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Histories for 317th Engineer Battalion

Passing Time at Camp Eschborn
I was just thinking of some of the things we used to do with our Freizeit (free time), you know when we weren't too busy getting drunk (or other). Once or twice Jim Hensley and I would walk about two miles outside the front gate to a German shopping mall in Hochst. There was a bowling alley there and we'd go bowl a few games (just to escape the military for a few hours). There was a shwimbad (public pool) abou two s-bahn stops away in a town called Romer(?). There was a small creek you had to cross with an old Baily Bridge across. It looked like the Germans made it permanent by welding all the connections. I also remember missing the train back and walking back to Eschborn. Also, there was the Eschborn Junkyard. This was a very strange place. It was just off base, make a right as you exit the front gate. Someone told me about this place and I never needed to go there until Jim Files and I were trying to fix an old broken down Opel in the Aco parking lot. 'never really got it going well enought to pass the tough German inspectors. Anyway someone had told us about the Eschborn Junkyard, where I guess all the old American owned cars were junked in the Franfurt Military Community. Files and I went there once, this place was a trip. The guy running it was an airforce enlisted person, there all by himself, he looked like a 'hippy' in uniform, long hair, not shaved, boots not bloused, boots not shined, blood shot eyes, this was the middle of the day and it looked like he just woke up, it looked like he lived there. He was the most memorable thing about the junkyard, we didn't find the parts we were looking for. I remember thinking , what a great gig, how do you get a great job like that. I remember walking through the Ford dealership right across the street from the front gate. I remember Hensley and I tore down a banner (don't ask me why)in front of the Opel/GM dealer on the walk down to the S-bahn station. Sometimes we (usually Hensley and or Jackson(Chris) or Files) would just take the S-bahn to different towns away from Eschborn, go to the local pub and have a few beers, just to see what life was like for the locals. I remember actually trying to get to the Kronberg Castle, we took the S-4 to the last stop, and couldn't find it, 'wish we did because I've found out later it is actually a famous place. I remember that you actually see the Castle from Camp Eschborn when you looked north. One ofthe best things I ever did was taking the K-D line Criuse up the Rhine River. Fourth of July weekend 1983, soon before I left, Jackson and I got our asses out of bed and down to Romer Platz by 7am to catch the tourist boat that cruised up the Rhine river every week. This was an amazing trip, who ever missed this missed "seeing" Germany. Once we went through the locks between the Rhine and the Main river it was one amazing sight after another. There were these old medievel castles at every turn, lots of tremendous sights. We got got off othe ferry at Koblenz (just to explore). Some American tourists we met told us that the castle across from Koblenz had a ski-lift going to the top so we headed that direction. We missed the last lift to the top and ended up walking up. There was an amazing view of the Rhine from up there. There was Youth Hostel there and we got to talk to some American college students touring Europe (backpacking and staying Hostels), I remember talking to one guy who owed more than $40,000 in student loans and didn't seem to concerned about it. He had just graduated from Brown and was busy backpacking through Europe, I remember telling him that my "rich Uncle Sam" was going to pay (and for the most part, he did) for my college (we didn't tell him we were in the Army, but I think it was obvious). Some how we ended up a small town called Rudesheim. At one point after it got dark, there was a fire-works display across the Rhine. They made look like one castle was attacking the other and the Grand Finale was one of the casltes completely enveloped in smoke to simulate it being destroyed. This is the heart of German wine country and is a place where (probably the only place in Germany) you can't buy beer, only wine. So, Jackson and I "did as the Romans" and went to this restaurant and drank a couple bottles of wine. The whole atmosphere of the retaurant changed as people became more and more buzzed. Soon the everyone in the whole restaurant was a dancing 'train' through the aisles. Some girls pulled Jackson and I into the line snaking its way around the dining room(we weren't going to argue). We got pretty wrecked and thought we'd "hook-up", but didn't and we found out that the whole town starts to shut down by midnight and was ghost town by 2am, we ended up sleeping in the train station and took the morning train back to Frankfurt, we had had a great time. These were just some of the things we did to kill time on the weekend, when we got bored of the regular Sachsehausen and K-Strasse scene.

Posted by Steve Kowalski P.E.
Oct 07 2004 02:59:37:000PM

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