The LDLR is a charity 24 hour endurance mountain bike race held annually around the time of the Summer Solstice, and as it’s just up the road from us I thought I’d drop in and snap a few pics with my trusty, dusty DSLR.
When Albert Speer, Architect of the Third Reich, drew plans for Hitler’s »Welthauptstadt« he had no idea he was about to create a collection of time capsules on par with those of London, Paris, or Rome – cities whose historical significance he sought to eclipse by creating a new World Capital. And they say Germans have no sense of irony …
Long before the days of computers, designers of things had to adopt a somewhat manual, suck-it-and-see attitude. The process became more complicated when those things were nuclear bombs, and led to the construction of some rather specialised laboratories, including several outlandish buildings along the Suffolk coast. We place ourselves in the capable hands of the National Trust and spend a night on Europe’s largest shingle spit, all in the name of catching that special light …
It’s roots firmly in the 19th century, this sleepy town just south of Berlin was not only home and HQ to German high command through both world wars, but also played a crucial role in grooming the Reich’s elite, the olympic sports teams, and housing up to 75,000 secretive Soviets during Russia’s occupation of Germany. Today only ruins remain, and with bunkers below as numerous as buildings above ground you’d be hard pushed to find a site more richly steeped in history.
A chanting barging smiling waving cider smoking laughing falling cheering stumbling whistling noodles hare hare krishna cider mandolin heaving rozzers chips dips spliffs lager lager lager shouting photos dancing mega mega lightning chanting shouting parking strip-search cider friends cider men in robes smoking cider cider kind of morning.
Funny what you find on Google Maps when you’re looking for a pond that you may or may not have visited years ago. Long story. Today I found a section of Atlantic sea wall, sitting there all blown to bits and looking sorry for itself, which is somewhat unreasonable considering the important role it played in D-Day.
Nothing is as big a turn off – on any level – as a caravan. Their sad, beige contents are usually flimsy, they smell of chemical toilets, and they make your car handle like a combine harvester. You’re unwelcome everywhere you go, except for authorised caravan sites where you can mingle with your balding peers and bicker about the latest outrage in the news.
Why anybody would voluntarily do this is beyond me, but a camper van – now that’s an entirely different proposition. For a start you’ve got a vehicle which drives like a car, reverses like a car, and fits in a regular parking space. There’s leather, alloy wheels, a rack for your surfboard and a towing hitch for the trailer with your dirt bikes. Could this be the ideal mix of camping adventure and home comforts? We rent a VW California and take it for a lap of Britain to find out.
Hidden behind the sleepy village of the same name, Krampnitz was originally built for the German cavalry and later used the Soviet army for pretty much the same thing. Today it’s a vast complex of trashed barracks, overgrown parade grounds, and rusting machinery, but it also presents some photogenic secrets for those inclined to keep digging.
Located just 30 minutes south of Berlin, Beelitz Heilstätten is an urban explorer’s paradise. The former tuberculosis therapy centre features 64 architecturally fascinating buildings in various states of decay / vandalism, and has a long history speckled with famous patients such as Hitler and Honecker. What a lovely destination for a day in the snow …
Mortuaries are irresistible to freaks like me. I clump them under ‘hospitals’ as an important part of the Urbex Big Five; asylums, hospitals, military, industrial, and religious sites. They’re also few and far between, being either part of an active site or one of the first places to fall victims to looters as soon as they enter a derelict state. My advice? Get in.