Manning the Fort.

I used to have the best job in the world. I know, I know, there are a lot of great jobs, but mine was perfect.

Every summer I would work as a guide, guiding people through a fortress built by the Germans during World War II. One tour would take about an hour, and in between tours I would laugh and have fun with the other guides, all of them my age (17-20). We were two or three guides working each day, and we had a freezer full of ice-cream and a 26cm triple gun turret which was perfect for relaxing on. After several years we knew the drill so well, that talking about the war and the fortress for an hour was no problem at all, and though we got our salary from the county, they never bothered us, and we were left to run everything ourselves which was how we liked it.

This is the top of the gun turret. Four more floors are hanging down beneath it, and the entire thing weighs 800t. I love enjoying an ice cream while sitting on the barrels.

As I have mentioned before, I am having surgery this summer (the 19th of June), and so I decided to spend the entire summer in my home town. I talked to my old boss and got my job back for the weeks up until the surgery. Silly me thought that everything would be as it used to be, which sadly was not the reality. Just like with everything else, the economy in the county is not the best this year, and so we have been given much less recourses. That also means that rather than being two or three guides, I am now alone, and when we used to do a tour every time tourists came and bought tickets (we would wait 15-20 minutes) we now have to limit the number of tours to four a day, and I have to take them all.

What happened to the fun? What happened to discussing the technical data of the turret while eating ice cream, and having rock-paper-scissor matches to determine who would take the first tour through the facility? Not to mention that I now have to hustle people through the facility in order to make it back in time to sell tickets to the next tour. Add this to me now being on a liquid diet of purely protein shakes and a few vegetables before my surgery, and I find myself rather impatient and in a foul mood.

This is a map of the entire facility, and walking through takes an hour.

This is my 30 minutes break; I just finished my third tour today, and I pity the ones to come with me on the next one. My first tour was a disaster, I had 15 high school students and two teachers with me, and they just would not shut up and let me speak, and kept wandering off to other rooms while I was speaking, and then later ask questions about the things I just explained. If you had just listened, then you wouldn’t have had to ask! I also found three more tourists from Germany inside the mountain (the entire fortress is built inside a mountain) who was not supposed to be there. Imagine my surprise to suddenly walk into three Germans inside the tunnels.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love my job and I am incredibly proud of it, I just think it’s sad that we can’t run it the way we used to, and that both guides and visitors are left to suffer because of a lack of money. This is the only one of its kind in the world, and it’s incredibly well preserved. I love taking people through the facility, but being the only guide is tiresome and rushing people is neither fun for me nor the tourists.

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