It's almost impossible to believe that through this scene once slashed one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world. Nothing apparent remains of it today. Only a modest stone inscription by the road behind the beach confirms I'm in the right place. But for a single derelict house, the first town over the border in the old east looks as prosperous as the last in the old west. The former restricted zone near the beach is now a nature reserve. A few miles inland, though, are the first signs of previous times: signs commemorating the site of the razed village of Bardowiek, inhabited since the middle ages but "destroyed from 1977 to 1989 by the German Democratic Republic [East Germany".