Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

From plan A to plan B to plan C...

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Yesterday was another interesting day, but it's the first time that our overnight choices didn't really pan out. From plan A to plan B to plan C!

I had read of an odd sight to see... 24 military tanks in an otherwise empty field in the middle of nowhere. I had also read that there was a decent overnight spot where we could stay near that area. 

We arrived there to find that there was a lot more to it, and it's an interesting story.

The entire area is an active military zone and military exercises are still conducted there, although it seems not very often.

But the parking area is at the former village of Wahn. And that's where we learned the story.

Wahn was an historic German village that had existed since the 9th century. In the 1700's, a new church was built. In 1877, the military company Krupp bought a bunch of land south of the village to use it as a shooting range. As military armament improved, the so named Meppen Shooting Range was expanded until it couldn't expand any farther because of the town of Wahn. None of this mattered after World War I as the shooting range was put out of use. In 1926, the old church was completely renovated.

However the beginning of the end came in 1936 when Hitler visited the area, and decided in his madness that the town must be demolished in order to expand the shooting range. By 1939, the first villagers were relocated, and by 1941 all 177 families had been removed from their land. Every building was demolished in 1942, including the recently renovated church. By the end of 1944 the Meppen shooting range was put out of service. 

Since 2006, there has been a movement by those who remember the town and don't want it forgotten. They excavated the site where the church was, and many of the cobbled roads that once made up the town. They have installed many plaques at the locations of where people lived, with photos of what the homes looked like at the time.

A road in the old town.

Map of how many homes were once here.

We walked about a kilometer through the forest and came to a closed gate, but one that you could easily walk around. Then there was a sign...

Meppen Shooting Range.
Active military area. Risk of death. Entry restricted and violators will be prosecuted.

And on the opposite side of that is the field with the tanks...

There are 24 tanks in this field.

Later, I read online that they are sometimes used as target practice by military helicopters.
Looking at photos online, it seems the fence is fairly new.

From there, we walked on a path that lead on a circular route back to the main road and then to where we were parked.

Even though it's all marked as an active military area, the fields are used by farmers.

I climbed the ladder to have a look around.

Some kind of military bunker?

Back at Max, we took a family photo!

A car drove up with a family in it, and they got out to read some of the informational signs. An older woman came up to Max, and I went and opened the door. She was speaking German, and I tried to explain that we don't. Her adult grandson came over and did some translating. It turns out this woman was born in the former town of Wahn, and she was just visiting the area. Her husband's name is on one of the informational boards.

Interesting stuff.

We were going to stay there overnight, but I had some online work to do and the cell signal was poor. We decided to move on to Plan B at the town of Haselünne where there is a free motorhome parking area.

Along the way, we stopped in at this brand new wooden church...

A replica of the wooden churches in northern Romania.


We got to the free motorhome area in Haselünne and it was packed...

Yikes. No thanks!

They were all packed in together. Not our style.

Plan C was another location listed on the other side of town, so we drove over there. It was better, but not very level. I was done though, so we made it as best as we could, and stayed the night. Not everything always works out! But it was okay and we slept well. 

Today is supposed to be a pleasant 22C (72F) with no rain in the forecast.


And in Canada...


  1. History repeats itself. I'll never understand how we let it happen.

    1. There are times it seems when there is nothing people can do to change the situation. Think of all the towns that get displaced whenever a dam gets built! Still it is sad that this happened to this little town, especially when the military area ended up closing down only two years after it opened :-(

  2. On the sign was written: Blindgaenger! Lebensgefahr! That means unexploded bomb or shell! Risk of death!

    1. Thank you for the proper translation Renate. I am glad then that we didn't go further in.


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