Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Cold War

This weekend, I took a couple of day trips to explore the state of Hesse (where I live).  On Saturday, a couple friends and I headed to Point Alpha, on the border between the states of Hesse and Thuringia.  Normally, an internal border between two states would be no more interesting than the "Welcome to Nebraska - The Good Life" sign.  But, this is not just an internal German border, it is the former border between East and West Germany.  And as the most western point in the Soviet Bloc, its location was considered a prime place for invasion (the terrain also made this more likely).  So, for forty-five years, we stationed troops there to watch the East Germans and the Soviets.

Outside the (former) base

This flagpole is not actually buried in the ground - it is attached to some i-beams,
symbolizing the US was there as a guest and not a conqueror.

Some old tanks

US Army tent

The Iron Curtain

East German bunkers just across the border

The border between East and West
One of the coolest things about the trip were all of the frosted trees.  The fog rolls in in the morning, freezes to the trees and then rolls out.  It was so cold (about 20 F) that the frost on the trees never melted off the trees.  It was absolutely gorgeous

On Sunday, I went with a friend to Hessenpark.  This is an outdoor "museum" where they have reconstructed a number of (really) old buildings from all around the state of Hesse that would otherwise have been torn down.  The oldest building I noted as a church first built in 1480.  Most were from the 1800s.  They do demonstrations on how sausage is made (literally, not just part of a pun about legislating) and cheese.  Really cool place that would be a great place to take kids.

The "town square" (note - these buildings are completely reconstructed)

Other side of square - actual old buildings

My favorite

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