As you ride north on Königsbrücker the city begins to unravel, buildings slowly becoming sparser, spreading themselves out between abandoned lots until the trees are growing on the buildings themselves and you find yourself in a tiny city, mostly abandoned: the industrial district. To get inside you can climb over fences from the front, or up a hill and through apocalyptic-looking piles of rubble from the Heide behind. Some of the buildings remain in use, while the rest form a labyrinth of architectural corpses, innards gutted and removed, a horror-film-soundtrack dripdroping to the offbeat meow of a lost alley cat, the last echo of a black-shuttered death rattle.
There’s enough empty real estate here to house an army of squatters. An army of squatters! I think to myself. If we all showed up on the same day, they could never arrest us all! I imagined hoards of people pouring in on freight trains and bikes, in caravans of red and blue wagons. The smell of dumpstered vegetables roasting over pallet bonfires. Patched pants. Tough wiry dogs with their tough wiry owners. Squatters swinging Tarzan-style between windows of the 15-story (former) army barracks…
Many of the buildings show signs of having been squatted already: an arrow topped “N” scrawled on a roof, curling yellowed theater advertisements, a blackboard to-do list—”1. locks 2. phone numbers 3. plan 4. suicide” read the headings—blue-tinged cut-outs of naked women pinned in neat rows along the wall, empty spray paint cans, damp shoes waiting to be claimed by every rag-tag Cinderella in the valley.
Further north along Königsbrücker, past blocks of human filing cabinets and chinzy motels you’ll find Klotzsche.
Klotzsche has never been mentioned in a travel guide or featured in one of those “Travel’s Best Kept Secrets” articles. No one will ever recommend that you go there, and unless you happen to fly from the Dresden airport, you probably never will.
A name like a slap in the face—Klotzsche!—a word you’d expect to find exploding over Adam West’s head in an old episode of Batman—and a town like a limp-wristed slap. One of its few redeeming qualities are the supermarkets, or rather, the dumpsters behind them. Unless you don’t have a car. In which case, you might actually be burning more calories getting there than you gain in remaindered cucumbers and bell peppers. Dresden is in a valley, and that means that everything outside of it is uphill.
And therein lies Klotzsche’s other redeeming quality: on a bike the entire ride home is down.