Published: January 28th 2008January 28th 2008
It is 68 degrees here right now and I am sitting outside on the patio with my computer. Today couldn’t be a prettier day- I will probably go on a run or go to the basketball court that is right by our school at some point this afternoon. I can’t pass up taking advantage of the gorgeous weather.
On a different note, I went to Munich this weekend and the weather was FREEZING. Luckily we all packed enough clothes to keep us warm but it was still a very chilly weekend. We got to Munich Friday night around 1045 pm and checked into Wombats (our hostel). We went to bed early so that we could get up on Saturday morning early and go to Dachau (the Nazi concentration camp). We got to Dachau by 9am which was perfect because we were basically the only people there for the first 2 or 3 hours. What an experience it was. I can’t exactly say it was a “good” time because how could any place this terrible produce a “good” time; I guess the better word for it was a good experience. When we first got there we walked through the front
gates of where the prisoners would have entered. On the door it said “Work Frees” and supposedly once you enter the camp and the doors close it was said that you would never leave. So, once we went through the gates a group behind us was trying to get a better picture of the door so they closed it behind us to take a picture- the symbolism of that experience was quite eerie. I felt like the whole day was very symbolic for me. The weather was cold and harsh and it reminded me of the physical and emotional experience that these prisoners must have felt. Also, they have built 3 memorials behind the camp- a Jewish, Christian and a Reflective memorial. For the Christian memorial there was a huge cross erected that almost looked as if from a far it was placed over top of the camp. They say the memorial was created in honor of the many priests who were captive there and to me it symbolized the reality that even through all of these indescribable acts of violence and hatred that the Lord was always there watching over the camp and was there as refuge for those
prisoners and is now a refuge and a place of reflection for those who visit it today. After walking around the camp and visiting the crematory (which is where they would cremate the bodies of the dead) I felt very sad and there was a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think what astonished me the most wasn’t the fact that this stuff took place, because we hear about it in history (even though that doesn’t make it ok) it was the fact that this took place a little over 50 years ago in the middle of Munich and that it went on so long without seizing. So, after this we went into the museum and looked around at all the various exhibits and read the stories of many prisoners lives, we watched a brief video about the background of Dachau and looked at pictures of the camp during this time. It’s still hard for me to believe that all this heinous acts took place there, but it is something of importance in our history that we need to recognize and experience- so if you ever have the opportunity to visit Munich I recommend making a day
trip to visit and pay respect to the people who were forced to live such miserable lives in Dachau.
After Dachau we came back and I decided that I would like to go visit the Hunting and Fishing Museum (a little tribute to the Thompson boys) and I was actually quite interested. The animals and all the mounts were beautiful but the only bummer was that all the displays were in German so I couldn’t read any of it; but it was still nice to look around. They also had some of the most amazing nativity scenes that I have ever seen. The place was a small local museum I believe but the content was gorgeous and very interesting. After that I walked around a little by myself in the main area of Munich (don’t worry only for an hour and it was broad day light) and then I headed back to the hostel to meet with about 15 or so people to go to an authentic German restaurant to eat dinner and celebrate one of the girls on the trips birthday. A few people had very interesting meal choices (one person ordered Rabbit and another Duck) I tried
both the rabbit and the duck. The duck was delicious but the rabbit was not at all. I was very unimpressed with it as were basically everyone else who tried it. But I’m glad I tried new meats because it is a cultural norm here in Europe, and I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it.
After dinner we all headed to the Hofbrauhaus (which is a huge beer hall). What an interesting experience that was. The people there were pretty rude and completely drunk and the men would walk around and just take pictures of all the girls there which was weird to say the least- that part made me somewhat uncomfortable but the whole experience was fun and worth it. We spent about 3 hours there and headed back to the hostel to get some sleep for Sunday.
On Sunday we woke up around 730am and got ready and walked around the Marienplatz in Munich for a few hours and headed over to the Glockenspiel (which is the huge Coo-coo clock) around 11 am and watched it go off which was pretty neat. After the clock we just continued to walk around and got a pretzel
to eat for lunch of course (they are DELICIOUS) and then caught a 1 pm train back to Lugano. So, that was my excitement for the weekend. Next weekend is the start of our first one week break. We are planning on going to Venice (for Carnivale- I can’t wait), Prague, Budapest, and Vienna or Berlin
There are more photos below