A sponsored walk to Oberstedten and back

The starting point for the sponsored walk near OberstedtenLast Sunday saw a flurry of activity in the woods between the northern end of Oberursel and nearby Oberstedten.  Several hundred children and parents from the local Waldorf school were holding a sponsored walk to raise money for a school  in South Africa.

Although the school itself borders on the area, the start was actually located some distance away in the woods itself – signs led those like myself who had gone to the school instead from the gates along a trail to get there.

Once at the check-in point, the walk itself took a circuit that was about 1 km long, with the walkers being sponsored on a per-lap basis.  Over 300 people were expected to take part.

The sponsorship money raised will be put to use in a project at the Dassenberg Waldorf School in South Africa who have had a partnership with the school in Oberursel for the past 15 years. [Read more…]

Oberursel’s swimming pool problem

Oberursel’s swimming pool is one of the most discussed topics in the town, after the Hessentag.

For many years, one of its problems had been that the pool was either open as an indoor pool (Hallenbad) or an outdoor one (Freibad), but as far as I know not as both at the same time.  This meant that if there was a bad summer, the ticket receipts could be severely affected.

Oberursel's old swimming pool building

Oberursel's old swimming pool building, closed since September 2008

But it was with the closure of the indoor pool in September 2008 that the real problems started.  After the collapse of the roof of a public ice rink in southern Germany, many towns commissioned studies of their public buildings to ensure that they did not suffer the same fate during the winter months, which appeared to be receiving more snow from year to year.

Oberursel’s roof was deemed too unsafe for public swimming, and the indoor pool has not been open since. [Read more…]

When England play football against Germany…

If you mention the word “football” to most Germans, then being English you are liable to be involved in a discussion about that goal.

Yes, the goal that took England 3-2 up against West Germany in extra time of the World Cup final at Wembley in 1966 thanks to a decision by a Russian linesman that most German football supporters have been disputing ever since.

German football fan - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / gubh83One lesser known fact about that match is that Helmut Haller who scored the first goal for Germany kept the ball, as is the tradition here, rather than Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick and by English tradition should have been allowed to keep it.  Haller returned the ball 30 years later.

But once you get past discussing whether it was a goal or not, the self-proclaimed German football experts like to remind you how often England have gone on to lose against their team, especially the last match at the old Wembley stadium and World Cup qualifier in 2000.

So it’s worth reminding them that in the return match in Munich in 2001 England beat them 5-1 – one of the worst ever defeats for the German national team – at which point the subject is usually quickly changed.

The strange thing is that the Germans actually like playing against the English side.  They even look forward to it, and call it one of the “classic” international games.

This week England and Germany were both playing to qualify for the second round of the World Cup in South Africa.  I was in Cologne and able to observe how many German fans were supporting England during their match.  They wanted them to get through to the next round.  They wanted to play them next.

There is, of course, no doubt about which team they will be supporting tomorrow evening, although I have heard the opinion expressed that they would rather lose to England now than to Argentina in the quarter final (with the added bonus of seeing another “classic”: England v Argentina).

I on the other hand will hopefully be cheering at the opposite moments to the rest of our building, and looking forward to further discussions and analysis with my clients in the coming week, however the game turns out.

When I was asked this week for my prediction, I always gave a diplomatic answer: “It’ll go to penalties”.

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