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Germany Cotton laundry - Germany 2018

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The fourth picture with the window front is my favorite. Nice colors & light!

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    • By True_British_Metal
      大家好!
       
      My oh my, how long has it been since I posted a report? Exploring has become a low priority for me ever since I left the UK, even if I've always kept tabs on new sites shared here and on social media. Truth be told learning Mandarin and my lady have taken a much bigger priority in recent years, plus my lady is no fan of me going about it alone so that makes organising jaunts more challenging. I have visited a fair few sites around Taiwan, but compared to Europe there is so little here to get me to jump on the next train there because beautiful architecture is just so rare and even noteworthy industrial sites are few and far between; many places are just rotting concrete shells. So this report here is meant to be a compilation of my latest explores to date which I feel don't have enough bite to warrant standalone reports.
       
      There will be more reports to come in the future, but since I left my torch and tripod in England it will be some time before I visit these. I trust the results will not be disappointing though.
       
      亞哥花園/Encore Garden, July 2018
      Visited with some colleagues and non-explorers.
       
      I'd always been aware of this one, as it's situated close to my favourite hiking trails just outside of Taizhong where I live. But being me I never made a move until last year. It's an abandoned theme park in Dakeng district, opened in 1981 and was a hugely popular site that attracted around 1m people a year. Like several sites in Taiwan it was hit by the 921 earthquake in 1999 which severely damaged the area, causing attendance to drop dramatically. Eventually the financial losses incurred forced the place to close in 2008.
       

      On most days there is a security guard with dogs at the top of the site, living in a shack. However as of last year the entire site has been repurposed as a rally racetrack. Pay $100 (that's £2.50) to enter and you can sit back and spectate, but before that we chose to explore the park first. Initially we were in full stealth mode, when we spotted people in hi vis vests dotted around the site as well as the guard's dogs barking at us, but after seeing others drive round with their scooters we realised it was a free for all for today.
       

      What I found really fascinating about exploring in Taiwan compared to Europe and other places is how the fertile, humid tropical enviroment is far more hostile to built structures which means nature takes over rapidly once the place is abandoned; the restaurant was completely covered in thick, thick dust, and other structures had started to be completely invaded by tree branches.

       

       
      Old arcade machines left behind

       

       
      Because of thick shrub finding the entrance to this ride took a bit of careful searching, but we got to it.

       

       
      It turns out as long as we stayed off the roads as much as possible, we were at free to roam whenever we wanted. The racing stewards didn't mind us at all. Unfortunately the outdoor auditorium was inaccessible because there were too many race cars on the route leading up to it.

       
      Another thing that's incredibly striking about Taiwan and nature is the frequency of earthquake tremors. In my experience they seem to hit every few months, and in mountainous and rural areas can trigger minor (or major) landslides; look at the next 2 pictures and compare to older photos...

       

       
      By stark contrast to the western world, obviously with a few exceptions Asians and the Taiwanese have utmost respect for abandoned sites. Whether this be rooted in a fear of the supernatural (people in the west believe in ghosts, but superstitions are taken far more seriously here), they treat abandoned sites as tombs and relics of the past to be treated with respect. It's because of this, little if any effort is made to seal any buildings from intruders and yet sites see so little vandalism. Security guards are rare, too. Another thing is that for several sites upon closure and abandonment the owners do not bother to remove items from buildings, regardless of their value. The fundamental exception to this rule being statues and religious iconography, because to leave these to rot is to bring huge misfortune on one's life.
       
      So although decent sites are indeed rare, exploring those that are around are unique experiences in which you can really lose yourself and let your imagination run free.

       

       

       
      I then made my way inside the buildings in the middle of the site, and was stunned to find the power still on. It turns out even on a Sunday there were workers inside. Unfortunately the site manager walked in, then politely asked me to leave after this photo was taken.

       

       

       
      It's far from epic, but it's well worth sharing as it's so vastly different from Crapalot. I'm still alive by the way...

       
      Thank you so much for reading, and it's a real pleasure to be back.
       
      TBM x
    • By Benjamin W.
      The office building of the Textima company in east germany was left behind with most of the stuff inside after the wall was fallen.
      Really beautiful to see the natural decay without much of vandalism.
      We couldn't see everything of the building cause the demolishing had already started while we have been inside.
      The only part which was saved is the old Textima logo.
       
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    • By AndyK!
      This turned out to be a good day out with @SpiderMonkey and Exxperious.  This is a big site, by far the largest RAF base I've explored in terms of area covered, so we spent the whole day looking around it. 
       
      History of RAF Bentwaters
      RAF Bentwaters is a former Royal Air Force station in Suffolk, named after Bentwater Cottages, two small houses that stood on the site of the main runway prior to its construction. Construction of the base began in 1942 for use by RAF Bomber Command and opened for operational use in April 1944. In December that year it was transferred to No. 11 Group, RAF Fighter Command. The runways were constructed in the typical RAF layout of one main runway diagonally intersected by two secondary runways, forming a triangle.
       
      The base was used by the RAF during the Second World War, and then used by the United States Air Force from 1951 until 1993, primarily for efforts during the Cold War. Bentwaters was to play a key role in the defence of Western Europe during the Cold War when large numbers of USAF aircraft were assigned as part of the air arm of NATO.
       
      Current Uses
      Bentwaters was handed back to the UK Ministry of Defence in 1993 and was subsequently closed. Now known as Bentwaters Parks, the site is used as a business park and filming location. Owners are constantly developing the filming and production facilities available at the site. Movies and TV programmes filmed there include Derren Brown's Apocalypse, movies The Numbers Station and Fast & Furious 6, along with some Top Gear stunts, amongst others.
       
      In 2007 the Bentwaters Cold War Museum opened, including tours of the fully restored “War Operations Room” and “Battle Cabin”.
       

      Aerial view of the site after becoming Bentwaters Parks

      Star Wars Building

      The so-called “Star Wars Building” is surrounded by concrete blast walls and contains some interesting spaces including a medical room.


      The Star Wars Building


      Concrete blast walls


      Entrance of the Star Wars Building






      Medical Facility

      Bomb Stores

      Built during the Cold War to securely store nuclear and conventional weapons, the bomb store was heavily fortified with three layers of fencing, razor wire, a swing-arm vehicle barrier, two gates, pressure pads, armoured guard house, guard tower and overhead cables to keep helicopters out.

      We didn’t get passed the gate!



      Entrance to the Bomb Stores


      Armoured Guard House






      One of the storage facilities with overhead cables

      One of the store buildings had a couple of old fire engines parked up behind it....








      Planes and Helicopters

      There are all sorts of jet aeroplanes and helicopters parked up around the site, in varying states of decay and dismantlement.


      Exxperious modelling his entry into "Miss Fighter Jet 2018"



























      K-9 Building

      The K-9 building contains spacious dog kennels.


      K-9 Building


      Kennels inside the K-9 Building




      Hangers

      The site has a lot of hardened aircraft shelters, or hangers, spread out across a vast area. Several are in use by private companies, and others are empty. A common feature of the hangers is the huge sliding doors that form the entire hanger's frontage – these slide to the side on rails to open up fully allowing access for aeroplanes.


      One of the many hangers


      Typical interior of the hangers


      Original sliding door controls


      The framework sits on rails and supports the huge doors, allowing them to slide fully open


      527th Aggressor Squadron Hardened Aircraft Shelter


      Deputy Commander Operations

      This building had been out of use for quite some time and is suffering a lot of decay. The moisture and condensation cause constant rainfall inside the building, which was ideal for plant growth.


      Deputy Commander Operations building





      Runway, Control Tower and Maintenance Vehicles

      We didn’t make it over to the control tower, which is situated within the live business park area of the site. The runway still has some of the maintenance and de-icing vehicles parked up.


      The Control Tower pictured in 1972


      The Control Tower today (poor quality due to crazy crop, as we didn't go over there!)


      North/South runway with the control tower in the distance


      De-icer truck





      The Hush House

      Originally built as a jet engine testing facility with an exhaust tunnel, the Hush House was a soundproofed hangar where fighter


      Exterior of the exhaust tunnel


      Interior of the Hush House


      The exhaust tunnel


      Hush House control booth and viewing window


      Thanks for looking!


      Of course I got a selfie!
    • By Landie_Man
      Visited back in November with Mookster after seeing the Typhoo Factory.  Another one ticked off the list which has been kicking about for years.  I really enjoyed this one; though quite bare and largely sealed, it had a lot of nice things to see down there.  The air was pretty bad though in places!
       
      History - Borrowed!
      The ‘Shadow Factory Tunnels’ are what remain of Lord Austin’s secret plans that were created to increase the force of the British military against the German military aggression in the arms race that led up to the start of the Second World War. 
       
      Munitions workers produced Merlin engines to power Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes which were used to regain control of the British skies during the 1940 Battle of Britain.
      The Shadow Scheme involved two stages; the building of nine new factories and the extension of  existing factories.
       
      This extension included here; the Longbridge plant. Australian-born industrialist and Conservative MP, Lord Austin, whom founded Austin Motors; had already contributed to the war effort during the First World War, turning his factories to munitions and engine production.
       
      The tunnels which ran beneath Austin Rovers Longbridge plant are mostly all that is left of the plant; a large housing development increases in size upon the former footprint.  These tunnels ensured that production of the engines and munitions could continue underground in relative safety. 
       
      After WWII; the factory returned to producing automobiles and the tunnels were soon abandoned. By the late 60s, the  plant was the second largest car plant in the world. 
       
      After the collapse of MG Rover, the site saw its redevelopment.  Famously; a mini was kept down here after workers damaged it in the 70s and it was hidden from bosses.  The mini is now in a museum.  
      This is a very small portion of the tunnels.  Lots is bricked up
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    • By The_Raw
      The history of the Albanian Navy dates back to 1925, following the creation of the Albanian Republic. Albanian naval forces operate out of two main bases; Bishti-i-Palles in Durrës, and Pasha Liman in Vlorë, with four reserve bases respectively in Shëngjin, Porto Palermo, Saranda and a submarine base on Sazan island. The vessels of the Albanian naval force are mostly patrol craft and support craft as well as four whisky class submarines (Soviet Union built in the early Cold War period) which have been taken out of service at Pasha Liman. In Shëngjin a Soviet built minesweeper M-111 and an AFD-115 gunship remain abandoned at the entrance to a bunker. The Albanian navy still operates out of Shëngjin in a low capacity so it's still an active military zone but you are allowed to drive through it to reach a beach resort on the other side. Handy for us! Visited with adders, extreme_ironing, otter and reenie. Here's what we found....
       

      AFD Mujo Ulqinaku M-111 - A mine warfare ship designed for the location of and destruction of naval mines which combines the role of a minesweeper and minehunter in one hull. Minesweepers are equipped with mechanical or electrical devices, known as "sweeps", for disabling mines, so waterways are maintained clear for safe shipping. This one appears to have been disused since 1996 (the date of a calendar on board), just prior to the Albanian civil war, when many vessels of the Albanian navy were seriously damaged.


      Behind it sits this half-submerged AFD P115 - Albanian Navy gunship (Chinese type 62 "Shanghai-II") which has had its 57mm gun mount removed


       

      They sit in front of the entrance to a navigable bunker which was inaccessible. Another entrance parallel was also sealed although we reached the blast door for that one


      The AFD Mujo Ulqinaku M111 was named after Mujo Ulqinaku, an Albanian sergeant of the Royal Albanian Navy, known for his resistance to the Italian forces during the Italian Invasion of Albania in 1939. Armed with only a machine gun, he was placed at the centre of the defense line and fought uninterruptedly until he was eventually killed by an artillery shell from an Italian warship in the last hour of the battle. He was given the People's Hero of Albania award posthumously.
       

      On board the AFD - M111


      An old gun at the front






      You can see an active patrol boat moored up on the left of the shot
       
               
      Inside the AFD - M111
       



      Communications cabin
       

      A small engine room
       
               
      Hatches and squat toilets
       

      Kitchen




      All the cabins were locked except for this one




      Some old military posters
       

       

      Back on land, this AFD S104 - Huchuan class 'motor torpedo boat' is waiting to be scrapped. Powered by Soviet-era engines, these hydrofoil-equipped boats are capable of 50 knots (93 km/h; 58 mph) and carry two torpedo tubes for torpedoes, with some known to be armed with naval mines.
       

      A few dilapidated buildings remain nearby
       

      This building to the left was manned but we were just out of view so we took a quick peek at these old military vehicles


      Some rusty torpedoes lay on the ground alongside one of them


      A couple of old trucks overgrown by vegetation above the bunker. We were aware of someone from the base heading in our direction at this point so we hopped in the car and made tracks
       

      We made it to the beach resort on the other side of the military zone where unfortunately the pigs were waiting for us. Thankfully they just grunted a bit and we were on our way 😮
       

       Just in time to catch the sunset!
       
      Thanks for looking
       
       
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