Visiting a Restricted Area
And also crossing the border into Denmark
Not a lot of people may visit those wonderful brick buildings of the Naval Academy at Mürwik in Flensburg, the most northern city of Germany.
Through coincidence, I got the chance and thoroughly enjoyed the walk through these hallowed halls, steeped in history.
It was here, in the final days of World War II 1945, where Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz assumed the office of President (Reichspräsident) of Germany. Adolf Hitler himself had named him his successor before committing suicide in Berlin. Dönitz moved from nearby Glücksburg to the Naval Academy at Mürwik to establish the Flensburg government. Soon after the final surrender to the Allies, they were unseated and arrested on 23. May 1945 by British troops. This made Flensburg the capital of Germany for nearly 20 days.
For me it was surprising to learn, that the Government stayed in power for so many days even after the capitulation.
I visited the building Dönitz was arrested in, as well as the main building. It is kind of humbling to walk through the same halls, where for 100 years now naval officers are educated. Emperor Wilhelm II. gave the order to build this Academy.
The eagle looks very much in the style of Third Reich. The building is under heritage protection, so only the swastica was removed.
The famous door, through which Grand Admiral Dönitz was lead at his arrest.
But even though this building is historic, it is still quite plain. The main building of the Academy shows much more interesting architecture. Bricks were produced in the area along the coast line of the Flensburg Fjord.
On my way to the main entrance.
Cast iron lamp
Figurehead of STS ‘Gorch Fock‘, the tall ship of the German Navy.
View of the Astronomy Tower.
Over there is the dining hall, with outside eating area on a terrace.
I got a tour of those several parts of the building. In many places one was strongly reminded of the Harry Potter movies. Except here everything is warm red brick instead of cool grey granite. But the long hallways, the historic doorframes with their paintings, the walldecorations, everything was just awesome.
I never knew, bricks can be so intricate. Behind this fancy wall is the main entrance area of the academy.
How many generations of officer candidates had to polish this bell to keep it shining?
Brickwork detail. Just amazing.
Interestingly, there were not only naval or maritim designs used in the elaborate decorations, but also animals.
Here a stained glass panel with feeding crows.
The German proverb of ‘Rabeneltern’, crow parents, is totally misleading, as crows are actually very caring parents.
But I wouldn’t be in a naval academy, if there weren’t maps somewhere. This was a very detailed map of Northern Europe at the warddrobe area of the dining hall.
The terrace outside the dining hall, with view down the Flensburg Fjord.
A long hallway with modell ships and interesting columns.
and fancy doorframe in the background.
Owl and eagle capital on another column
The fancy brickwork didn’t stop at intricate patterns, but there are also wall decorations at the staircase, burnt into the bricks. All sorts of animals, as well as windmills and shells could be found.
Fish, dragonfly, seahorses, crane. Those are just a few of the decorations.
A staircase to dream of. I couldn’t stop looking around. I wonder, if I had to attend school here, if I still would marvel about the lovely brickworks?
Leaving the building I could have a last look on a sailors dream. Or is it?
Big busted and beautiful she is…
View from the harbour up.
The view of the Naval Academy from one of the harbours. (And yes, of course there was a cache….)
Another cache lead us into the museum harbour of Flensburg, only old and wooden sailingships were allowed here. This is what a landlubber like me loves to see in a harbour city. Boats, sails, ropes and such.
Old ships in the museum harbour with Sankt Marien Church in the background.
Wooden crane to unload the ships.
Just what one would expect in a coastal city: Lots of sailing boats.
An Earthcache in the area brought us to a beach not full of pebbles but bricks.
Aparently there used to be quite a number of brickyards along the Flensburg Fjord.
Not pepples but bricks. A very strange beach.
As Flensburg is really quite close to Denmark, we went over the border past all those shopping centres for the day tourists. In Denmark Beer and other spirits are quite dear, so lots of people take a day trip just over the border into Germany to buy cheap beer. We weren’t interested in beer, but in caches, so we took a drive along the coast towards Sønderborg. We found a few interesting places as well as boring places. While we in Kassel have a series of caches at churches, here in the Sønderborg area, they fancy fire stations. Which is tricky on a Saturday afternoon, as lots of the volunteer fire brigades meet on Saturday afternoons.
We also found a cache at a cute little lighthouse. Just what a child would draw, was it asked to draw a lighthouse. White and red, with colourful light, as the fjord is quite dangerous to sail. There’s only a tiny sector green light, lot’s of red sectors and then of course white light.
The box at the foot of the lighthouse was a sizeable ammo can, so just a perfect place.
Gammel Pøl fyr
Just a classic little lighthouse.
We went back into Sønderborg for something to eat and then searched for a place to park for the night. We found a quiet spot close to an restored windmill.
The old windmill is now a tourist attraction.
View of the Flensburg Fjord
A weekend isn’t enough to see all of the beautiful places this area has to offer. But it was a nice start to learn more. I especially enjoyed the visit at the Naval Academy. Thanks for this opportunity.