It's 30 years after the german re-unification as we mind a bizarre plan: Let's go along for a hike at the former borderline between the East and the West if Germany! There is a hiking way named „Grenzwanderweg“ or „Green Ribbon“ and it leeds hikers 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.
Now read episode four:
We have to leave Kietz, a very small bunch of houses right on the Elbe shore where you can see herons and falcons in the air. It's just a short walk of ten kilometres to Dömitz, the next an only greater town in this area and all the way runs along the dam of the Elbe. Right hand are the concrete bisquits (Betonkekse), the very last remainings of the former borderline.
But you can hike on the dam where a concrete way without holes make it easier to walk. It's this a sign of times, an old man on a place called Unbesandten tells us. Because of the lack of concrete the GDR ingenieurs are thinking about the question how it could be possible to save concrete on the paving slabs along the borderline. The border was 1.400 kilometres long and it needed ten thousands of tons of concrete to build streets along this line. So one day one man came along with the idea to press holes in the slabs. This spares ten to fifteen percent of cement.
Burning bridges and restricted areas
Dömitz, the town direct on the Elbe shore, where we have to carry our weight, lost his bridge at the end of the 2WW after allied bombing squads hit the eastern part of the bridge. Good for the GDR administration - they never tried to re-build the bridge, instead of this they demolished the rest of the bridge too. The complete town with 3.000 inhabitants after this were layed in a "restricted area".
No one has the right to come in or to go out. We are going through places were nobody lives for years, only animals like falcons, buzzards, foxes, lynxes and sparrows. The birds flying over us, a heron looks curiously from the water to the two stalking with their huge backpacks.
The small village Rüterberg nearby met an even harder fate: The administration build a fence not only between the houses and the Elbe but also between the land side and the rest of the country. At the night no one can come or go not even who lived in one of the remaining houses.
Between Cows and a rad-brick fortress
Bizarre, but normal like the name of Dömitz in ancient times. "Fortress Dömitz" the nazis called the town who is nowadays a friendly city with a huge museum at the old fortress made from the same red bricks like the famous Malbork in Poland. You should not miss the exhibition because it shows how often the the rulers of the city changed and how many battles they fight to become kings of this little spot where the famous lyricist Fritz Reuter was a prisoner in the 18th century.
The road to the Baltic Sea is only a few steps away from the fortress. He runs to the north and to the west, like the fantastic singer Frank Turner sings, and we have to "break on through to the other side" like Jim Morrison of The Doors has sung.
A new bridge waits for cars and bicycles and hikers here since 1992: After die wall came down the people here managed to build a huge and completely new bridge in just two years, which has since connected east and west. A wonder in a country that normally takes ten times longer to just draw the construction documents.
But at that time the longing was great and the people don't ask to many questions. So now the west side of the river is complete different from the east: No bicyclists, no coffee houses, no tourists are here between Dömitz, Hitzacker and Neu-Darchau. The streets are empty, the hiking trails are overgrown.
We don't see anyone hour after hour and thats exactly what we've asked for.
A few more pictures for you: