforgettable.

I know, some people are burdened by fear and anxiety because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Fortunately, I’m not one of them. I will make do with what I have, and enjoy it: a good sense of humor, wine in the bottle, and a good friend on my side.

A euphemistic term for this period of slowing down in German is:

die Entschleunigung.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

– Anne Bradstreet (Writer, Poet, First woman to be published in Colonial America)

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