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Where Have We Been?

A European Engagement: Munich



Our flight from Geneva to Munich was smooth and quick. At this point in our trip, I had officially lost all sense of time, day of the week, and date, but I did know we had three nights in Germany, which was more than we had elsewhere (besides London).


Germany was our second experience with staying in a hostel but we enjoyed this one much more since we had our own private room and bathroom.





We even had our own little balcony!


There was a common space downstairs where everyone could hang out too (and also the only place with air conditioning).


We were most excited when we saw this sign by the elevator though:


Wombat Hostel proved to be a great place to stay in Munich and I would highly recommend staying here or any of their other branches.

After we checked in, we walked to Marien Platz, the main town square to explore. Munich was incredibly beautiful because there are castle-like structures everywhere you turn (which I loved!)






One of the highlights of the day was seeing The Glockenspiel, located right in the middle of the square.



There were so many foods in Germany that we wanted to try, so we headed to Viktualienmarkt, which is like an outdoor food market to get started.



A proper German frankfurter from Lecker Bissen was our first German treat, and so incredibly delicious! The bun was more of a soft, crispy roll and the white sausage bratwurst was cooked perfectly.

For actual dinner we went to Andys Krablergarten where we enjoyed a delicious schnitzel (cue Julie Andrews singing "My Favorite Things") stuffed with Swiss cheese, bacon, and onion, and a German Franziskaner in the beautiful summer garden.


Day two was our first full day in Munich, so of course we had to start off with a traditional German pretzel from Hoflinger, and even though it wasn't Mickey Mouse shaped, it was actually really yummy!


Our plan for the day was to take the S2 train and then the 724 or 726 bus to Dachau where we would see one of the original World War II concentration camps.

In 1933, just three months after Hitler came into power, Dachau was where the first concentration camp was constructed, and where over 43,000 people would later die before liberation in April 1945.


German Nazis marched the "prisoners" to this gate, the one way in and only way out, marked "work makes you free", which of course was just Nazi propaganda.





(Pictured below: map of all the concentration and camps of interest)


Dachau was incredibly hard to walk through, knowing the amount of horrible things that took place there. I had an especially difficult time when passing through the crematorium and the gas chambers.






"Showers" which led to actual gas chamber (pictured below)


Pictured above: "Disinfectant chamber"

Pictured above: old crematorium when the camp numbers were smaller, however, once the numbers grew, the new one was built (pictured below).


We also walked through some of the re-creation of what the housing situation for the "prisoners" was like. Dachau was built only house about 6,000, however, by 1945, there were over 600,000 crammed into these tiny spaces.
 





Each block held one "prisoner" barrack, 30 in total


Although it was really difficult, I think visiting Dachau is a really important thing to see. Although one can never fully empathize with what actually happened here, it is an important piece of history we can learn from.

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Once we took the train back to Munich, it had started to rain, but we were too hungry to care. Dinner was another amazing German food experience from Bratwurstherzl am Viktualienmarkt. We ordered a white German sausage which came with a traditional potato-cucumber salad. We also wanted to try cheesy spaetzle, however, there was a small miscommunication and there was no cheese. The spatzle itself is like a hardy noodle, and reminds me of my moms homemade noodles. I literally still DREAM about this food because it was so delicious.


For dessert, we finally found a German pancake, or Unser begehrter Kaiserschmarrn. It was similar to a regular pancake, but it was shredded with almonds, raisins, and apple sauce, and yummy when served warm. We both agreed it could have used a little more sugar however.



Our second full day in Munich we took a day trip through our hostel to Neuschwanstein Castle. This was something we were especially excited about since this is the castle the original Disney castle is designed off of.


Our guide first took us to the castle where Ludwig II grew up with his family near Lake Stanburg (if you look across from the lake, you'll see the Austria boarder).



Right after Ludwigs II 18th birthday, his father passed, and Ludwig was declared King. In 1866, Ludwig decided he wanted to rule like a midevil king, and live alone, and so the construction on the Neuschwanstein Castle began. In order to reach the castle, you have to hike about 30 minutes uphill. Luckily it was only about 80 degrees and cloudy, and it wouldn't rain until we were heading back to Munich.


I was not so happy to be hiking, but the best view is an even higher hike to Mary's Bridge, where we actually had to wait in line to take our turn on the bridge for photos.






King Ludwig was highly influenced by His friend Richard Wagner, and most of the style inside the castle reflects many of his works.


We took a tour inside the castle, but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any photos inside. We were able to tour the rooms inside the castle that were completed like the throne room and King Ludwigs' bedroom, but in the castle was never completed because in 1886, King Ludwig of Bavaria was taken under custody where he was wrongly declared insane, and unfit to rule by those trying to throw him out of power. After spending a small amount of time in a makeshift insane asylum, Ludwig and one of his psychologists went for a walk around the lake, and their bodies were found two days later face down in the lake. Still to this day the mystery remains of what happened to King Ludwig, however, the amazing castle he left behind is loved by many (especially Disney lovers like us!).

On the way back down to the bus, we had to stop for a German doughnut. It was spongy and light (but could have used a little more sugar, as always). They were even in the shape of a Mickey Mouse!



It was finally time to say goodbye to the castle, and board the bus, just remember not to bring your French fries on board with you.


After getting some apple strudel (so incredibly good!) from Rischart for the road, we said goodbye to Munich, and took the 7 hour train ride to Brussels for our next adventure.


We had a small layover in Frankfurt, Germany for lunch where we saw it only fitting we had some frankfurters, and then it was time to say Auf Wiedersehen Germany!



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