Text and all photographs © 2005, Hugh Wallis - All Rights Reserved
So now I headed further north to check out the Vennbahn and to try and find some indication of the answer to whether some of the so called German exclaves formed by this Belgian railway cutting through Germany really are exclaves or not. The fact that the treaty that assigns Belgian sovereignty to this railway apparently refers to the "track bed" makes me wonder whether there is, in fact, a "Vertical Differentiation of Sovereignty" (VDoS) wherever there is a bridge over or under the railway.
First of all, though, a stop at the BEDE border
|My crossing into Germany (in the blue circle) and the Ruitzhof exclave (entry in the red circle)|
|My car is on the other side of the road, in Germany, I am in Belgium and the border is where the road surface changes|
|The information sign for the region just in Germany|
Now on to the Ruitzhof exclave. I found the actual position of the border here quite confusing and I was really starting to feel the time crunch so I didn,t investigate as closely as I would have liked.
|Heading down the road from Kalterherberg I stopped to record the German speed info sign (looking up the hill).|
|Looking down the hill from the same spot we see Belgium and the Vennbahn.|
|Having crossed over the railway I think I am back in Germany (those signs look German), looking back towards the railway (which is the other side of the bridge).|
|Returning back looking up the road to Kalterherberg across the Vennbahn. I think I'm still in Germany.|
|Standing on the level crossing I'm definitely in Belgium.|
On to the Mützenich maybe exclave.
|First stop is the bridge in the blue circle, second stop a cache in the red circle.|
|One of the things I was looking for at this bridge was evidence that the road surface under the railway is Belgian territory. The railway itself, which runs across the bridge, is Belgian and this is celebrated by the fact that there is a cache called belgian in germany cache in the railbed on the top of the bridge. I found this cache but viewed it as a bonus because I wasn't going to count it as being in Germany and I had made sure I had already found one in Belgium proper. As you can see clearly from this photo there is no evidence whatsoever of any change in ownership of the road under the bridge - not that that is definitive as regards evidence of sovereignty (there might be a contract in place for road maintenance between Belgium and Germany - says nothing about sovereignty). I wonder what would be the legal situation if there were an accident under the bridge - I resisted the temptation to cause one to put that to the test though. This photo is looking west.|
|This is a view of the road on the other side (west) of the bridge, taken from the bridge, looking north.|
|This is a view of the east side of the bridge, looking south.|
Now to find my German cache - Kaiser Karls Bettstatt (in the red circle on the map above). You can read about the historical significance of this place on the geocaching website - but here are a few additional pictures. There's a border interest here too.
|This is a view of the small area around the stone - the fence behind it marks the border with Belgium.|
|And a close up of the stone itself - doesn't look too comfortable.|
|And some information. A kind correspondent has provided the
following translation for me:
"Kaiser Karl’s Bettstatt" at Mützenich (Emperor Charles’ Bedstead at Muetzenich)
According to legend Emperor Charles the Great was once compelled to spend
a night on this big quartzite block during one of his hunting trips. He, the
passionate hunter, had been once more hunting with his entourage in the
imperial forest. Loudly echoed the sounds of the hunting-horns, the joyful
barking of the agile pack of hounds and the crying of the beaters, and ahead
of them the noble emperor on a spirited horse, pursuing the trace of a deer
or aurochs. The imperial forest, though, was large, and the thicket and the
swampy area hard to oversee. So, until night fell, they wandered around
through the forest, far away from the royal court at Konzen.
Now I am really panicking over time. I was torn between wanting to investigate the Vennbahn more and finding my 5th cache which was quite some distance away. Since I knew this cache would also provide the boundary marker of the most southerly point in the Netherlands I opted to go for it. It was a nerve wracking drive which took me through Eupen, which was much larger than I had realised. I had also wanted to check out Neutral Moresnet and I was very torn as I drove through Moresnet but felt I could not afford the time to stop there. I had also wanted to visit the BEDENL tripoint but had to leave that for another day. Anyway I arrived at the ZUID.NL cache at about 1310 - found the cache right away - 5 done!!! - and took some photos.
|The cache and marker are shown in the blue circle|
|From the Netherlands side|
|From the Belgium side|
Now - program the Tom Tom to take me to FRA - 257 km and it's already 1320 - flight leaves at 1700. Let's hope there are no traffic jams on the Autobahn. Suffice it to say that I get there by 1530 and make it to my flight OK