Photos 2018: Germany

We spent two weeks staying in the Harz Mountains, an area popular with German tourists but where few foreigners seem to go. There are still echoes of a darker past – Nazi death camps, devastation from Allied bombing and division by the Iron Curtain – but a massive reconstruction programme has restored many of the old towns, and new facilities are being developed to go alongside the natural beauty of the area.

Miriam on the ferry from Dover to Dunkerque

On our way! The English summer heatwave followed us across the Channel

A reservoir dam with a passenger bridge alongside it

The Rappbodestausee, Germany’s highest dam: the Hängebrücke, a more modern addition built alongside it, is the longest bridge of its type in the world

Looking along a hanging bridge

Looking along the Hängebrücke: the cabin underneath is for the use of bungee jumpers

A steam railway engine

Passengers admire the steam engine on the Brockenbahn

View along a steam train as it winds through a forest

The steam train took us by a winding route to the Brocken, the highest point in north Germany

Two buildings with radomes on top, and a radio mast

At the summit of the Brocken: during the Communist era the radomes were used to listen in on the West

Miriam and Phil in front of a height marker

Miriam and Phil at the summit of the Brocken, the highest point in north Germany

A medieval building at one end of a town square

The Rathaus (town hall) in the impossibly quaint medieval town of Quedlinburg

A row of historic painted houses

A street in Quedlinburg

Miriam and Phil in front of a sign marking the former border between East and West Germany

Cold War relics: Martin, who took this photo, was still a baby when the Iron Curtain was torn down

A watchtower

Once a highly secure zone, this section of the former DDR border defences is now an open air museum

A barbed wire fence

The Communist régime built fences to keep its people in: now European countries are building fences to keep people out

A view across fields

On a walk near the village of Benneckenstein: in the distance is the Brocken, the highest point in the Harz Mountains

A sunset with low clouds in the sky

Sunset in Friedrichsbrunn, the village where we stayed

The Moon next to a church spire

The church at Friedrichsbrunn where Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed by the Nazis, was once pastor

A small fountain with flowers in the background

A fountain at Schloss Wernigerode

Miriam in the shadow of a pergola

Miriam finds some shade from the heat at Schloss Wernigerode

A dining hall with a full dinner service

Elegant dining at Schloss Wernigerode

Four saxophone players

In historic Wernigerode we came across an unexpectedly modern music festival

A flower box on a metal railing with a tree-lined gorge in the background

For part of its length the River Bode flows through a deep tree-lined gorge

A stone memorial

Curiosity about a symbol on a map led us to the site of a former concentration camp and this memorial to its victims: on another day we visited the Mittelbau-Dora camp where the Nazis used forced labour to build aircraft and rockets in underground tunnels

A cable car with a valley in the background

A cable car connects the town of Thale with tourist attractions on the plateau above it, the Hexentanzplatz

A wild sheep, with curved horns

Wild sheep (Mouflon) at Tierpark Hexentanzplatz

Great horned owl

Wise old bird: Great horned owl at Tierpark Hexentanzplatz