December 18, 2022

Tour Report: Abandoned Barges

In April of 2019, we undertook a short tour to visit a friend in the German state of Lower Saxony, and of course, we had a few locations on our list of possible explorations. The first one was an easy task - just two abandoned gravel barges that have been rotting on the bank of a flooded gravel pit near a river.

There was a public parking lot near the dike that protects the inland if there is a flood that pushes water over the riverbanks. From there, it was only a twenty-minute walk to get to the former gravel pit. The barges can be seen from the trail, and there was even a small beaten path through the reeds that made it even easier for us to reach our target. The barges are in water, but the surrounding area has silted up, so we could reach the rusting hunks of metal without getting our feet wet.

The weather was beautiful - it was pretty windy, but sunny and warm, so we took our time to stroll around and take a bunch of photos. It was one of those explores that are unspectacular regarding the target, but are made memorable by the setting in general - weather, accessibility, company, potential historical relevance etc., so we really enjoyed ourselves.

The day ended with a nice dinner and a few drinks with our friend Petra at her parents' place, while we were already pondering what to explore on the next day...

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

December 11, 2022

Tour Report: Estate House No.11

Towards the end of our tour through Eastern Germany in April of 2019, we had one more abandoned building on our list. It was an old estate house in a small farming community far away from any larger cities. As we drove up, we didn't have high hopes, because first of all, the only possibility to park was right down the street, which in these small villages is always suspicious - if you have a license plate from any place farther away than a 30-minute drive. Secondly, we could see the neighbor working in the garden, so it would have been impossible to enter the abandoned house unnoticed.

So we did what we mostly do in these case - walk up to the neighbor and start a friendly conversation. It worked perfectly! We introduced ourselves and asked him if he could tell us something about the "beautiful old house" next door, and he did. He didn't have much historical information, because he hadn't lived in the village for more than 20 years or so, but at least he knew something about the current owner. He also told us that he suspected that the place would keep deteriorating and eventually collapse at some point.

In the end we asked him, if it was okay with him if we strolled around the place and checked inside to take a few photos, and he said that he was pretty sure that the owner wouldn't mind - but he demanded that we be extremely careful due to the ramshackle condition of the house.

We promised that we were going to be careful and to tell him when we left that we were all okay. Then we started walking around the old house. We quickly found an open door, and the neighbor was right - the place was in pretty bad condition. Parts of the walls and ceilings were already collapsing, and walking on the wooden floorboards on the upper floor somehow didn't feel right. We still managed to check out the entire place. It wasn't spectacular and looked more like a farmhouse, which isn't uncommon for estate houses in smaller villages - especially because these houses were frequently used by farming combines under the socialist government of East Germany.

I still really liked the place. On the one hand because there still were some nice shots to be taken - the colors and the decay were nicely accentuated by a beautiful afternoon sun. On the other hand, the place showed once again how far you can get with a friendly, open nature and an honest interest in the stories other people have to tell.

Before we went back to the car, we made good on our promise and told the neighbor that everyone had left the building without any injuries :)

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

December 4, 2022

Tour Report: Community Center P.

Early in April of 2019, we embarked on a short tour to Eastern Germany to check out a few abandoned places. The first spot that we explored that day was an abandoned community center. It is located right next to an abandoned castle, which we had already visited a few times in the past. The community center, however, somehow eluded us for a couple of years - until that one sunny Sunday morning.

The place was easy enough to access - after we had parked the car, we just had to cross the street and walk into the building - no signs or fences tried to keep us out, and the door was open. Inside, we were greeted by a typical hall from socialist East Germany. The most striking feature was of course the old piano on the stage. We were surprised that it was still there and in - relatively - good condition. Generally, the place looked alright for at least two decades of abandonment. Of course, the vandals have had their share, but there weren't too many graffiti, so we were actually able to get a few nice photos.

Next to the main room, there was only the restroom and a small hallway, so we didn't need too much time to check everything out before we got back to the cars and drove off to the next location.

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

November 27, 2022

Tour Report: The Poetic Villa

In March of 2019, we were on the way home from a day-long excursion through the northern part of Germany, and we still had a little time and enough daylight to check out one more location. I knew about this place, but I couldn't remember seeing any photos from the inside. The abandoned villa sits on a vast plane right next to a horse farm, which is why I didn't think that we'd have any chance of checking it out, but we tried anyway. There were no inconspicuous parking spaces anywhere near, so we had to operate under the rule that "impudence wins", and we drove right up to the villa and parked right in front of it. Two local cars might look like someone was a potential buyer and looking at the place, we thought.
Now for the way in. The villa looked in great shape - no smashed windows or apparent vandalism - this might be a tough one to get into.
Or so we thought at first.
I went up to the building with little to no hope of getting in -  and the front door was open! This was a pleasant surprise :)
The good exterior condition of the villa was confirmed by the interior. There is some natural decay, but the lack of vandalism has kept most of the humidity out, so the decay is not as advanced as you would expect after more than 10 years of abandonment.
There was no furniture, and apparently, the place was cleaned of trash by an investor at some point. Still, we could imagine the former splendor of this villa where two German "poet princes" met in 1883.

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

November 20, 2022

Tour Report: The Theater of Nature

I had seen a few photos of this abandoned theater before, and when in March of 2019 the opportunity came up to visit this place during a short tour of the area, of course we took it! It is more or less a public place, and there is still hope among the people that it will be able to open it again at some point in the future.

There are parking places nearby, and there were many other people around, mostly to collect wild garlic which grows there in ample amounts. So we just had to unpack our cameras and take photos - there were no fences that we had to climb over, and no other things that might keep us from taking photos.

Solely the abandoned café right next to the theater was locked and equipped with video surveillance - a clear sign that someone still want to reopen the place. We could see through that the café was completely empty, so it wasn't interesting to photograph, and we focused on the theater - and on picking wild garlic :)

We took home an amount large enough to make a lot of delicious cream cheese - and we've been doing that every year since!

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

October 30, 2022

Tour Report: HAWK-Missile Launch Site G.

After we had checked out the old Jaguar, we only had to drive a few minutes to get to the next location - an abandoned site of the German "HAWK-Belt".
At the height of the Cold War, 36 systems of the MIM-23 HAWK - an American medium-range surface-to-air missile -  were deployed in nine anti-aircraft missile battalions (later squadrons and groups) of the German Air Force. In the NATO alliance, together with Dutch, Belgian and US units, these HAWK formations formed the so-called HAWK belt, which stretched from the Danish border across Germany to the border with Austria.
Eight of the HAWK-systems had been set up in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Most of them have been taken over by local farmers or other businesses. One has been been turned into a small amusement park with a summer toboggan.
I had explored this place once a few years earlier, and it wasn't really spectacular. We only went there, because it was close by, and it is always interesting to see how a location develops over the course of a few years.
Since there isn't really a regular place to park, we had no choice but to drive right up to the front gate and park there. The access was still the same. I don't think that it was the same hole we went through four years earlier, but that doesn't matter anyway :)
The place still looked the same, but less of it. A few buildings had been removed. I think that the buildings containing tanks had to be removed due to risk of contamination. There are quite a few farmers around, and I think they wouldn't be too happy if the groundwater was laced with gasoline or worse.
A HAWK-base isn't a huge installation, so it didn't take us too long to walk around once and go back to the car and head towards the next location.

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

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