Posts Tagged ‘critical’

Fierce winds and white knuckles! I was holding on for dear life.


Critical Out!!


Was back on the strobe trail today and being a tightwad i still only have the one.  I was always told though  “don’t try to walk before you can run” so for now I’ll stick to learning with one and when it’s time to move up I’ll borrow another…………I may be better with lights but that don’t mean I’m still not a tightwad!! lol

Who doesn’t wish they were a Rock Star!!

Who wishes they weren’t a moody bugger!!

So after the awesome start that was Saturday and a solid 4hrs sleep ( who can survive on this?? ) it was Sunday morning and what can only be described as an episode from “The Walking Dead” as the guys got their kit ready to head out on day 2 of the tour. We had said our goodbyes to Frits, Bertus, Daniel and Roel the previous day as they had plans to hit Poland and some other locations before we re-grouped on the Monday to complete our unfinished business at Beelitz.

Armed with our priceless location info it was time to head out, must big up Tony at this point as he unselfishly undertook the driving for the whole of the trip, well done mate!!

Lakeside Sanatorium

Google was not playing ball with me today as history is almost non existent for this place, well i couldn’t find it anyway. Situated in what seemed to be a quiet little village to the North of Berlin and as it’s title suggests it sits alongside a stunning lake.

“Alongside a stunning lake”…the clue is in the name really so after following our instructions to the letter and a 20 min trek through the woods we we’re lost :). With 10 explorers insisting it was in this direction, (each ones idea of “this” was totally different to the next guy ) we deployed the compass. You cannot go wrong with a compass, after 10 mins of turning it this way and that we the only thing we eventually all decided on was the direction of North lol. So it was back to the van and a rethink, we knew we were in the right place just needed to find it!!

So back the way we came and bingo, find the lake you find the Sanatorium. Van parked and gear unloaded it was time to look inconspicuous as the locals made their way to the lake for their early morning dip (crazy mofo’s!! ). Just how 10 guys managed to look like they belonged was beyond me but we did and entry was imminent.

Safe to say this was one of the most picturesque buildings I’ve ever explored

The tiled corridors were an absolute joy to see as we navigated through the Sanatorium.

Now it’s at this point things started to go little “tits up” as they say. Here is a little clip from one of, I assume, many frantic little conversations as panic was starting to unfold

“What you looking for Tony””, I asked as he wandered staring at the floor in the Sanatorium.
Half expecting him to say his lens cap I was floored when he said the van key!!!
“Have you checked your bag” I asked
“Yeah, it’s not there!” he replied and off he went in a slight panic eyes glued to the floor.
Now considering we were in a foreign country, in the middle of nowhere at stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning a slight panic started to build up.
About 30 frantic minutes past before we heard ” It’s OK we’ve found it”
“Phew, how the hell did you manage to find that in this place”…………………..sheepishly Tony said, “erm, it was in my bag”

It’s at this point we decide it’s time to pack up and head out to the next location but not before taking over what seemed to be the only coffee/cake shop open for miles. Much to the silent disgust of the locals who all seemed to converge on said coffee shop for their regular Sunday morning fix. We we’re the last thing they expected to see and were not best pleased at having to queue out the door while we emptied the shop before their very eyes lol.

Fully replenished it was time to head out.

Kaserne Vogelsang

Also known as the “Lost City In The Woods” which we more than found out as it took us at least 45mins to trek to this place place battling Mosquito’s the whole way ( and losing!).

Emerged after the Second World War in Vogelsang an important site of the Western Group of Soviet Forces. The barracks was built in 1952 by Vogelsang obviously captured German construction documents as a garrison for troops of Soviet Army. In addition to the staff of the 25th The 20th Panzer Division Guards Army was the 162nd Armored Regiment, the 803rd Rifle Regiment, the 1702nd Anti-aircraft missile regiment, and the major unit belonging to the tactical missile division stationed. At times, more than 15 000 Russian soldiers and civilians living in the “military city” that was built next to Wünsdorf the largest Russian real estate.

Not one of the best locations on the trip (IMO) but the history you could feel in the place made up for what it lacked photogenically.

Probably the highlight of this location was this stunning staircase.

Doing what we do best “Dicking About”

Time to head back to the city for the last 3 locations of the day………which means round 2 with the Mosquito’s on the way back to the van 😦

Bürgerhaus Hospital

Another location I was unaware of so was eager to check it out and see what it had in store. From the front it looked a Gothic gem with the big entrance gates and awesome facade, however it had an unsightly make-up of scaffolding which meant we might just be too late this one.

The main building was put into operation in 1901 and throughout it’s time housed the sick, elderly and orphans. In 1944 due to the war any bed-ridden patients were relocated to the basement for safety reasons during aerial bomb threats. After the war the Russian forces used it as a barracks as well as a hospital. During 1945-55 the place was rebuilt and a lecture room and, if my Google searching is correct a zoo?? It was closed in 2002

Although the hospital part was well under re-construction and all the life had been ripped out of it there was still a chapel and the police station to find that were also housed here.

Luckily the chapel was pretty much right by our entry point, however once again we were greeted with a huge scaffold erected in the center of the room obscuring the awesome chandelier that was still hanging.

Was entwined in all the scaffold to get this shot of the alter.

I’ve always wanted to be stood in front of a Police Board getting my mug shot done, but as i am always on the right side of the law this has yet to happen…..until we found the Police station.

The TU crew stickin’ it to “The Man”,  before we were dragged off for questioning!!

Sanatorium “E”

On entering the grounds of the Sanatorium from the busy main road that it is set back from I couldn’t help but feel i had stepped back in time. In just 2-3 hundred yards the bustle of the city was gone and we were enclosed by this moment in history.

“Elizabeth Sanitarium” on the edge of Kienwerder, could soon be celebrating the centenary. The buildings in the vast forest area had been built 1912-1914 for the doctor and his wife, Elizabeth Freimuth, Walter, and served as a lung clinic. Most recently in the state building a skin clinic was set up, but since 1994 the house is empty. Ten years ago the property was returned to the Jewish family, and now part of living in the USA Ursula Freimuth. Issued under the provisions of the monument buildings the entertainment duty “within reason”, the large park near the interchange of goods Fields Corner is also protected asset, Wolfgang Bernhard emphasized by the conservation authority in Belzig. But whoever takes over the protection and who has plans for the future? In recent years, several interested parties for the large area had reported. A French construction company wanted to set up a hardware store, then there were plans for a craft village.

The only shots i had seen prior to my visit was of the old piano that sits un played here in the sanatorium. We didn’t need to look hard as it was in the room with which we entered the building.

Station 1 at the center of the sanatorium.

A sinister path.

Time was getting late now and we still had the big one to do, Spreepark!!


The final one of the day and it’s safe to say the most anticipated. We had all heard the stories of the notorious security at this place that we even had a sweep beforehand on how long it would be before we were busted and escorted off the premises.  My 6 minutes was way out lol.

The entertainment park was opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Plänterwald, covering an area of 29.5 hectares. The area is situated in the north of the Plänterwald, next to the river Spree. It was the only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only such park in either East or West Berlin.

The VEB cultural park Berlin was completed in 1991 by mixed municipal authorities in Berlin. From seven applicants altogether the Spreepark Berlin GmbH company received the contract. Crucially, the references of Norbert Witte of the company were not properly checked.
Under the Spreepark GmbH some new attractions were added and visitor numbers reached 1.5 million per annum. Later the concept was changed. The park was transformed gradually to a recreational park on a more western model. From now on an overall fee (adults: 29 DM, children: 27 DM) for admission and for all attractions was charged, instead of visitors paying an individual price at each ride, as had previously been the case.
The asphalted surface around the Ferris wheel was taken up and converted into a water landscape. Roller coasters, two game water courses, a stage, a Western town and an English village were later added to the park.
Since 1999 the park has had to cope with large debts. The increase in the admission fee to 30 DM per person and a lack of parking space contributed to a drop in visitor numbers until in 2001 only 400,000 visitors entered the park.
In 2001 Spreepark GmbH announced that they were insolvent.

On 18 January 2002, Norbert Witte, together with his family and closest coworkers moved to Lima in Peru. They shipped six attractions (Fliegender Teppich, Butterfly, Spider, Baby-Flug, Wild River and Jet Star) in 20 ship containers, having been allowed to do so by the authorities who believed they were being sent for repair.
Since 2002 the park has not opened for visitors. In August 2002 the park was declared completely insolvent. Debts at a level of €11,000,000 remained and the area was allowed to fall into disrepair. The Ferris wheel still stands, but has not operated since the park’s closure, likewise, the remains of other attractions can still be found on-site. A scene for the 2011 action film Hanna was filmed at the park.

Norbert Witte failed in his attempt to run a “Lunapark” in Lima. On 19 May 2004 he was sentenced to seven years in jail for attempting to smuggle 180 kg of cocaine with a value of £14 million from Peru to Germany in the masts of the “flying carpet” ride. In October 2006 a Peruvian court sentenced Wittes’ son, Marcel Witte, to 20 years for drug smuggling.

Amusement parks in the Uk tend to be situated out in the sticks and on arrival at Spree we found it was quite the opposite. It was quite a little tourist hotspot with it being on the banks of the river and it made entry somewhat challenging, but the cyclists, joggers and pensioners were no match for us “Uber Explorers” lol

I had my reservations about this place and very nearly gave it a miss to relax by the lake and take in some rays, but i hadn’t come all this way for nothing and so glad I changed my mind. This has to be one of the craziest explores I have been on with twists and turns all over the place. It went from a S.A.S. mission with full on stealth mode to the max. Sweating in the jungle heat darting from attraction to attraction in full military operation mode to a Sunday afternoon picnic!! That is as much info as i can divulge, if you guys learnt the real truth of our visit to Spree……….let’s just say it’s classified and filed under “comical”!!

An absolute stonking end to another great day exploring Germany, night was upon us and so was fatigue and hunger.

The famous Ferris Wheel at Spreepark

Hell’s front door!!

The boys find time for a little bit of fun.

And so ended day 2. Tomorrow was time to say our goodbye to Germany but not before we met backup with Frits, Bertus, Daniel and Roel for 1 final crack at Beelitz to finish off what we started on day 1 of our trip.

Look out for the final report coming soon!!