Well, living in Leipzig and being surrounded by crumbling abandoned buildings was awfully tempting for someone who has previously snuck into an abandoned refugee center. Unfortunately almost all of them were totally bricked up at every door and window. There was a building a block from me that was being worked on by construction guys who occassionally left the front door open, and I got some pictures from that, but no real opportunities. Then I found out about a railway control station just behind the main station that's been abandoned since the early 1990s. The only entrance it described had since been blocked, so I thought there was no way in. Then I went back the next day and started poking around again. There was a single unblocked window on the ground floor. It could be pushed open and squeezed through. I decided I'd go in there before leaving Leipzig, so the day before I caught a bus to Dresden, I went in.
Sitting on the windowsill, I could look down into a hole in the floor that dropped straight to a basement level. There was a narrow ledge I could stand on. From there I could move to solid floor to the right, after using a knocked-down door as a sort of bridge. Then I had to crawl under some pipes and navigate the thorny brambles that you see in the photo above. It took me a good minute or so to go from the window to a place where I could comfortably walk around. Unlike my last abandoned building adventure where I always felt like I'd bump into someone around every corner and used spy-like motions to peek around corners and down halls, here I knew for sure nobody was coming near me. It was a creepy place, and as I found out, full of potential nasty falls, but it still seemed secure. The creepy thing was hearing people just outside of the building. Because of the caved-in ceiling, the place was basically open air. When people outside the building made noises or talked, I couldn't tell whether the sounds were coming from inside the building or outside. Usually it didn't take me long to determine that they were definitely from outside. From there it was just a matter of exploration. Aside from the big main room being taken over by plant life, there was a creepy-looking stairwell that went up a further two floors to different rooms that I suppose were used for storage or maintenance, a room with a large gas tank, and a hall which seemed to lead to residential rooms and even shower stalls in the bathroom.
Eventually I came to the last room of the hall, and turned. They weren't in the building with me, but I was still close to being seen. They were under those steel stairs like I thought, just outside a shattered window covered by a few boards. A guy in a baseball cap was just getting up from a squatting position, head turning my way as he rose past the window, buckling up his belt. I moved back into the hall and realized he'd been taking a shit. Under those stairs were a bunch of suitcases ripped open with their contents strewn everywhere, exposed to the elements and to his shit. Anyway, I thought he must be in the middle of leaving now, but was quite surprised. They stuck around for a good ten minutes more at least, talking. I didn't want to move or take pictures, I didn't want to draw their attention. I had no idea how friendly they were and they were talking in German too fast for me to catch anything. So I stood at the end of that dark hallway, waiting and taking in my surroundings. I wanted to take pictures, but I could guarantee they would've heard my shutter. I thought I should move further from them, so I went one room back the other way down the hall and walked onto a staircase. In the room with the staircase, it was basically pitch black except for a slit of light coming through a door that had a good hole broken through it. Climbing the staircase a little and looking back, I could see through this hole, and outside to where the people were. I could watch them until they left.
I can't remember quite how it happened, but at one point I changed tack when he looked up in my direction. Instead of hiding (since I was now a fair bit closer to him), I just walked forward with a "hallo." He just returned my greeting and disappeared off to one side where I couldn't see him because of the hallway. I hesitantly came out of the hall into the large room where he was, but he was gone. A minute later I saw him emerge from a broken part of the wall some five feet above the floor, disappear again, and then return to my level. He had booze with him, and had just finished eating a Subway sandwich. He asked in German if I was taking photos, and we talked briefly until he vanished up the stairs again. So, that was my first encounter with another urbex explorer. Totally uneventful, except for that I had been scared out of my mind a few minutes before. By now the people outside the building were gone. I went back to photographing.
I got out of the place without incidence and walked back to my Leipzig apartment. Another abandoned building exploration without me getting shanked! A victory. On the way back, I passed a few more abandoned places (impossible to avoid in Leipzig). What was surprising was how accessible they were! Literally two of them had street-level open windows. I could've climbed straight from the sidewalk through those windows and gone for another excursion. But between getting cornered and freaked a good three times in the last place, I thought I'd had enough. Still, it shocks me how many utterly unguarded abandoned places were sitting around in Leipzig.