Everyone always remembers their firsts right? Well, my first was in Berlin, well, my first urban exploring adventure that is…
The first step was a bit of a little dipping of my toe in the water – I hit up an abandoned amusement park that was hosting an alternative Christmas Market – but this was pretty easy to find and more a party than a proper expore. So with my appetite whetted I wanted more and my thoughts turned to Teufelsberg. However, like the market, there was no fences to be climbed or security to run away from – you simply had to pay an entrance fee to gain access to its wonders.
Teufelsberg is a hill home to a former top-secret spy facility and was used as a US Listening Station in the Cold War. Yep – East Germany, the US heard EVERYTHING every hidden call, they heard it all… Anyway, it was originally built to host a Nazi military training school, then it got into American hands after the war and continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall. After that the station was closed and the equipment all taken away. What information exactly was collected will be made public in 2020 – so get your gossip then, and hear what your grandma was really up to…
Nowadays it’s not about the history, it’s more an alternative urban street art space that now been made public and will cost you €8 to get in. You can walk around the abandoned complex, enjoy the ever changing graffiti adorning everything, but you’ll really just want to check out the view over the Grünewald from atop the listening tower – it’s pretty mind-blowing and otherworldly.
You can go on one of the many alternative guided tours and learn a bit about the history of the place, but if you are a true explorer and adventurer you might want to go on your own – but remember that you’ll have to pay the entrance fee – unless you of course choose to go after hours!
Having visited an abandoned: theme park, listening station and hotel my trip to Zagreb wouldn’t have been complete without visiting an abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium. It’s like abandoned bingo!
When in Dubrovnik I rested my head in a cute Air BnB – nothing was wrong with it but for one special day I just had to go luxury at a 5 star seaside hotel to the east of the city, home to some of the most expensive places to stay. After some deliberation, I picked Hotel Belvedere, known for its breathtaking views of Old Town and Lokrum Island, their private beach where you get more rays than a 100 sunbeds, and where no one would raise an eyebrow at bringing my own lunch and drinks … literally no one … because it’s been abandoned since 1991.
After running around an abandoned amusement park
and a former US listening post
in Berlin I checked in at the abandoned hotel in Dubrovnik. The complex is huge (we are talking about more than 200 rooms/apartments, a cafe, a restaurant, a swimming pool and a recreational area) and you can easily spend an afternoon walking around, hoping you won’t run into anyone in the next room, and wondering what’s behind that one closed door – is it an axe murdering hobo, a rival blogger or that waiter you never tipped? If you survive, between all the shattered glass, rubble and dust you’ll come across notepads with the hotels logo, old decorations and remarkably intact furniture – I guess it’s like IKEA with cheaper prices right?
On its lower levels is an amphitheatre-style open air patio, a great place to sit and just stare at the surrounds. But if you feel chills down your back at the whisper of “Winter is Coming”, get all fired up over dragons and can’t get enough of John Snow’s beard, then you’ll have more to enjoy….This is where THE ‘eye-opening’ battle scene between Oberyn and The Mountain was filmed for Game of Thrones. Now, that’s something to tell everyone you meet in the next month of so, friends, colleagues, even people in the bus queue.
And all the way down is the beach, well a rocky outcrop, which seems to be a bit of a secret, even among locals. It was a lot less crowded than the beaches around Old Town (ssshhh don’t tell them I told you). I laid there for a few hours and the only people who came to the beach were a couple and their Maltese dog. Medo (which means bear) was not a fan of one half of the couple and got very scared every time the guy took a dive in the sea. Oh and there were a few tourists boats which sailed past with passengers who looked puzzled as why there were so few people on the beach.
Some boring, but essential info: It’s a 40 – 50 minute walk from Old Town, all you have to do is follow the main road and go past the fancy hotels. Make sure you don’t wear sandals or flip flops as there is a lot of shattered glass and be careful climbing through fences.
Do you like exploring abandoned places?