GES119 - 1936 Olympic Village & Russian Barracks
Germany i've generally always thought of as a modern vibrant country, houses with all mod cons, wind farms and efficient recycling schemes. To those born after the mid 80's, this is probably the case. However Germany was obviously split following WWII, and spent 40 years with it's two halves running at different speeds. This meant that Eastern Germany has been left with a legacy of buildings just left to the elements. This site being an example of that.
There's something odd about walking into an area with blocks of flats with no windows or doors and the only visitors being the wind and rain. These are the Plattenbau buildings, built on the site of the original accommodation for Russian soldiers, stationed at the nearby barracks. I hadn't gone very far, when I clocked a guy on a bike cycling towards me. I took evasive action, and took shelter in an apartment block across from the one I was nearest too. Ninja tactics see! The honeycomb nature of the blocks meant I had many options for legging it. The chap turned up and looked like he was in his early fifties in the blue worker overalls so popular in Germany. He even had a decent moustache to match the stereotype. A cycle around the block and he carried on his way home.
From the little information one can find about this place, I get the impression these are the original places for the athletes. Sitting as they do on the edge of the site.
Shelter to discuss the intricacies of Olympicness.
One of the mysteries of the site, no idea as to it's purpose. Inside were mainly shower areas on the ground floor which may offer a clue.
Another building not looking so sexy these days.
The road that was the main link between the two sites of this place. In-between sits a main road, behind the camera in this picture. Nowadays since the tunnel is sealed, it's become a pond.
The Hindenburghaus was apparently used for entertainment. It was later used by the Soviets.
Using the power of reflection, I managed to get this shot of the Hindenburg House's exterior and interior at the same time.
Not having a map with me, or being polite enough to enter the site officially. I had no real clue as to how the site was laid out. I'd driven past the site before parking up. And had seen that there were abandoned buildings on the other side of the main road. I assumed that it was another part of the Olympic village, but it turns out it's more likely to be the barracks used by the Soviets when they controlled East Germany. After wading through forests of stinging nettles, I arrived at this building.
Looking around inside, I got the impression this was some sort of canteen and this area might have been a dining hall.
One of the bleak barracks buildings near the main road.
A mildly photogenic room in the above barracks block. Most areas were just stripped and uninteresting.
The base had lots of garages, and i mean LOTS of garages. There must have been spaces for well over a hundred vehicles in this place. Not having found the remnants of the athletes training areas, I crossed back to the other side of the road, keen to have one last look for them.
While working my way back into the site, I past an old sub station tucked into the side of what was once a road.
I walked around the edge of the site, and came across a man made lake and 'relaxation' areas nearby. Also where a sauna once stood, near the lake. I had a feeling I was on the right track, as there were notices explaining the history of the area from 1936. The signs weren't from 1936, obviously, the information silly! Finally I found the swimming pool building i'd seen numerous times. Getting in wasn't that easy, as the owners are clearly keen to protect it, and eventually refurbish it. However with some agile climbing skills, I got in, and wandered around my prize.
Another shot of my good self upon the diving structure.
This is where the field athletes would have prepared and trained for their events in 1936. It looks like it's still in use today.
A rather handy map, that would have been useful when I first started off. I entered roughly in the middle of the number 8 location, and the number 5 road number at the bottom. Then walked the southern perimeter. Cunningly missing all the interesting bits. D'oh!
Commemorative displays, the building on the left is the oval food halls. The displays were unintelligible, written as they were in some foreign language.
Speisehaus der Nationen, which means food house of nations. I'm sure you can work out the rest yourself.
And with that I nipped off to the car, and sped into Berlin. Keen to get to the final target of my two day driving odyssey, GES112.