November 21, 2020

Tour Report: Air Raid Shelter below Berlin (II)

A bird never flew on one wing. That was our thought as we exited the first air-raid shelter that our friend Toeppi had organized for us to visit. So we got on the way to fill this lack of bunkers with yet another air-raid shelter.

This second shelter was below a kindergarten, and the access tunnel was right on a municipal contruction yard. We just walked across to the offices, and Toeppi asked if he could show the bunker to us. The foreman said yes right away, and so we went straight to the heavy access door and climbed down the stairs. 

The bunker was in worse condition than the first one. Water had accumulated on the floor, so we had to step on bricks that someone had put there so we wouldn't get our feet wet. Obviously, the water had been dripping from the ceiling at various points. There were many dripstones - some hanging from the ceilings, others were on the floor, and some were even "growing" on wooden plates that were leaning against a wall. We checked out all of the eighteen rooms, and I took the opportunity to play around a bit with different colors of light before we went back up into daylight.

To check out all the photos, click the button below.

October 31, 2020

Tour Report: Air Raid Shelter below Berlin (I)

It was a pretty spontaneous decision. In June of 2018, we took a few days off and headed to Berlin for a bit of exploring.

We met up with our friend Toeppi from "Fotodokumentationen zu verlassene Pl├Ątze" who had a few fascinating locations for us to check out. Toeppi is an expert regarding the Berlin air-raid protection during World War II and has access to some bunkers that are otherwise inaccessible to the public, and so the first two spots were air-raid shelters in residential areas.

We'd never have suspected a bunker behind this small new metal door in a new brick wall next to a freshly renovated apartment block somewhere in Berlin. We waited there while Toeppi went into the office of the house management and came back out with a key. He unlocked the small door, opened it, and the familiar smell of stale, humid air filled our noses as we looked down a concrete flight of stairs into the darkness.

The bunker seems to have been used as a storage space after the war, but as far as we know, it has remained untouched for the largest part of the last sixty years or so. The old writings are still on the walls, and even the fluorescent color still worked after all these years.

With the knowledge of the intensity of the battle for Berlin towards the end of the war and the thousands of tons of explosives that were dropped on the city, it is impossible to imagine the horrors that the people had to endure when they were crammed together in tiny dark rooms a few meters below ground while they could hear the bombs explode above them.

When we came out, we were relieved to be back above the ground and in the sunlight. But the next bunker was already waiting for us.....

To check out all the photos, click the button below.

October 14, 2020

Tour Report: Grinding Shop II [Revisit]

 When we arrived at the car after exploring the cave, we had a quick snack before heading to the next - and final - location of this tour. It was a drive of about forty minutes along the western flank of the Harz mountains. The sun was shining and we enjoyed looking at the beautiful  scenery - after all, it was the middle of May and everything was green and beginning to bloom.

As we got to the location, we parked on the same public parking spot that my wife and I had used the first time a few months earlier. We got our gear out of the trunk and walked over to the about 120 year-old building. Since the place is pretty visible from the road, we hurried to get inside - luckily, the access was still the same as the first time.

I was amazed to find that nothing really had changed in the months since our first visit - something that has become increasingly rare over the past couple of years.

Our friends North Urbex and Lichtbeschatter hadn't been to this place, so they took their time to get all the shots they wanted, and I used the opportunity to get a few shots of details that I'd regretted not to have photographed the first time.

In addition, the sun was a welcome change from the last time, when it had been raining the entire day. The afternoon sun made the colors so much more vivid, and the plants outside emphasized the green moss and paint on the old machines.

Although the place is pretty small, we were in there for well over an hour before heading back to the camp to wrap up our trip :)

To find out about the history of the place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

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