Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Historical hotels: A creepy night at Wolf's Lair, Poland

One of the creepiest places I've ever spent the night was at Wolf's Lair (aka Wolfschanze in German, or Wilczym Szancu in Polish), near the town of Gierloz in the north of Poland. I stayed in a hotel on the site at the very place where Hitler spent a significant amount of time during World War Two (800 days in fact, if you ask Wikipedia). In other words, this wasn't a place that Hitler just happened to pass through now and again, but one of his main headquarters during the war, and even more historically significant as he was almost assassinated here in 1944 by Claus von Stauffenberg.

Previously the Post Office at Wolfschanze
These days, the grounds of Wolf's Lair are at once a beautiful place - green, mossy and natural - and a scary one - full of partially destroyed concrete bunkers and the remnants of a brutal history. The hotel building apparently housed Hitler's personal security, and the restaurant is in a former bunker. Contrary to my concerns, it was actually a really pleasant place to stay and the bonus was that I was already in the grounds of Wolf Lair in the morning before any of the tourist buses rolled in. Yes, it's a slightly creepy place to take an early morning walk, but it's pretty unique. I was just glad not to have been there sixty years earlier.

Hitler's bunker at Wolfschanze
A reader recently emailed me to ask me for details of this hotel - it's not that easy to find out about, but so worth a stay, so I was glad to be able to send them the details (and if you're also keen on staying there, there are contact details at the bottom of this Wolf's Lair website). It's been one of those weeks actually with people wanting some tips on teaching ESL in Europe, others wondering about how best to experience Tasmania - in other words, one of those weeks where I think I should stop giving other people advice and start planning another trip myself! Must go and add that to the to-do list ...

But to come full circle: have you ever stayed in a creepy place? Let me know in the comments.

4 comments:

  1. Never in such a creepy place but I once took a room in an hotel in Soho, New-York, without realizing that it had absolutely no window. I am a bit claustrophobic and I felt totally oppressed when it came to go to sleep. I ended up by switching off the light and leaving the door slightly open. Curiously, I then managed to fall asleep !

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    1. No window wouldn't suit me very well either - though leaving the door open would probably be worse for me!

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  2. Replies
    1. LOL - I never really thought about that, but you're right!

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