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This post is about a 21km walk from Vacha to Marksuhl. I cross the Bridge Of Unity and see a weird street sign.

I stayed in Vacha for another day. The reason wasn’t just my laziness, I had a meeting. Not sure what’s going to come out of it, but maybe one day in the future I will remind you that there was once a meeting here in the little Vacha.

toy stores

When I left, I noticed something weird: almost the whole town center was empty. There were vacated storefronts and restaurants, even an abandoned pharmacy. I remembered going to a large supermarket a little outside of the center the day before, and it had been bustling with people. So why was everyone abandoning the town center?

And it got even weirder: the only two shops that seemed to be doing well were both toy stores.

the old printing house and the border

When I left Vacha, I crossed an old stone bridge over the river Werra. It was from the early 17th century, but since it used to lead directly to the former inner German border, it had acquired the name Bridge Of Unity after 1990.

There were some people on the bridge. They were from the other side of the border, and they told me that the building at the end of the bridge used to be a printing house until it got divided by the border.

It seemed hardly believable: the actual fucking border between East and West Germany used to run right through the middle of this… house?

the sign and the sticker

I was even more surprised when I arrived at the end of the bridge and noticed a street sign. There were two town names on it: Vacha and Philipsthal. So far so good. But next to the name Vacha, there was something else, an old addendum hidden under some sort of plastic sticker that wasn’t completely opaque: /DDR.

DDR stood for Deutsche Demokratische Republik – German Democratic Republic – East Germany.

I couldn’t believe that this sign had survived here all of those years, with the original wording still on it. And that nobody had replaced it yet, instead only covering it with a semi-transparent sticker.


the walk from Vacha to Marksuhl:

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