Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Munich and Dachau

Transportation:  Took a train from Salzburg to Munich using the Bayern Ticket, a ticket costing 27 Euros and good for up to 5 people for unlimited travel in the Bayern (Bavarian) region of Germany for 1 day.


Favorite Beverage: This is a hard one.  The most drinks of the week were consumed here.  Probably the traditional Bavarian Lager that we

 enjoyed in the Augustiner Biergarten.  They just kept flowing and pack a surprising punch (enough to put us to bed at 6 pm).


Favorite food:  Currywerst and pommes frites.  Though not a traditional dish, it was delicious.  It is a very large brat that is doused in a curry-ketchup type condiment.  Served with great French fries and accompanies a Hofbrauhouse beer very well!


Accomodations:  The wombat youth hostel in Munich.  Great location.  Out of the sketchy parts of town, about 100 yards from the central train station and a couple blocks to the nearest bier garten.  More of a party atmosphere than other hostels, but very clean and the best service that we received all week.  Breakfast not included.


Favorite sights:

1.)   Augustiner Biergarten.  Turned us from “lets go have a beer at a near by beer garten while we wait to check into our hostel” to “Dude, what happened? 

Did we crash at 6 pm last night?  How did we get back to the hostel?”

2.)   Dachau.  Not light-hearted as the rest of the entire trip, but possibly the most

 important and touching experience of the week.  We took a small group private tour to the

 Concentration camp just outside Munich.  I

 mentioned how incredible the weather was for us earlier.  It was hot this day, very sunny.  I

n my eyes, the sun usually brings out the beauty in everything.  More vibrant colors, clarity, and a positive tone to everything.  Well all I could think about while I was at Dachau is that even in the

 beautiful sun, the entire place was grey, colorle

ss, and depressing.  The tour guide was very smart

 and had a cool approach to the entire controversial situation.  He was open to address contrasting views and enjoyed bringing those different thoughts into the group conversation.  

He told the story form the prisoners point of view and was very well educated on the war, the camp and the lives of the prisoners.  Biggest impact:  Seeing the industrialization of mass murder.  From the labeling of the gas chamber as a “decontamination shower” meant to kill 150 people at a time, to the industrial coal burning ovens to cremate many, many bodies at once.  The official number of individual 

killed here is 35,000 (not including MANY factors and numbers probably doubling that number) this camp was not known as a “extermination camp” like Auschwitz but rather a “work camp.”  A really powerful experience that got my cheap ass to buy the 15 euro museum book with all of the displays and pictures of the museum in it.

3.)   Hofbrauhouse.  Famous biergarten, bier hall, and restaurant from Germany’s history.  Hitler made speeches here before he rose to power.  Cool place, but we had to move on rather quickly to make it before dark to the

4.)   English Gardens.  2 times as big as central park, it goes on forever.  A bunch of young people barbequing and sunbathing, and the occasional naked old dude sunbathing.  At the end of the park was the

5.)   Chinese Biergarten.  Underneath a giant Pagota, this was our favorite atmosphere in a biergarten that we found.  Good food, great beer, and friendly drunk people.


Most often used Words:


“ein Mahs Bier hier, Bitte”- one more liter of bier, please.

1 comment:

Susan Iverson said...

Don't you just love the transportation system there? I know exactly what you mean about the atmosphere at Dachau, especially after seeing the movie you recommended, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. There you are, having the experience of a lifetime and all those people had was each other in camp and then they were taken away, one by one, either by work, sickness or murder. Certainly a black mark in history. It is worth the experience though so you can appreciate your life, not that you don't.

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