Despite a 2.2 bn regeneration programme, the Lusatian Lake District project, on land once occupied by the GDRs industrial heartland, remains relatively unknown to non-east Germans. So we took a tour
This was once one of the dirtiest areas in East Germany, says Sren, my tour guide from IBA Tours, as our bikes swoosh through the Lusatian Lake District. When I was growing up here, before the Wall fell, we never hung our laundry outside, and we never wore white socks, because we knew they wouldnt be white after a few minutes. The coal dust was everywhere, all the time.
Its difficult to connect this information with the pristine scenery around us, all rising pine forests, glistening lakes and immaculate asphalt cycle tracks. The only other major signs of life have been a smattering of fellow cyclists and a sedge of cranes in a field. We havent heard, let alone watched, a motorised vehicle and theres surely no coal dust in the air now.