Today we woke up bright and early and hopped on a train to Dachau, a concentration camp outside of Munich. It was quite a long a tiring day. I don’t think there is really an English word that does justice to the feeling of seeing a concentration camp. The word I would use in German is anstrengend, which means emotionally heavy and exhausting. Dachau was one of the first concentration camps and actually served as the model for all subsequent concentration camps. Dachau was not an extermination camp (though they did have gas chambers and ovens), rather it was a camp for political prisoners. This meant that there were a lot of Eastern Europeans and priests, among others, in the camp. Talking about the experience of visiting Dachau is difficult. I don’t think Americans, people in general really, fully comprehend what happened during the Holocaust from merely learning about it in schools. It is real and alive when you stand in those rooms again, where the men and women who were persecuted and killed for something they believed in also stood, and even died. It is haunting. I have been to Dachau before, with my school class several years ago, but the feeling is still the same. Visiting a concentration camp brings the Holocaust to life, and it is a frightening reminder that human beings did this to other human beings. Which means it can happen again. It has happened again. That is a truly overwhelming thought.
After Dachau, we had planned to go to Regensberg, the city near where I lived the last time I came as an exchange student. However, in an act extraordinarily unlike the German train system our train was 20 minutes late! So we ended up not going to Regensberg, because we would have only been able to spend a few hours there.
Instead we walked around the old city of Munich.
It was slightly overwhelming because we apparently missed some huge festival. It was just closing down and there were masses of people everywhere.
We went to all of the churches in the vicinity. I don’t have pictures of some because we went while mass was being held, and I didn’t want to take pictures.
I used the MOST disgusting bathroom in the history of disgusting bathrooms.
We walked through the English Gardens.
Found an concert we weren’t invited to 😦
Ate dinner at the most amazing restaurant. I ate lamb with zucchini, mashed sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and an amazing balsamic reduction. They also served us their house made bread, which was to die for. We split two desserts- lavender creme brulee with some sort of cherries, and a raspberry chocolate torte with amazing passion fruit ice cream.
All of the plates and bowls said something on them at this restaurant. This was my favorite: “More sexuality, ladies and gentlemen!” So strange! haha
We then walked back through the English Garden to our hotel.
Quite a good day.
We slept in today 🙂
Then we spent the day in the city. First, we toured the Residenz, which was the home of the Bavarian royal family since forever. It was destroyed in a World War II bombing- of the 23000 m2 of buildings, only 50 m2 were left!! They rebuilt it after the war. Luckily, most of the art and precious things had been moved out of the palace, so they are mostly original. We went through at a “gallop” because it was huge and we wanted to see other things before catching our trains.
It was beautiful, if not slightly over the top!
I personally believe that this was the ugliest room in the house….possibly ever. It looked like it had been shipwrecked for about a hundred years.
Not sure what is going on with this dog?
Quite possibly the highest bed ever!
The tapestries were amazing!
Why yes, those are bones!
Afterwards, we stumbled upon an outside rehearsal of what we assume was the Munich Symphony (they were playing the concert Friday night). So we got an amazing impromptu concert from one of the best orchestras in the world!!
Then we ate lunch at this little Italian place. It was difficult to order because the names of all the meals were in Italian, then underneath it would say something in German like “with potatoes.” So I ordered pasta with vegetable sauce because that sounded like a good meal to me. Not a vegetable in sight! I swear the plate was nothing but meat! So I was slightly disappointed, though it did taste good.
We then walked through the gardens of the Residenz. Very pretty, but small.
Thought this picture was funny. We have the same signs in our lab, which mean you cannot enter without the proper attire.
My absolute favorite building. The perfect mixture of old and new.
Came across a man playing the violin beautifully. It was incredible.
We then came across a man playing the guitar.
We then walked over to the English Gardens
because we had heard that there is this thing called the Surf-Welle (The surf wave). It is a wave in the river (this is one fast moving river!) where people done wet suits and surf. We were on a mission to find it! And find it we did! It was so cool to watch these guys surfing on a wave in a river!
We also saw a band (bass, guitar, and drums) playing. They were awesome though because they also used kazoos! They even played the kazoos in the three part harmony! I can just see the conversation:
~We need a singer.
~We can’t afford a singer/We can’t find a singer.
~Well, one of us could sing.
~None, of us CAN sing.
~Hmm, what could we do instead?
~How about kazoos?!?
We then had to book it back to the train station to make our trains. We walked through two more pretty gardens on the way.
My family and I parted ways at the train station. I went to Tuebingen and they went to Frankfurt to fly home. It was really sad to say goodbye to my family. I don’t know why, but this goodbye was harder than when I left home to come to Germany in the first place! It has been so nice having them here. I have really missed them, and enjoyed showing them the country I have fallen in love with (and seeing them fall in love with it too!)
The train ride back to Tuebingen was long. The lady sitting behind me on the train was not very nice. I leaned my seat back a little so I could take a nap, and she stood up and yelled at me for it. So I took the most uncomfortable nap. Though I did apparently fall asleep because when I woke up everyone was in a tizzy because apparently our train was 5 minutes late. Which was bad because my connecting train left 6 minutes after our train was supposed to get into the station. Yikes. I also managed to get some reading in, which was nice. I haven’t been able to read for fun in quite some time. I am really enjoying getting to do that some this summer.
So my train managed to get into the station on time, so I had no problems making my connection. Read some more on the train to Tuebingen. Got a bus (the right one, thank goodness!) to my complex.
Tried to do laundry (I need to desperately!), but apparently you need a card of some sort to use it. Which I don’t have. I need to ask someone on my floor how it works, because I am about to become known as the Dirty Queen if I wear these clothes any longer!
Unpacked, caught up on blogging a bit. Went to bed. 🙂