I first heard about this abandoned village near an old quarry a couple of years ago and decided to add it to a road trip being planned at the time. Sadly when we arrived the place was overrun with film crew and trailers so we bailed on to our next destination, reasoning that if it’s so well known it’ll likely be trashed and boring. I forgot all about Örtelsbruch until a recent visit presented me with the chance for a return – and a headlong dive into the rabbit hole.
Taking pictures is half of what I do – if I’m awake then chances are I’ve got a camera with me. It all started around 1999 with the purchase of my first digital, a vast contraption made by Sony which wrote it’s images to 3.5″ floppy disk. Since then I’ve snapped around 220,000 images and that trigger finger shows no sign of stopping. This section of the site is a collection of my favourite forays into the wonderful world of photography.
NVA Hotel, Frauenwald
There’s nothing like an impromptu explore on the way to the airport, and the Sprungschanzenhaus in Frauenwald fits the bill nicely: a bit of history, zero security, and all the crumbling paint you can eat. OK, so it’s a bit trashed in places and if you’re not careful you can fall down eight flights of stairs or through an open window, but then that just adds to the charm of this wedge-shaped wonder.
Haus der Offiziere, Wünsdorf
It’s roots firmly in the 19th century, this sleepy town just south of Berlin was not only home and HQ to German high command through both world wars, but also played a crucial role in grooming the Reich’s elite, the olympic sports teams, and housing up to 75,000 secretive Soviets during Russia’s occupation of Germany. Today only ruins remain, and with bunkers below as numerous as buildings above ground you’d be hard pushed to find a site more richly steeped in history.
Summer Solstice 2013
A chanting barging smiling waving cider smoking laughing falling cheering stumbling whistling noodles hare hare krishna cider mandolin heaving rozzers chips dips spliffs lager lager lager shouting photos dancing mega mega lightning chanting shouting parking strip-search cider friends cider men in robes smoking cider cider kind of morning.
Atlantic Sea Wall, Surrey
Funny what you find on Google Maps when you’re looking for a pond that you may or may not have visited years ago. Long story. Today I found a section of Atlantic sea wall, sitting there all blown to bits and looking sorry for itself, which is somewhat unreasonable considering the important role it played in D-Day.
Kaserne Krampnitz, Germany
Hidden behind the sleepy village of the same name, Krampnitz was originally built for the German cavalry and later used the Soviet army for pretty much the same thing. Today it’s a vast complex of trashed barracks, overgrown parade grounds, and rusting machinery, but it also presents some photogenic secrets for those inclined to keep digging.
Beelitz Heilstätten, Germany
Located just 30 minutes south of Berlin, Beelitz Heilstätten is an urban explorer’s paradise. The former tuberculosis therapy centre features 64 architecturally fascinating buildings in various states of decay / vandalism, and has a long history speckled with famous patients such as Hitler and Honecker. What a lovely destination for a day in the snow …
Half Moon Bay, Antigua
I can’t walk past an abandoned building, even on holiday, even if it’s raining and I know the pictures will be rubbish. This was very much the case with Antigua and the Half Moon Bay Hotel, though something I couldn’t guess as we walked up the beach in a storm was how much filth we’d uncover once we started poking around the history behind this place. A tale of corruption, scandal, and global fraud; this rabbit hole goes deep…
Geotagging: You doing it yet?
Wouldn’t it be good if you knew exactly where each of your pictures was taken? Modern software is making this not only possible but easier each day, and in this post I’ll show you the easiest route yet.
A night in The Morgue
Mortuaries are irresistible to freaks like me. I clump them under ‘hospitals’ as an important part of the Urbex Big Five; asylums, hospitals, military, industrial, and religious sites. They’re also few and far between, being either part of an active site or one of the first places to fall victims to looters as soon as they enter a derelict state. My advice? Get in.