September 17, 2019

Tour Report: Soviet Communications Bunker

As I've announced in my last post, there was more to the Soviet garrison than the garrison itself. A bit detached from the main area we discovered a rather large bunker.
It was a communications bunker that had nothing to do with the main garrison, but was a completely different location.
The Soviets had their bases separated into various sectors with different secrecy and security levels. The system was so effective that soldiers working in one sector never knew what was going on in the other sectors. This enabled the Soviets to have facilities of different security clearance in relative proximity to each other and using the same infrastructure.
This particular bunker was one of the main hubs for communication of the Soviet army in Germany with the command in Moscow and has an effective surface area of almost 800 square meters.

To reach the bunker, we had to stray a bit off course and walk for a while until we reached the main entrance. It had been filled in with sand to seal it at some point, but of course, someone had burrowed through and made a way in.
We had to crawl a little, but we found the bunker in pretty good condition. Of course, copper thieves had been at work here, but the overall state of the bunker really was okay. It was a really cool place to explore, and I do hope for the opportunity of a revisit sometime soon!

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

Here's a short video we made during our explore of this interesting relic from the cold war:

And here are some of the photos I took. Remember, it was completely dark so we had to work with flashlights :)

September 14, 2019

Tour Report: The City in the Woods

For the second day of our urbex tour through the Northeastern part of Germany back in November of 2017, my wife and I had planned something big. Well, for us it was. We were going to explore one of the largest Soviet garrisons in Eastern Germany. During the Cold War, more than 15.000 Soviet soldiers and civilian personnel were stationed here, so the place is actually way too large to be explored on one day in late November.
But we wanted to at least check it out; it had been on our list too long!

We got picked up early by our friend Torsten from North Urbex. The ride took a little more than two hours, and we arrived at our destination a few minutes before ten in the morning.
Our parking place was near the outer perimeter of the oold garrison, and we had to walk the rest of the way - about three kilometers on a straight road right into the woods.
It took us about twenty-five minutes to walk to the first buildings. We had a map of the garrison, so we were able to find certain buildings that we wanted to visit first without having to search for a long time - very valuable if you only have a few hours of sunlight.

We made a plan to cover as much ground as possible in the time we had and started out at the kindergarten/school of the garrison. From there, we made our way to the theater, the large gymnasium and the mess hall.
We checked out the laundry house, went past the water works and the storage bunkers for nuclear weapons that were stored here in the late 1950s/early 1960s and in the 1980s, until we got to a very large communications bunker that we also had on our list. This bunker wasn't part of the garrison, so I'll be covering it in my next post here.

As the sun started to set, we began walking back toward the car. After all, you don't want to meet a sounder of wild boars in a forest when it's dark.
We had done everything right - as we arrived at the car, it was pitch dark. We checked the GPS, and we had walked about sixteen kilometers during the few hours we were there - and there still was a large part of the area that we hadn't covered.
I do hope that we'll get the chance to go there again soon - before more parts are demolished and renaturated.
It was an amazing explore - a very interesting historical location, perfect weather and great company. And in addition, we didn't meet another soul. Being alone in a place like this is always a very special feeling for me.
Below you'll find a few photos from the garrison; I'll show the large bunker in the next post, so stay tuned!!

To check out all the photos from this amazing place and to find out about its history, click the button below.

September 7, 2019

Tour Report: Command Post W43

Over the past couple of years, my wife and I have established kind of a tradition to take a week-long vacation at the end of November. Due to the Christmas season, it's the last opportunity in the year for her to take a couple of days off.
In November of 2017, we were going to take a trip to visit our friend Petra. We had planned to stay at her house for four nights, spend the evenings cooking and drinking together while my wife and I were going to go exploring during the day.
The first day of our tour was a Wednesday. Since it was the travel day, and we wanted to arrive in daylight, we had only planned to explore two locations along the route. Both of them were command posts built by the former East German People's Army (NVA).
We left home at around ten in the morning and drove about two hours before we got anywhere near the first location. Judging by the coordinates, it should have been easy to reach the place - there were, however, some one-way streets that the GPS didn't know and in addition to that, there was some construction being done on other roads, so it took us about ten kilometers to get to a spot only a few hundred meters away...
As we arrived, everything looked good at first, but when we got closer, we saw that we weren't going to have a chance at entering.
The area had been split in two parts - one was being used as a paintball range, and the other part was guarded by dogs. I called the owner of the paintball range, but he didn't want us to enter his premises, and he also said that entering the dog kennel next door wouldn't be wise...

So we left this place somewhat disappointed. At least we knew that e didn't have to return to try again.
And there still was the second location we had on our list.
That one was going to get tricky. We only had vague coordinates, and the bunker itself was buried underground in a forest area. As we were on the way, it started raining. And it didn't look like it was going to stop.
Based on the coordinates of the bunker, I had checked for a place to park that was somewhere near what I thought was probably the former access road for the command post. As we arrived, we found the parking spot right away - right opposite an old barrier that blocked the old path.
The rain hadn't stopped, so next to our gear, we took rain capes and umbrellas with us to at least try to stay dry.
Since we didn't have a clue where exactly the bunker was, we tried to proceed systematically and first tried the visible paths that we could find. They all led nowhere, and we had to take some detours, because it had been raining the days before which had turned parts of the forest into a muddy mess.
While we were still searching, the rain got worse, and we were about to give up. I just wanted to try the last path that we hadn't checked yet.
After a few hundred meters, we discovered a first small bunker which was either used as guard post or to accommodate part of the personnel.

We regained hope - in spite of the ever-increasing rain...
As we proceeded, a shape began to emerge between the trees. We had found the main bunker! Now we only had to find a way in.
The whole thing had apparently been sealed at some point in the past, but copper thieves had removed the earth covering the entrance, so we were in!!

My wife was a bit skeptical regarding the entry, but the fact that she'd have to be standing alone in the rain until I'd finished the explore convinced her after all, and we entered.
At that moment, I realized that I had forgotten my tripod. I was carrying the umbrella, so there was that familiar feeling in my hand, which is why I hadn't noticed until the moment of truth, so to speak...
Well, no HDR photos, but I didn't care. We had found the bunker after about one and a half hours of searching the forest in the pouring rain - I was happy as a clam.

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

Here's a short video we made of our explore of this interesting relic from the cold war:

And here are some of the photos I took. Remember, it was completely dark so we had to work with flashlights :)

September 1, 2019

Tour Report: Rusty McBoatface

I had gotten a tip regarding the remains of an old brick port somewhere in the Northeastern part of Germany. A friend of mine showed me photos of an old rusty barge withering away between the trees, and I was convinced that I had to go check it out.
When we were on our tour with Nordgriller urbex back in October of 2017, we put the old barge on the list. It was pretty close to the railway bridge, so we planned it as our final spot for the day - and hoped for a sunny afternoon...
We weren't disappointed. I had gotten the coordinates for the barge as well as coordinates for a parking spot nearby. Nearby in  this case meant that we still had to walk for what felt like about forty-five minutes through the forest until we got to the barge.
The way was okay, though. It was a path that seemed to be used fairly often by dog walkers and the people living in the area. It led along a small channel that had been the connection from the brick port to the next larger river, so it already was part of our "historical" route towards the old ship.
After all - a lot of the bricks that were produced here and transported along this route were used to build the beautiful "Speicherstadt" (warehouse district) of Hamburg.
On the path along the channel, we also crossed the remains of an old bridge. The bridge itself was gone, but we still could see the abutments. Judging by the vegetation following the bridges remains, it used to be a railway bridge that was used to transport bricks and/or materials from and to the brickyard.
After a while, we reached the remains of the brick port. The brickyard itself had been torn down long before our visit and turned into a solar plant, so next to the old barge, only a few walls of the brick port remain and pay witness to the once busy industrial facility.
As we arrived, the sun began to set, and the scenery was filled with a beautiful light.
We took our time and walked around to get the barge from every possible angle before starting our walk back through the forest.
This really was a worthwhile location, and we really enjoyed this short trip!

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

August 27, 2019

Tour Report: Railway Bridge D.

This one is more a monument than an abandoned place, but we were in the area and thought it might be a good place to visit and take some photos.
The drive from the abandoned garrison that we had visited first took about 45 minutes, during which the sky above us became completely clear of clouds. As we arrived at the old railway bridge, that had been a symbol for the German separation, we found a place to park right away. There is a free public parking lot pretty close to the bridge itself.
The bridge used to be more than 1.000 meters long before half of it was destroyed during World War II, so it was a very impressive structure, even as we were still relatively far away.
We took our photos, and I got a bit annoyed that there were no clouds in the sky. A clear blue sky without any clouds looks boring in most photos - but at least it wasn't raining ;)
The fortified bridgehouse was surrounded by scaffolding after Dutch investors bought the bridge and are in the process of securing and renovating it.
Of course, we slipped through the construction fence to get a closer look. There was a slippery, muddy slope that we had to climb in order to get up to the bridgehouse, but we managed and got to enjoy the view along the railway bridge to the other (East German) side of the River Elbe.
Towards the end of our exploration, we walked across the grasslands and admired the massive bridge piers that keep the steel construction on top in place.

The old bridge is definitely worth a visit, and since it is a monument, I can share the location:

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

August 24, 2019

Tour Report: Border Troops H.

Back in late October of  2017, we went for a day of exploring with our friend Freddy from Nordgriller Urbex. The days were getting shorter, so we decided for a couple of spots that were only about two hours away from our hometown, so we'd have enough sunlight to take our photos.
As Freddy picked us up early in the morning, the sun was just coming up, and the weather looked perfect for a tour.
For the first spot, we only had to drive to the border where Germany had been separated until 1990. For fear that NATO might start an attack on the Eastern Bloc, the East German military had set up a chain of garrisons along the entire border. These were manned by the "Grenztruppen" (Border Troops), a military formation tasked with securing and controlling the state border.
Most of the garrisons that I have seen were standardized facilities with accommodation and office building, vehicle garages, dog kennels and a small bunker for storing ammunition. This one was no different.
As we drove past the place, we noticed that it was not secured in any way; the gate was wide open, and there were no signs of any use - except for dumping trash. Many abandoned former military installations in Eastern Germany are being used by the locals for dumping all types trash. It was the same here. Old electric appliances and tires were lying around as well as various plastic bags of unknown content.
Entering the place was as easy as we'd suspected. All the doors were open, and we could walk around as we pleased.
Of course, the copper thieves have made a mess of the place over the years - but surprisingly enough, there weren't too many signs of the local youth using this place for hanging out. There were hardly any graffiti and/or leftovers from parties.
The place wasn't too interesting, but we got a few nice photos out of it in the end - and another green pin on our map ;)
After about 90 minutes or so, we left and went back to the car to drive to the next spot we'd planned for the day.

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

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