Brunnenfest in Oberursel, 2018

Oberursel’s Brunnenfest (Fountain Festival) runs from Friday, 25 May until Monday, 28 May (with fireworks at 10pm).

The city is often referred to as the Brunnenstadt (Brunnen: fountain, spring, well), because it is home to more than 60 fountains, springs, and wells.

AllThingsGerman has more details in English, such as information about road closures, where driving restrictions will apply in the town center, where there will be ‘no-parking’ in some parts of the town, and which roads will be closed temporarily for the run on Sunday morning.

Fasching Parade and Taunus Karneval 2018 in Oberursel

If you are a newcomer to Germany and/or the city of Oberursel, you might be interested in watching this cultural (and pagan) event downtown Oberursel on 11 February 2018.

Fasching (also known as Fastnacht or Karnival) begins on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 a.m. every year. The real festivities begin the day after Epiphany (6th January), when Fasching enthusiasts gather at local parties held throughout various public halls in the city.

The high-light happens on Fasching Sunday, this year being on the 11 February, when around 120 splendidly decorated cars and wagons pass through the city. The tour starts at 14:11 at the Rahmtor (old city gate at the market square), and runs for about two hours. Watch out for road blocks, and detours. Most people walk there or take public transportation.

People line the streets to return the Helau* greeting from the cars, and children are eager to catch the candy thrown from the cars. Adults might have a Schnaps (German hard liquor), while standing there. Children usually bring bags to carry their candy home. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella – even on a sunny day. The umbrella, held upside down, will not only protect your head from getting hit hard by the candy, but it also serves as a convenient candy catcher.

From the archives: Fasching Parade in Steinbach, Germany

Finding a parking spot will be difficult that Sunday afternoon. Also, the local pubs and restaurants will be packed with customers starting around 4pm.

So, you should either dress up, and join the lively activities, or stay away from downtown Oberursel.

Thousands of people from neighboring towns, including Frankfurt, come to watch this spectacle.

If you are going to watch the parade, remember to bring your:

  • smart phone or camera
  • one umbrella per adult (to shield from the rain or flying candy, or both)
  • bags to carry home the candy
  • Schnaps (in a medium-sized bottle), in case the weather is nasty. To make friends, make sure to share it with the others. Bring some shot glasses. Great conversation starter.

More about this sponsored event in photos, etc.: Taunus Karneval

* Helau stands for ‘Hello!’, ‘Hurrah!’ or simply put: ‘I’m having fun!’

You can go there dressed up or in plain clothes. Enjoy the parade.

Snowfall in Jiangsu Province, China

A friend of mine, Reiner Gehles, has been living near Taicang in the Jiangsu Province for almost seven years. He got to experience a rare snowfall (the climate is usually temperate in winter), and gave me permission to share his most wonderful photos here.

This well-known Grand Canal runs through the entire province from north to south.

 

 

The Current State of Mainberg Castle

A stateside reader, who plans on visiting Mainberg Castle this summer, inquired about its current state and whether the castle would be open to the public.

Based on various sources in the media, the castle is in urgent need of repair and restoration. The current owner, the real estate agent Ms. Renate Ludwig, bought the castle in 2005. She and her initial partners were in the process of running a restaurant there, until fire safety regulations deemed the castle not safe enough.

Now the castle is for sale on the internet, but there is no private investor to be found.

Price: € 3.850.000 €
Lot size: 15.646 m² (168.400 ft²)
Floor space: 4.716 m²  (50.700 ft²), 50 rooms

Interested? Then view: Mainberg Castle for Sale

 In November 2017, the State of Bavaria authorized public funds of euro 700.000 to provide immediate help as the castle has been classified to be in danger of collapse.

At first, a team of experts checked to see if the deterioration stemmed from the underground tunnel, which was built during the Sachs Family reign during WWII. Their results further stated, that the tunnel itself would  not be the main cause of a possible impending collapse. Wear and tear of a 700-year-old castle does run its course.

In 1915, the industrial tycoon Ernst Sachs bought the castle. Then from 1954 – 1960, the castle was owned by Wilhelm Heger, until it had to be auctioned off. The city of Schweinfurt bought it then and in 1982, it changed hands again. This time, the castle was owned Gerhard Eichhorn & heirs, until the current owner bought it in 2005.

Efforts are made to save the castle from its ruin. I wish the state funds would have been available sooner.

The current renovation is supposed to be finished by the summer 2018. Since we are in Germany, please add another two years for completion.

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