Reality experience vacations are increasing in popularity, with folks taking time away from the grind to herd cattle at dude ranches, go to sea on fishing boats or spend time working the land on farms.
One vacation scheme that seems geared toward those with more money than common sense is set in Germany, where tourists can “experience the life of a German communist soldier.”
Smart Meetings magazine attempts to make the Cold War-themed retreat sound intriguing:
Imagine marching through a forest in central Germany at the command of the Stasi secret police. Once you reach a 1970s-era bunker – concealed by a hut with army tanks camped outside – there is a lot of work to be done. Bunk beds need to be made, women must peel and chop potatoes for dinner and men are made to stand guard and prepare a hearty roast made from local spiced sausages.
Uh, I think not.
But wait: Visitors get to wear People’s Army trousers, jackets, belts, caps and gas masks.
The hotel, located in the town of Frauenwald, is said to be very popular with those who want a “taste of historic, post-World War II Germany.”
Yes, that was a delightful time, wasn’t it? I’m sure the 2 million East Germans who poured into West Germany in a 48-hour period after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 were only doing so to tell their brethren in the west about the utopia that was the German Democratic Republic.
No word on whether, in keeping with the reality of East Germany, the hotel has torture cells in the cellar, vacationers must barter with or bribe the staff for goods and services, and every other individual is an informant on the payroll of the Stasi.
Also unclear is whether an Erich Honecker lookalike will be running the operation, stationing border guards around the perimeter of the hotel grounds with orders to shoot guests who try to flee before their pre-arranged departure times.
(Top: Erich Honecker, leader of the German Democratic Republic, salutes East Germany troops in the early 1980s.)