Point Alpha

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This post is about a 20km walk from Hünfeld to Geisa. I cross the former inner German border and look at Point Alpha.

Breakfast in the monastery was awesome. I ate, filled up my thermos flasks with hot water, then I put on my poncho and walked out of Hünfeld.

the road to East Germany

Further east and further east I went, following a shitty road with no bike lane and no sidewalk, until I left it to walk through a forest that was beautiful and quiet.

Then I was in Rasdorf, the last town in what was once West Germany. I bought some bread in a bakery and some other things in a cashless supermarket that was very weird and very convenient.

the former border

I don’t think it’s a secret that we Germans have a tendency to do absurd and harmful things, at least in recent history. Nazism comes to mind. Or Actually Existing Socialism.

I reached the former inner German border after a long climb up a hill on yet another shitty road that didn’t seem very safe. There was a blue house on the hill, and in front of it there was a turning sign that had PEACE written on it in English, German, and Russian. This was the House On The Border, a memorial museum about the history of what had happened here.

People had died trying to leave East Germany.

the tower

I looked at the exhibits in the museum for a while, then I had my lunch outside on a bench while it was raining sideways. Then I walked over to the tower.

There was a line on the ground. This was presumably exactly where the border used to be. There was a turnpike with the Russian word стой on it: stop. There was a section of barbed wire and a graphic illustrating the use of dogs to guard the border.

Then I arrived at the tower. It was a white steel tower that the Americans had built in the 1980s in order to better observe what was going on across the border. And in order to guard the so-called Fulda Gap, a possible invasion route of the Soviets, if they were ever to send tanks into West Germany. This was called Point Alpha. We’re talking nukes, yo.

I climbed up the tower and stood there for a while. It was cold, the rain was still falling sideways, and darkness was falling. I had noticed two other visitors before, but they were gone by now. I was alone in what used to be one of the most dangerous spots on the face of the Earth.


the walk from Hünfeld to Geisa:

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