Eurotrip, Part IV: Munich

April 12th

The day started bright (well, dark) and early, as we had to catch a 6:20 am train from Lausanne to Zurich. This time, though, we timed things much better and had minimal time to wait in the station. This was all around a better travel day than the last one -- both trains were on time, and neither broke down. We were on one train to Zurich, and one train to Munich. We were better prepared with food this time as well. The only downer was having to pay eight Euros for the 20 minutes the train was in Austria that our Eurail pass didn't cover. Head, meet desk.

We got into Munich at around 1:30 and found the hostel pretty easily.  The room wasn't ready yet, so we left our stuff in the luggage room and went back to the station to reserve seats to Berlin and get public transportation passes; 23 Euros for three people for three days. I'm sorry, what? I LOVE GERMANY. We did some walking around after that, just stumbling across things. I knew basically zilch about Munich, but we found some cool old buildings and the English Gardens, which was really nice.

We went back to the hostel after our meandering to do some planning and look things up for dinner. We went to a place called Hofbrauhaus -- it's basically a fake Bavarian tourist trap, but the atmosphere was great and the food was delicious! They serve giant one-liter steins of beer, and between that and the sausage I ate, the night felt very German. Amanda and I split a Radler, which is a liter of beer mixed with lemonade. It was actually quite tasty! Leave it to Germany to find me a beer that doesn't make my lip curl and my nose wrinkle.

April 13th

Uh oh, Friday the 13th. Ironically, it might've been my favorite day of the trip, as I crossed two major things off of my unwritten bucket list. :)

We woke up that morning to discover that breakfast at this particular hostel was freaking amazing. It's included in the cost and actually featured food groups other than bread! Hooray! After stocking up on fruit and protein, our first stop was Dachau, the concentration camp. We caught an 11:00 tour, which was actually a little bit cheaper than getting an audio guide and walking around on your own, and in hindsight I can see why. It would've been a really cool experience to just wander alone through a concentration camp. If I ever get to go to another one, I think that's what I'll do. But the tour ended up being really good. The guide did a good job emphasizing that Germans were victims too, and he talked a lot about the political prisoners that were held at Dachau. The Germans weren't the bad guys; the Nazis were. It was a really, really good visit.

I always expected to be really moved by a concentration camp, and I was not disappointed. Even walking through there, it didn't feel real. Everything that went on there is just so hard to fathom. What I wasn't expecting, though, was how goosebumpy I got when I walked into the gas chamber. I almost didn't want to go in. It was a claustrophobic little room that people were murdered in. As a Jew, going in there felt really... wrong, almost. It was very powerful to walk in and be alive to walk out again.

Ironically, we had lunch in the cafeteria there afterwards before heading over to Olympic Park! Jen decided to go to the BMW museum instead (it's a mechanical engineer thing), but Amanda walked around with me. Thankfully, she's the type of person that gets this fangirly about things, so while she doesn't quite understand my obsession, she sympathizes. We got to go into the aquatic center before Olympic Stadium. There's a path that goes all the way around the top of the stadium, which was awesome, and you're allowed to just hang out in the stands. So we did!

After a while, we left to go find the Walk of Stars (which featured all four members of Bon Jovi, and the Undertaker), the summer curling area, and steps listing all the gold medal winners from the Games. I got really excited about the prospect of seeing Gary Hall Sr.'s name on there, but it wasn't. I know he won medals, but alas, no gold for him in Munich. But I love that the city has held onto their Olympic legacy for so long! The facilities are still in use, and there's plenty to do at the park.

We met up with Jen again afterwards, and went to the BMW exhibition because it was free. It would've been really cool if I was into cars, and was just full of little boys running around and hogging all the cars that could be sat in. Looks like I'll never sit in the drivers' seat of a BMW! :P I did really enjoy the architecture of the building, though. God, I'm such a nerd.

Departing completely from the night before, we went to an authentic Bavarian place for dinner. We were the youngest people in there by a solid 20 years, which meant we were definitely doing it right. And the food was amazing! On the way back to the hostel, we came across our favorite street musicians ever. They may play classical music, but they perform it. They engage the crowd and are absolutely hilarious. If I wasn't so broke, I would've given them so much money!

April 14th

By this point, I'd finally hit the stage where I was mentally burned out, so the day was a bit of a struggle to not be cranky. But it ended up being quite wonderful!

I woke up really bizarrely to my phone dying at 6 am, despite the fact that I'd charged it to 100% the night before. Real wake-up was at 8:30, and we stuffed ourselves at breakfast before checking out and storing our stuff. We headed right out to Marienplatz to see the 11 am Glockenspiel show -- basically, a giant cuckoo clock. It was a very Bavarian experience, and pretty neat.

From there, we went to the Pinakothek Museum. The guy at the desk was an ass and didn't accept my Cane Card OR my UK student visa as proof that I'm a student, so I had to pay the full price of admission. I was furious, but the museum ended up being really good. Audio guides were included that basically analyzed the paintings, pointed out details, and put them in context. They were fabulous! I hate looking at art without knowing what it is I'm looking at, but when there's a paragraph to read, I always find myself just reading it and not even looking at the painting. So this was a total win. We went through an entire wing of the museum before calling it quits for lunch.

We found a cute little market and walked around for a bit before getting schmaltznudel (or something like that) -- aka fried dough covered in sugar. Holy foodgasm, Batman! We got some wurst with sauerkraut afterwards, and then didn't really have anything else left that we wanted to do. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering into things, including a toy museum that Jen got super excited about, a little art gallery, and some souvenir shops.

For dinner we went back to Hofbrauhaus. We weren't remotely hungry yet, but we got working on our liters of beer. Eventually we all got Brockwurst and potato salad (delicious), and I DID finish my liter of beer/lemonade! It was quite the achievement.

We hung out there for awhile before heading out and finding our favorite street musicians again. :) They're seriously magnetic, so we watched one of their "sets" before dragging ourselves and our food babies back to the hostel. We plugged our electronics in for a final time before getting to the train station in plenty of time for our first overnight train adventure!


I really wish we'd gotten to take a tour in Munich, because I still feel like I know so little about it. But I got to run around in an empty Olympic Stadium and visit a concentration camp. Check and check! That alone made it a more than worthwhile stop on our trip. It was also really cool to get some Bavarian culture in before going to Berlin. I mean, it's not in every city that lederhosen shops are a normal occurrence!

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