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Wolf’s Lair (Part 2)

Poland Day 22. I explored the less visited parts of Wolf’s Lair and, being as I was in the lakes district, went looking for a lake.

After giving up on being able to do anything substantially productive with the available wifi, I went off to complete a second circuit of zone one before the masses arrived. I also wanted to avoid being in the same airspace as a horrible loud-mouthed guide I’d had a mild run-in with the previous day.

Outside the restaurant after breakfast chasing wifi signals

Outside the restaurant after breakfast chasing wifi signals

For a change of scene from concrete ruins for a while I did something a bit strange and went off down the road with a vague plan to find a lake. Wolf’s Lair is located in the Masurian district, well-known in Poland for its lakes and all the activities one associates with such environs. While I wasn’t super-close to any major places I could see a couple of lakes in walking proximity.

For a distance on both sides of the road hidden in the forest were more ruins: Wolf’s Lair zone two on the left, and the old train station somewhere on the right. I would investigate on the way back. The road isn’t set up for pedestrians so it wasn’t exactly relaxed going with the occasional bus blasting through but I did have fleeting success in my quest.

I found a lake down a side-road - no sign of walruses though as the sign suggested (see below; unless that was a reference to human clientele). Did however acquaint myself with small flying bugs, lots of small flying bugs

I found a lake down a side-road – no sign of walruses though as the sign suggested (see below; unless that was a reference to human clientele). Did however acquaint myself with small flying bugs, lots of small flying bugs

The Google instant text translate function proved useful during the trip and an occasional source of humour

The Google instant text translate function proved useful during the trip and an occasional source of humour

Signs of critters but none made an appearance

Signs of critters but none made an appearance

On my return I wasn’t sure where the station was but figured I could either get to and then follow the railway line, or keep an eye out for the faint trails I had seen earlier leading off from the road which I figured probably had something to do with the station. It was a bit of both.

The now defunct line from Kętrzyn past Wolf's Lair

The now defunct line from Kętrzyn past Wolf’s Lair

What's left of the station near Wolf's Lair. The existence of the station in a large woodland area as well as the close proximity to Russian territory were reasons why Hitler chose the area for his headquarters

What’s left of the station near Wolf’s Lair. The existence of the station in a large woodland area as well as the close proximity to Russian territory were reasons why Hitler chose the area for his headquarters

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Back out on the road I could see the forms of Wolf’s Lair structures set back in the forest on the other side. These ruins are in a more natural (for want of a word) state as the buildings aren’t numbered and there’s no trail. By all accounts this area is scarcely visited and feeling a touch anxious I nonetheless ventured in.

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I continued further back and came across one of the sealed roads constructed by the Germans. Following this around I had still not seen anyone else but was surprised to come across a small logging operation with loaded truck and a couple of blokes. Shortly after there the numbered section of zone two kicked in and I started seeing a few more people.

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Twin air raid shelters for workers in the area

Twin air raid shelters for workers in the area

Barracks for Hitler's escort battalion

Barracks for Hitler’s escort battalion

Office of the Foreign Ministry

Office of the Foreign Ministry

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Quarters for Reich ministers Fritz Todt until his death, then Albert Speer

Quarters for Reich ministers Fritz Todt until his death, then Albert Speer

In a place where the ruins are predominantly concrete and steel rods, the tiles visible in a couple of buildings in this zone seemed to make it come slightly more to life

In a place where the ruins are predominantly concrete and steel rods, the tiles visible in a couple of buildings in this zone seemed to make it come slightly more to life

The damage to the structures here was all part of the demolition in 1945 initiated by the fleeing Germans

The damage to the structures here was all part of the demolition in 1945 initiated by the fleeing Germans

This unidentified building was unusual in that it had remnants of wooden window frames

This unidentified building was unusual in that it had remnants of wooden window frames

On the edge of zone 2 is a small cemetery for the nearby village of Parcz. It was allowed to remain there throughout the war. Behind was the premises for Luftwaffe command staff and liaison officers

On the edge of zone 2 is a small cemetery for the nearby village of Parcz. It was allowed to remain there throughout the war. Behind was the premises for Luftwaffe command staff and liaison officers

That brought my explorations here to an end. The third security zone of Wolf’s Lair can’t really be visited since it was essentially a heavily fortified outer ring surrounding zones one and two. Those defenses included more than 50,000 land mines which took about 10 years to clear and is in an area fenced off to the public.

Happy with what I’d been able to see I returned to base to make sure I could have a meal before the restaurant closed at 5pm. Then it was a case of readying myself for another quiet night in my small room. This was the most remote destination of my time in Poland and in the evenings it definitely felt like it!

Distance walked: 14.92km

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Real-time update: I got back to NZ two days ago so my journeying has come to an end and normal life now resumes. I’m just over a week behind so I’ll finish the final few posts as soon as I can.

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. James Scott #

    What an amazing place

    6 October 2015
  2. Haley, you are way to brave for your own good. I hope and pray that the next time you explore a place that you will not go alone. I don’t think by any stretch that you are perfectly safe going it alone.

    But now down to the photos. Hitler sure had some structures that were virtually indestructible. Interesting photo of the tree that beavers had been gnawing which exposed red wood. Wonder if the tree is logged and if furniture is made from the wood.

    8 October 2015
    • My mother mentioned something similar. I’m definitely mindful of safety and there was really only one occasion over the trip where I felt momentarily at risk (in the quarry back in Krakow) so I was pretty lucky really. But yes I did go to a few out of the way mildly dodgy places.

      I’d hoped there might be a beaver dam around but couldn’t see anything!

      8 October 2015
      • Well, I hope that yo will listen to your mom and me and not go to “dodgy” places again. You can not be too careful. Please do not think for one minute that you are immune from someone attacking you. They can tell that you are a tourist and harm you in a New York minute. It matters not if you don’t get those pics that no one else has. Your life is what matters. Okay?

        9 October 2015
        • I will occasionally still go to such places, but I’ll always continue to weigh it up carefully first especially if I’m solo. Thank you for your message and concern though Yvonne. Mum would be cheering from the sidelines if she read this I’m sure!

          9 October 2015

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