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New stuff for this site has been somewhat overdue. Thanks to beautiful weather and the numerous religious holidays here in Germany as of late, I finally found some time for my favorite hobby. And I also went exploring a bit.
Equipped with a ticket that allowed me to ride all public transportation in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for a day I set out to check some locations off my todo list. A list of precisely 2 items that I had put together the night before.
Thanks to smartphones and Apps, navigating through completely unknown territory has become quick and easy, even using public transport. After walking a few hundred meters from the train station, I was looking at the front of the massive formation of factory and administrative buildings I had seen on Google Earth and Street View earlier. I started looking for a spot a little out of sight where I could hop a fence or wall but as it turned out, the front door was slightly ajar.
Inside, I could hear the footsteps of somebody else. I remained silent and listened for a few minutes. He clearly didn't move around like he owned the place, so I stepped out and just yelled "Hello!" down the corridor. A guy with a compact camera walked out of one of the offices, noticed my camera on the tripod and let out a sigh of relief. Always a pleasure to accidentally scare fellow explorers.
From the admin building, I found my way into the storage area. A couple of big halls, all of them empty save for a few smaller items and tools. Brick and mortar walls combined with some concrete construction work, just the way I like it. Some people were working very loudly on the roof, but since it was an official holiday and there were no permission slips posted outside, they must have been scrappers. At least I could be sure the owner/security/police hadn't showed up yet as long as I could still hear them.
Back in School, we had once made our own paper in chemistry class. I still roughly remembered some of the steps involved, so I had at least a vague idea of what may have happened in the different production facilities. Basically, there are lots and lots of tubs and tanks where water and wood fibers are mixed with other ingredients and cooked. At the end, the pulp is spread out somewhere to dry, cut to size and rolled up on huge coils.
Unfortunately, all of the machinery had been sold after the factory went bankrupt some years ago. Most other metal has also been sold or was in the process of being stolen. The leftover inventory was all made of either wood or concrete. I could hear another group of scrappers that was active one or two floors above me, but I never managed to encounter them.
The factory consisted of so many halls and floors that I had no idea where exactly I was. I had been walking around for hours and not seen the same spot twice. But as the hall I was in didn't seem to lead anywhere else, I decided to turn around and look for a way out. Once I stood on the street again, I trusted my Apps to guide me the rest of the way home.
Find a whole lot more pictures of this place in the Gallery:
Paper Factory H.
And don't forget to try the new zoom function on the ones you like!