The Brocken is the highest mountain in the Harz mountain range and in northern Germany. It is probably Germany’s most iconic mountain as many stories and tales are connected to it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was inspired to write his famous masterpiece “Faust” here.
It was and again is one of Germany’s most popular tourist sites, in summer or winter. Communication interception devices of the former East German Republic and the Russian army were placed up here on the mountain close to the former border. Hiking in the area was not allowed and if you got lost, you could ended up in a control of some Russian soldiers as a couple in the train driving up on the mountain told me. But after some shared cigarettes the soldiers turned out to be polite and friendly and helped the astray person out. The original steam train “Brockenbahn” is an attraction of its own and as no other duck before had been photographed on a steam train Sheila had to do the job.
We came at another hot day in a hot summer and there were a lot of problems with forest fires. Some of them probably triggered by the fire and sparks of the locomotives. So they are also equipped with fire extinguishing devices and our train on the way too stopped and the staff fought a small fire along the track. Some of the local distilleried “Schnaps” was sold on the train and Sheila and I shared one and though about some old stories told by friends we heard about moonshiner in Sugar Creek, Missouri in the prohibition times. The Harz, a very poor area in Germany in the old days, has some interesting village names like “Elend”, in the “Elendstal” (misery in the misery valley, Goethe stayed here too) Or “Sorge” (worries) close to Elend.
Like in many other poor sites producing Schnaps officially or in the moonshine is and was a way to make a living.
Sheila also went hiking in the dark, deep forests of the Harz.
Starting point of the train up on the Borcken is the town of Wernigerode which hosted the “Duckomenta” a important art Exhibition 2017 in castle Wernigerode.
Credit: Maps Icons Collection, https://mapicons.mapsmarker.com
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