An American tourist visits Gardelegen

Streets which follow the former town wall are in yellow

In planning my trip to Gardelegen in May 2002, I searched through all the travel guidebooks that I could find: Fodor's, Frommer's, Rough Guide, Let's Go and many others. None of them mentioned Gardelegen whatsoever. When I arrived in the town, it was instantly clear to me why this town is not a tourist stop. The train station was boarded up tight and although Gardelegen is on a main railroad line which runs due east from Amsterdam to Berlin, the high-speed ICE trains do not stop there. In Germany, the Autobahn does not pass through towns like Gardelegen, so it is well off the beaten path.

To me, as a casual observer, the people of the town of Gardelegen seemed to be unhappy and beaten down. There was no joy in Gardelegen. It was not a happy place. There were very few sidewalk cafe tables where tourists could exchange pleasantries with the natives, maybe because there were virtually no tourists. I noticed that the habit of leaning out of an open window and looking out onto the street, which is a typical German custom, was very common in Gardelegen, but I did not see any happy exchanges of conversation with passersby. The two photographs below were taken on the main street of the town.

Main street of Gardelegen is for pedestrians only

Abandoned store on main street has wall covered with graffiti




This page was last updated on March 29, 2007