Saturday, January 22, 2011

München: the city of beer, Hitler and the U-Bahn.

Add one more pin on my world map, I've now been to Germany. Munich, to be exact. 

After one heck of a long traveling day (5 hour train ride, 1 hour bus ride, 2 hour plane ride, 2 hour bus ride), we finally arrived in Munich on December 30th. Marius was really lucky he was with the world's best navigator because in order to get to our hotel, we had to tackle the U-Bahn (subway). I have to say, though, after tackling the subway in Paris, no other subway has ever been a problem for me (although I've never been to other really big cities since then...). U-Bahn, no problem.

After a good 20 minute ride, we FINALLY were at our home for the next 5 days. The Leto Hotel.

We randomly found this place on the internet; the cheapest place we could find in Munich (believe it or not, Munich is NOT a cheap place to sleep). It was on the outskirts of the city (20 minute U-Bahn ride from the city center), quiet, easy access to the U-Bahn, busses, taxis, and even had a BEER machine in the lobby. We quickly came to like this place. :)

This is the first thing Marius bought once we got there...cola and beer mixed together. Weird.

By the time we got settled and took a little nap, we were starving. It was about 10pm, so we were afraid nothing was going to be open. However, we found this restaurant in the area of the hotel...which served traditional German food and of course beer!

My first Weißbier! (You pronounce the "ß" like "ss")

That pretty much concluded day 1, we were exhausted!

Day 2 was exploration day and also New Years Eve. We took the U-Bahn to the city center and started walking...
The second picture is of the New Town Hall on Marienplatz (the main square). We were making our way through the center to get to the zoo, and ended up eating at some cafe that looked like it was out of the 70's.
On to the zoo! We crossed a river with a pretty good view, and locks on the fence. Each lock had writing on it; the names of a couple and a date.

The zoo. I didn't really want to go to the zoo, but Marius LOVES penguins, so I agreed.
I am trying to pet the penguin.
After the zoo, we decided to wander around in the city center some more...
Viktualienmarkt-- the most famous market in Munich.
Yum, dried fruit!

Next, we decided to hit up the most famous beer hall in Munich and worldwide, Hofbräuhaus. There were TONS of people there. Basically you wander around this gigantic hall and wait for someone to get up from a table. It's actually really stressful; you definitely need to be aggressive!!

Really good beer and food and REALLY loud. There must have been a couple thousand people in there! It was here that I realized that Germany would be much more fun with a group of people (because of all the beer drinking done!).

Later that night we had no idea where to go for a New Years party...and eventually found something online about there being a party at the Oktoberfest grounds. So we went there...
and were greeted by amateur fireworks and a full Oktoberfest ground. What now?! We decided since we couldn't get in there, we would try just going to the city center...there has to be something going on there...right?!
Again, we were nicely greeted by hooligans lighting off fireworks and throwing them at people. How nice. We also found out that we could drink beer on the streets, yay! And onward we wondered...
found some yummy brauts...
yummy champagne...
saw many more amateur fireworks at midnight...
had a midnight snack at McDonalds...
and headed home through the garbage packed streets of Munich.

Day 3. We started off the day by wandering around the city center some more.

Took the U-Bahn some more...
Then headed to a modern art museum in a building that Hitler built. Hitler hated modern art.
We then took a stroll through the English Gardens...
and headed to the Olympic Park from the 1972 summer Olympics (also where one of the stadiums was located for the 2006 Soccer World Cup)
From up in the tower...quite foggy! Couldn't see much.

They also were having practice runs for the World Cup Slalom event that was happening the next day...
Once I figured out that the World Cup was the next day, I was determined to go. We bought the ticket online and then set off to pick them up at a gas station, which was not close to our hotel. Who knew that that would be such a chore.
We hiked along a snow/ice covered trail, in the dark, through the woods, for what felt like 2 hours. Just to get to a gas station. Thank god for GPS navigation on phones! Once we made it to the gas station, we were pleasantly rewarded with 1 Euro alcohol! German gas stations are packed with alcohol, which is cheap, and can be bought late into the night.
Our best find in Munich, by far! But we also managed to find this...
KFC! Marius' first KFC experience...look how happy he was! He loved it.

On to Day 4, which is by far my favorite day of the trip because we got to take a guided tour to the concentration camp in Dachau (I've always wanted to visit a concentration camp). Dachau was one of the first concentration camps, and also the model camp for all the other concentration camps. Most of the prisoners were political prisoners, but it also housed some Jews and Hitler's personal prisoner, Johann Georg Elser (the man who tried to assassinate Hitler). Hitler used this camp to fool everyone into believing the prisoners were being treated well since for the first part of the war the Nazis kept the prisoners well-fed and the facility spotless. Dachau is located just outside of Munich, and Munich is where the Nazi party originated. Dachau was one of the last camps liberated by Americans.
The entrance to the camp. All the prisoners were marched through these gates.
"Arbeit Macht Frei" --- "Work makes one free" on the gate of the camp.
Bunks inside the barracks (model barracks, the old ones were demolished after WWII)
Guard tower.
"Special prisoners" were held in the building on the left. This included the man who tried to assassinate Hitler and royalty, along with others.

Inside these "special barracks". These rooms were painted green once the Americans took over, and where they kept many Nazis that were being held for trial.

Trench surrounding the camp.

Inside the gas showers...they were never used because they had more bodies than they could burn.
All of this empty space was once barracks. As I said before, they tore down all the barracks and only built back two model barracks. (You can see the model barracks in the background)

I never thought going to a concentration camp would affect me the way that it did. Hearing the stories of prisoners from the tour guide was enough to feel myself welling up with tears. I didn't know these people, nor can I even fathom what they went through, but the fact that people are evil enough to murder innocent people in such a cruel way is appalling. Pure evil.

After this very informative trip to Dachau, we hurried along to our next event, the World Cup to cheer on Lindsey Vonn and Body Miller!
Even though the Americans didn't fare so well in this first-ever head-to-head slalom race, it was still awesome to see it in person.

Day 5 and 6 weren't so eventful, so I'm grouping them together.
 Soup kitchen! Amazing, cheap soups in Viktualienmarkt.

The Deutsches Museum. You can learn about everything from Mining to Mathematics. You definitely need a full day and lots of energy, though, to get through this whole museum. It's exhausting!!
Our final morning; watching the glockenspiel go off in the new town hall. 
Then we had lunch at a cafe that overlooks Marienplatz and the new town hall building.
2 hour bus ride to the airport and our final German beers! 
Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland!


  1. I'm on tour right now visiting the luxurious hotels in Cornwall, UK and I'm planning to visit Norway next. I've heard all the good news but I hope they are as good as Cornwall! Suggestions? Hehe :)

  2. How about this for a design for a wall painting, in the tried-and-true Art Nouveau style?: http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWN3L, by the famous English artist, Audrey Beardsley himself. You can also order a canvas print of the picture from wahooart.com.