February 28, 2021

Tour Report: Sanatorium "Grand Duchess"

After we'd explored the abandoned recreation home that we'd found by accident, we moved on to the location that we'd originally planned - an abandoned sanatorium. Built more than 120 yeas ago, the place promised to be an exciting explore in both historical and architectural aspects.

It was only a few minutes drive from the recreation home which - as far as I know - had been a part of the sanatorium after World War II. Of course, there were no regular parking spots, so we had to find us a place somewhere between the cars of the local residents. We found one a bit down the street, which was good because standing in front of an abandoned place with a license plate from a city about 600 kilometers away is not the best thing to do if you want to keep a low profile.

We walked a bit up the hill to get to the old sanatorium which really was a sight for sore eyes. It was a beautiful day - mostly sunny and partly cloudy, which always makes for a nice atmosphere. There was no wind, so we could hear the crickets in the grass as we started looking for a way in. We walked around the building following one of the many trails through the vegetation surrounding the building. It only took us a few minutes to find an entrance. This entrance seemed to be frequently closed with OSB plates and then opened again by someone else. Upon entering, we saw a hand-written note - possibly put there by the owner or some sort of caretaker. The note said something along the lines of "If you feel that you have to enter this place, at least don't leave your trash and don't spray things on the walls!".

We started exploring the building, and we found that a lot of people obviously didn't follow the note - there was a lot of graffiti and a lot of leftovers from various parties that happened in the place. It was kind of disappointing, since in the absence of any furniture or original decoration, the architecture - the staircases, windows and long hallways - were the only thing (next to the outside) that made this location beautiful. There were a lot of graffiti, however. And I'm not talking about beautiful, artistic graffiti, but only stupid slogans, tags or penises...as I said - it was a bit disappointing.

We walked through the entire place, and I did take a couple of photos, but not as many as I usually would have in a location this size.

After about an hour and a half, we went back to the car, drove back to the hotel, went shopping for groceries and started looking for a restaurant for dinner.

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

February 13, 2021

Tour Report: Recreation Home "Castle"

As we drove through the wilderness of Eastern Germany on the way to an abandoned sanatorium during our summer vacation in 2018, we came across this former recreation home sitting on the slope of a densely forested mountain.

Finding a place to park, however, proved a bit difficult on this one. The place is situated on a heavily frequented county road and only has a small access road going up the hill. Only the entrance to this road was wide enough for us to park and still leave enough room for possible forest workers that do tend to show up once in a while to cut down trees and who might get mad if they find their access blocked.

So we parked as close to the main road as we could to leave as much room as possible, which meant that the passing cars were speeding right by us with only a few centimeters in between. Not a nice feeling. we hurried up to get our gear together and walked up the small, leaf-covered road until we reached the old castle-style building.

The foundations of the place were made of large stones, so it even more looked like a castle, but we saw a lot of trash lying around, and many of the windows were walled up tightly, which didn't give much hope for the rest of this explore. As we reached the entrance, we found it open - but it obviously was being walled up over and over, only to be opened again by vandals or teenagers (the latter supported by our finding lots of empty liquor bottles, beer cans and disposable barbecue grills).

We entered through the hole in the wall that once was the main door and found the place inside just as trashed as the outside. The building was pretty much gutted. Except for the architecture, the arched windows and some old wooden appliances, nothing showed the former glory of this once popular recreation home. A fire has destroyed the staircase, so there was no way to get to the upper floors, and we left after taking only a few photos to document the place.

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

February 5, 2021

Tour Report: The Movie Castle

This abandoned castle has been used as a backdrop for a series of children's movies in Germany, and since you can legally visit it, it is in great condition and pretty well-known in the urbex "community". And so it had been on our list of places to visit for more than a few years, when in August of 2018, we got the opportunity when the castle was right on the way between two places where we were staying during our summer vacation. So we called up the caretaker a few days before and set a date and time for us to come by.

It was one of the hottest days of the year. As we drove south from the Harz mountains, the temperature constantly climbed until it reached a solid 41,5°C (177°F). Thank God for air conditioned cars! When we parked the car under some trees near the castle and opened the doors, we were hit in the face by a wall of heat. It was so hot that we didn't really want to get out of the car - but after all, there was the castle waiting for us...so we grabbed our gear and walked towards the arched door leading into the courtyard.

We were greeted by the caretaker and his wife. The wife was really friendly and made a bit of smalltalk as we paid the "visitor's fee", while the caretaker himself was a really grumpy guy. He walked from his chair to a riding mower, signaled us to follow him and then drove about maybe forty meters to a side door of the castle. He almost crashed the thing into the door and without even getting up, he put the key in the keyhole and unlocked the door. Then he backed up the mower and drove back forty meters to his chair.

We had hoped that because of the thick walls it would be at least a bit cooler inside the castle - but we were so wrong. It had been really hot in the region for weeks, and so the castle did have a lot of time to really heat up, so it was less than enjoyable. But the castle sure made up for the unpleasant temperature. Rarely have we seen such beauty and craftsmanship, and although some parts of the castle have been changed a little for the movies, you an still imagine what the place must have looked like in its day.

We first walked through the entire castle without camera, just to see everything and make a bit of a plan where to start. After that, we spent about three hours walking through the place and photographing every room.

As we were finished, we took our mandatory selfie - with to this day is one of my favorite selfies - packed our stuff, locked the door and gave back the key. It was still hot as hell outside, but the prospect of getting back into the air-conditioned car and driving to the next destination - where there would be cold drinks - gave us the boost we needed :)

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

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