Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Munich and Dachau

This weekend was such a great escape. I’m not positive I have felt so many feelings in such a short amount of time. We had a blast; we laughed so hard we cried, and we felt pain and remorse so much that we cried. We rented a car for Friday after school and took off for Munich right after. It was quite the drive, four or four and one-half hours. Our hostel was clean and friendly. Jeff, Liz, Steven, and I had no problems there and we all enjoyed each other’s company very much.

In the morning we took off to Neuschwanstein Castle. One the way up to the castle, it gradually got colder and the German rain turned into a beautiful, wet, heavy snow. The trees were covered and I was grateful that the car had “winter” tires. We hiked up a road with snow slush mixed with horse poo, (Yes, very gross) because there were also carriages that people could take up if they didn’t want to walk. The walk up and down was fun. We throw snowballs and talked to these high school seniors from Milan, Italy in very broken English. But I’m not going to lie; I could have skipped the castle. I was not very impressed. That’s not really my thing. But on trips with other people, everyone has to give a little and that was my giving. Next time, I’ll stay and walk around Munich. When we got back to the city, it was around 14:00. We walked around a little bit of Munich, Liz and I went to the art museum and saw Van Gogh’s sunflowers and a smaller water lily painting of Monet’s. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

We proceed with dinner at the Hofbrauhaus, which is famous for it’s HB Lager. I didn’t have one, but I did have a little glass of white wine, which was nice, and a great vegetarian dish with potatoes and cheese. (I’m sure my sister would have loved it, haha) Jeff got a huge beer and really enjoyed himself the rest of the night. Liz, Jeff, and I borrowed a huge beer mug. I’m sure someday my dad will take it back to them in Munich. Other people sat with us, they were quite the characters. When they find out we’re American, a lot of people in Europe mention the Taliban and/or Bin Laden. It’s very interesting to hear their perspectives on US foreign policy. Clearly, they’re not big fans of our current leader.

After a fun filled night, we got up the next morning to go to Dachau. The experience was unreal. I felt that is was very mellow. I have been told that for a concentration camp, it is very family friendly. (If that is possible.) Dachau started as a camp for prisoners and was the only camp to be in operation for all 12 years of Hitler’s reign. There really weren’t any women or children there until the last couple of years of the war. At one point, they had brought in women, only to use to satisfy the men. A lot of experiments were done at Dachau, including tests about hypothermia and brain pressure. The pictures are quite disturbing. They also had a gas chamber, which was said was never used, but there may have been tests run there. Also, there were ovens or a crematorium. This was by far the most disturbing part. I couldn’t really hold myself together after that, it’s just the worst feeling. I’m glad I went to Dachau before we go to Auschwitz in two weeks. I think it’ll ease me into it a little bit and it won’t be quite as overwhelming.

Never forget.

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