In german we use a lot of english phrases in our daily life, which are often not used this way by english native speakers. I think, 'Lost place' is one of this phrases. (But please correct me, when I'm wrong.) What we call in german 'Lost Places' are in the rest of the world 'Abandoned Places'. In Germany 'Lost-place-photography' is very popular. The old Hotel Waldlust in Freudenstadt in the northern Black Forest, is a very popular location for photographers, regardless whether they are amateurs or profis.
This hotel was once the most iconic luxury hotel in the Black Forest Region. First opened in 1902, the hotel experienced its heydays in the 30ies. The former guestlist contains kings, queens, actors, poets, intellectuals and other high society members of that period. It had agencies in overseas, for this reason it gained international attention and prestige.
Isn't that strange? I live in a digital world, full of technical tools, like internet, smartphone, mails and receive news within only a few minutes after they happened from all over the world, but when I first heard about this hotel, I asked: 'Where the hell is Freudenstadt? ' But the silent- film actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks knew! Once in the 30ies Douglas asked Mary : 'Hey Mary, Hollywood bores me. Let's spend some weeks in Freudenstadt in Hotel Waldlust.' And Mary answered : 'Oh yes, Douggy Darling ! I always wanted to visit famous Freudenstadt with it's famous Grandhotel Waldlust!' How did they know about it without internet??? I mean, Freudenstadt isn't New York, London, or Paris! It's just a little town in a big forest. I guess, this oversea agencies must have done a pretty good marketing job.
Back to the history of Waldlust....
After the world war II, when the Waldlust was used as a hospital, the hotel reopend again in the 50s. But it never regained the popularity it had in the beginning of the 20th century. So after several owner changes, the hotel closed finally its doors for the public in 2005 and since that time it's abandoned.
Luckely the Association for cultural monuments - Verein für Kulturdenkmale Freudenstadt - tries to preserve this old historic building and to protect it from vandalism. In addition to guided tours and events, the Assosiation also offers some dates for 'Lost-place-shootings' during the year. You have to pay a fee about 30 Euros and get the possibility to stroll for 4 hours, independent and everwhere, through the house and make your photos. The fee will be taken for 100% for the preservation of the building. When I've been there, we were all together 30 photographers from different parts of germany. We were told, that no larger groups will be let in, so that nobody gets in each others way. The hotel has around 80 rooms on 4 floors and all the other facilities a hotel usually has (Bar, Lounge etc.), so you can imagine, that everybody had lots of possibilities, to shoot without any hectic and interuption. Nude and blood-photography are not allowed. Dessous photography is allowed. (...No no boys, no need to scroll down quickly, I just mention it, I didn't make any dessous photos. 😜)
In lots of the rooms are still some furniture, some are the old ones from the time the hotel closed, but I heard, that there once was a film team and they also left behind some of the furniture they used as requisites. Oh yes - and how could it be otherwise - there are lots of stories about paranormal activities in the house. I don't believe in such things like ghosts, but I can imagine how creepy it must be, to spend all alone a night in this hotel... :-)
After spending nearly 4 hours in the hotel, I was tired, sweaty, exhausted and if a fairy would have given me the choice between a Tesla-share or a cold shower, no doubt, my choice would have been the cold shower. But than I opened the door to a room, where all the written documents of the house were stored.
Believe me, I wished, I had another 4 hours (no shower necessary anymore) to dug into all that documents. But unfortunately I had only a few minutes left for a quick look. I found this old index-card from 1934, obviously used, to store informations about the guests of the hotel. I made the below photo and placed it back into the basket where I found it. Below the photo, you find my translation in english. The bold notes I added as additional information.
Name of the Guest: Zubiria, Mr. T. de / "Deusto" (is a district in the spanish town Bilbao) Spain. Travels with Secretary Gonzalo Perez...must be exorbitant rich. Was in the Bar with Terra (manually added : and Jean) - Spanish Blueshirt.- ('Spanish Falange Organization - extreme nationalist political group - in one word : fascists- in german they were called 'Blauhemden'. )
Returning from a visit at the spanish king, whom he brought 60.000 signatures. (manually added : And money!). Was 3 times in prison. Very, very kind but needs women and action. Wants to revisit us. Interesting. Z: 230 (could be room nbr. 230, ) MK: 20.-alc (maybe spend Mark 20,- for alcohol ?? Reichsmark was the german currency from 1924-1948). 06.sep-07.sep.1934 (I suggest, this is the date of the night he spend in the hotel.) Wants to speak german - studied in Darmstadt (german town near Frankfurt/M.)
(The last sentence seems to be added 1 and 1/2 Year later in 1936) :
On transfer to Darmstadt, (Came in) to say Grüß Gott (God day/hello).Now Mercedes-Representative with beautiful car.- Kind: 18Mar1936
For me, this room is the treasure box of the house! I bet, there are hunderts of stories about the hotel and the guests and the history to find.
If anybody of you want to buy the Waldlust, I think you get it for around 1.3 million euros. (But keep in mind, you need around 35million euros for the inside and outside renovations...) Oh yes, and please don't forget to invite me to the reopening, ok?! ;-)
Finally I have to say, the 'Verein für Kulturdenkmale Freudenstadt ' is really doing a great job. They invest a lot of time, energy and heart and soul into this project to keep it alive as long as possible. But at least it can't be ignored, the time already left deep wounds and as sad as it is, I think the Hotel Waldlust is dying a long, slow death. Really sad !