It's 30 years after the german re-unification as we mind a bizarre plan: We're trekking along the Iron Curtain, the former deadly borderline between the East and the West of Germany! There is a hiking way named „Grenzwanderweg“ or „Green Ribbon“. You can hike here along the path on which the east german border guards monitored the „Iron Curtain“ between the socialist world and the west.
The first episode of our hike you can read here. This is the second one and here are third, four, five and six.
We're back, across the border, the former Iron Curtain it's now on our left hand side again. On the east side of the river Elbe, which is now a part of the state of Lower Saxony in the former western part of Germany (yes, it's difficult!), the cyclists are back, but so are the wonderful views of the Elbe landscape.
You always have a wide view over the meadow landscape, which looks like the land from the "Lord of the Rings". Huge ancient trees, small beaches, wide meadows and old houses with thatched roofs alternate with stretches on which the old column path, half overgrown, runs alongside the dam.
Buried nuclear waste in the west
The fact that the nuclear waste of the old Federal Republic is buried over there, deep in the ground, cannot be guessed. But it is clear why it ended up there of all places, on the very edge of the country that could not have suspected that it was before 30 Years would reunite. Hardly anyone lives here, only people like Erika, who moved here because of love after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
At that time, a lot of land had to be re-measured, the woman, who actually comes from Thuringia, followed the love of her life here. "Back then we found enough space here for our surveying company," she says. When everything was measured, the couple's engineering office was no longer busy. And the old farmhouse directly on the dam turned out to be the ideal place, to build a guesthouse for the cyclists who rush by as a steady endless stream.
The sun sinks behind the Elbe
"It's very quiet here in autumn and winter", says Erika and in the evening you get a good impression of it. The sun sinks behind the Elbe and apart from a few men who invite a flock of sheep to drive them to a new pasture, nobody is to be seen. An idyll in the evening light, above which the leaves rustle softly, while we reflect on our thoughts and must think about shouldering your backpack again the next day.
Amazingly, you got used to the 20 kilograms after a week. There is no longer any pressure and all belts are in the right place. "It's amazing that you can keep it up," says a man, who sits with his wife next to us on the dam and watches the sheep, who resist being pressed into the transport trailer like swimwear in a suitcase.
The couple next to us travels by bike, but actually by car. "We drive from guesthouse to guesthouse," she says, "and in between we discover this completely unknown landscape from the saddle." A slightly lighter variant than ours, but which leads to the same result: "It's as beautiful here as in a fairy tale," says the woman.
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A few more pictures for you: