Civilian Border Travel and Travelogues
Once the economic miracle boosted disposable incomes and increased motorization, a “travel wave” engulfed West Germany. On domestic tourist maps and atlases, the Iron Curtain loomed large. To trace the development of the infrastructure that facilitated the “prayer wall,” the chapter contextualizes the new era’s destinations within a century of mobility in the Bohemian Forest, influenced by the works of the realist classic Adalbert Stifter. Whereas “dark tourism” prevailed at the inter-German border, along the “prayer wall” visitors borrowed from their literary precursors. They deployed travelogues—borderland reports—to reconcile the area’s idyll and danger. A close reading of these unstudied narratives suggests that they produced a new sense of spatial discernment as much as exposed their Sudeten German authors’ tangled East-West affinities.
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