For me, any empty house, neglected, overgrown garden, ruined barn or otherwise forgotten, abandoned place is a Place of Interest. Why I have this penchant for such places I can't tell; all I know is that I have been feeling that way for as long as I can remember.
One particular situation when I realized that abandoned places hold special attraction for me was when I spent an unforgettable holiday on the Danish island of Bornholm in the early 1990s. One of my aunts has been living there for decades; we spent summer holidays there as a family when my sister and I were in our early teens, and I remember that time well.
When I returned more than a decade later, now a married woman, I rediscovered the area and enjoyed every minute of it. My aunt and uncle used to live on a former farm; the old stable was converted into a guest house, where my husband and I were staying. The nearest neighbour was more than a mile away (which is why in the meantime, my aunt and uncle have moved into town, where they are closer to all the conveniences they need, now that they are in their 70s and 80s).
The summer I was there for the second (and so far last) time, the working farm next to my aunt's had been abandoned the previous year. Not because the farmer's family didn't feel like farming anymore, but because the land was acquired by the local government and to be used for re-forestation, something very important for the ecological balance of the relatively small island.
So, there it was - an old and recently abandoned farm house with several outbuildings, an overgrown orchard and a garden. Paradise!
Nearly every day between returning from the beach and getting dinner started (and sometimes again after dinner), I spent some time alone in the grounds. There was nobody about except for the odd pheasant, many other birds, a few lizards and lots of butterflies. It was very quiet, and there were still plenty of flowers in the garden, giving off their scent in the warm afternoon sun. I have never tasted strawberries more aromatic and sweeter than those I picked in the abandoned orchard. It was magic, and I wanted to stay there forever.
Anyone who looks at the place now will not suspect that there ever was a farm there. The buildings were pulled down a year or so later, and the efforts to re-forest have been successful.
Since that summer about 20 years ago, I have come across many more Places of Interest. Sometimes, a fellow blogger writes about such places. I will, in all likelihood, never visit there personally, but the excellent pictures and very good descriptions nearly make up for that and have almost the same effect on me.
Over the past two or three months, I have taken pictures of several abandoned houses, dotted around the greater Stuttgart area (none of these buildings is in Ludwigsburg). Although I would have loved to, I didn't venture inside any of them. The main reason for not going inside is of course that they are either locked up, unsafe or both - and it would certainly be illegal to enter what is still, after all, someone else's property. But there is also another reason: I'm afraid I'd be severely disappointed if I really managed to get in.
Probably all I'd find inside would be heaps of rubbish, dead rats (or worse) and none of the morbidly romantic settings I see in my mind when I look at them from the outside.
|Very overgrown path leading to...|
|...this house. You wouldn't guess it from the picture, but it actually is in the middle of a bustling little town, with one of the main roads leading past it.|
So, to spare me this disappointment - not to mention a possible lawsuit -, I'll stick to admiring my Places of Interest from the outside.
I too am fascinated by abandoned places, especially old farmhouses with towering lilac bushes and daffodils that still bloom. I think it's because those places hold so many stories.ReplyDelete
Yes, I am sure that is part of the attraction, the stories one can think about while exploring the place.Delete
It is an interest we share but if it is possible to do so, I am likely to venture inside. In that quietness I can sense past lives and almost hear their voices - soft like a breeze ruffling the reeds.ReplyDelete
It if was easy to get in and I would not risk life, limb and money (for a lawsuit), I'd go in as well, and have done so a few times in the past.Delete
The voices of the former inhabitants are certainly there, but there is also the voice in my own head which gives me ideas of what I'd do if the place were mine.
I think such places have a strong attraction too....In fact, I once heard a police officer refer to such a place as "an attractive nuisance". It actually was a category, because many people, not as scrupulous as you, (especially many children) do break in to such places and many injure themselves. There was such a place near Point Chautauqua when we first had our cottage there. It was the county poor farm, whose real name was "Chautauqua County Alms House and Asylum". If you were here on August 8th we have the county historian coming to our annual meeting to give on talk on this subject....ReplyDelete
People can in fact be very daft - and not just children! - when it comes to exploring places where they shouldn't be... As children and young people, we feel immortal, and when we get older, we're not always getting wiser.Delete
The historian's talk sounds interesting, will you be attending?
I will....I'm a trustee of our historical association and I arranged for this speaker to come.Delete
GB and I also echo your first paragraph. And there are plenty of opportunities for photographing such buildings - both houses and outhouses - on Lewis. GB has certain buildings in mind to go back to when the light is just right.ReplyDelete
I hope the light will be just right very soon, so that I can admire the pictures of GB's Places of Interest on both your blogs.Delete
Well you can add me to the list. I shall have to look out a photo I took of a abandoned cost when I was 16. Long long before it would ever have occurred to me that I would one day live on a Scottish island 20 miles out into the Atlantic.. Your mention of Bornholm also interested me. In the 90's someone from the local government of Bornholm came on an official visit to Lewis and we became friends. Unfortunately (due to my personal circumstances at the time) we lost touch.ReplyDelete
How interesting to hear of your Bornholm connection, Graham, although you lost touch with that person. My Dad and my sister have been to Bornholm in May for a holiday; it was great for my Dad to be able to catch up with his oldest sister, and the pictures my sister showed me made me remember my own holidays there.Delete
An intriguing post. I share your fascination - so many stories...ReplyDelete
Thank you, Mike.Delete