Опасная зона

Опасная зона

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tripoint Borders II: Slovakia, Hungaria and Austria

After the first tripoint border post where Germany meets Poland and the Czech republic I will now go a bit further south. Summer 2011 I visited colleagues in Bratislava, and took a look on a primary standard dosimetry laboratory. I stayed in a little village south of Bratislava called Čunovo [Tschoo-no-vo]. I knew the Austrian border was just a few kilometers upstream the Danube river, but what I did not realize was, how close I was to the Hungarian border as well. It was just a few 100 meters away, which I found out when I got back to Aarhus, and checked my maps. The border tripoint was just 2 km east.
I missed it, unknowingly. Bummer.

Bad luck, but fortunately I got a second chance. In November I was in Čunovo again, and I convinced my friends to take me to the border tripoint (they've been living 20 years in Čunovo, but have never vistied the tripoint themselves. How can anyone be not as geeky as me?).

View Tripoint: AT, SK, HU in a larger map

So we took their dog for a walk (a black and rather friendly minded Labrador, who occasionally reacts on the name "Arwi" and to various goodies).
Eva, Tibor and Linda (who doesn't live in Čunovo, but Melbourne, Australia - the country WITH kangaroos), clearly thinking "why do we have to go here, where is he taking us". Arwi, the friendly black Labrador, is obviously fine with it.

The Hungarian-Slovakian border was interesting, a true prototype checkpoint, almost taken out of a Tintin Hergé comic.

Just crossed the border, this is on the Hungarian side, facing north, to Slovakia. The checkpoint building seemed to be unoccupied for years. In the electric lines over the rail tracks to the left there is a small square sign which indicates an upcoming interruption in the power supply. Yeah, I pay attention to such weird details.

I've only been once to Hungary during the solar eclipse in 1999, (Kiskunhalas, a real tourist trap!). Language is totally incomprehensible, here I am obviously approaching the "Magyar Köztársagág".

Yeah, Köztársaság, bring it on!


Half of me in Slovakia, other part in Hungary. (Clothes borrowed from Tibor, thanks. Linda spilled carbonated drinks all over me in the plane to Vienna and I smelled like a brewery.)

Sun setting in the west (no kidding), along the Slovak/Hungarian border. Austria (that country WITHOUT kangaroos) at the horizon.
The countryside is flat, almost "Nordfriesland" like (close to where I grew up), which is also pan-cake flat like. Just without the sheeps and cattle. And the sea. And the miserable gray weather.

After a 20 min walk we reached the tripoint.

That's it! The white pillar marks the tripoint. Standing in Austria "Ö" (NO kangaroos), facing east, Hungary "M" to the right, Slovakia in the background.

Triplex point.
Very little was left from the original border from the pre-Schengen era.

A piece of the original barbered wire fence between Slovakia and Hungary.
Around the tripoint a few art installations could be found. Various rocks were scattered around, shaped and piled in different ways. In the left side of the picture above you may recognize a flat rock. I have no picture of its surface, but it was triangular with many alien-like hieroglyphs across it.

Update: got it (thanks again, Tibor)...
There seems to be some kind of link between Bratislava and aliens. Think also of the top restaurant of the "Novy Most" (= "new bridge") over the Danube: it is UFO shaped, and I'm sure it can detach from the bridge if necessary. (:)|-<

Navigation aid for aliens. Get the idea? I feel a conspiracy uncovering.
The (still friendly minded) Labrador Arwi was more into chasing rabbits in the fields. Both the rabbits and Arwi crossed borders multiple times during the chase, underlining that borders are a creation of human minds, not of those of dogs and rabbits (or aliens).

There are "Pozor"s in the field. Beware.

Certainly worth going there, so thanks to Eva, Tibor and Linda for being patient with me, and Arwi for being the friendly black Labrador she is.
(Arvi missing, found another rabbit.)

All photos made with crappy mobile phone camera, more weird photos may be discovered here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tripoint Borders I: Germany, Poland, Czech Republic

In Europe there are plenty of border tripoints, and I have a long term plan to visit them all. Or, after realizing some may require some serious mountain climbing, at least most of them.
It should be a rather easy task for most points though, they are not guarded in any way, due to the Schengen agreement. This post is about the first one I visited back in 2008 or so. Here the borders of Poland, Germany and the Czech republic meet. I had some time off in Dresden, so I took a local train to Zittau. The train ride was an hour or so, and quite interesting, stopping on "wild west" like villages (in eastern Germany. Right.) mostly going parallel with the German side on the Czech-German border. At one point the tracks of Deutsche Bahn cross into the Czech republic for a few 100 meters, just south of the village Oppach. This area is also known as "Fugauer Zipfel" where once a Bohemian village "Fukov" existed. During the 50'ies there were some unsuccessful attempts by the GDR to swap the area.

View Larger Map

Arrived at Zittau railway station, the tripoint is about 40 min walk way. The tripoint is best reached from the Polish or Czech side.
Border checkpoint Germany/Poland.

I crossed the border from Germany to Poland at a checkpoint "Friedensstraße", and walked south along the Lusatian Neisse (Lausitzer Neiße) river.

First time in Poland. Sign tells you to beware of the "Pozor"s..
I've been to most countries in Europe, but strangely enough, this should be the first time I enter Poland.

View 50.870328, 14.823275 in a larger map

The triplex point is in the middle of the Neisse river which divides south western Poland and eastern Germany.
A closed bridge. Poland here, Germany there.

There is also a very small stream which separates Poland from the Czech republic, small enough you can just step over it.

Facing south, a corner of the Czech republic. Poland is the bit of grass to the lower left. Germany is out of sight on the right side of the Neisse river.

Border stone separating Poland from the Czech republic. Seems the D was changed into a P.
Standing on the Czech side, facing north. The small white and the larger monument to the right is entirely on the Czech side.

The actual tripoint is inaccessible, unless you are prepared to get wet feet.
Standing on the Czech side. The green grass to the upper left is in Germany, and plants on the right side are Polish. The actual tripoint is somewhere in the river above my head.
Water looked too cold, I didn't want to overdo things.
Complete gallery on Picasa.

Coming up, pics from the tripoint at Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.