For four months, I studied abroad in London, England. These notes are select entries from my experiences in the United Kingdom and Western Europe from that time.
Thursday, November 26 –
Today was going to be a day of contrasts in learning about German history. This morning Uncle Barry and I woke up about 7:15 a.m. We packed before grabbing some of the typical continental breakfast downstairs. We then put our stuff in the car parked in the “garage area” which was an enclosed open air parking with a door separating it from the street.
We then toured München which has most of its landmarks in a central area. We went in three Kirches, two Catholic and one Lutheran, and we were able to see the exquisite beauty of Bavarian church architecture. Barry and I walked to the top of St. Michael’s Kirche (about 450 steps) for a great view of the city. It was cloudy with winter weather approaching so that the Alps weren’t very visible. We then watched the world-famous Glockenspiel at 11 a.m. as the Bavarian figures danced, the knights jousted a tournament on horseback and the King and Queen granted their approval.
We then travelled to the Deutsches Museum where we saw all sorts of scientific exhibitions. The Deutsches Museum is the largest archeological and science museum in the world, somewhat like a mix of the Smithsonian and Disney World’s EPCOT Center. I split up with Barry and visited the exhibits on aeronautics, planes, locomotives and railroads. I could have spent at least several days there and not have seen the whole museum. We only spent 1 hour and 15 minutes there before grabbing lunch at one of their restaurants. I had wine, wiernerschnitzel and a chocolate cake for lunch before we took the U-bahn back to our B&B.
Afterwards, we got in our Opel Astra and headed 30 minutes north to Dachau, the first Nazi konzentrationkamp. I was prepared for the experience but the horror and sadness of the visit was so profound that it cannot be put in words — only experienced. The prisoners were political (mostly Communists) but later Heinrich Himmler ordered Jews, Russian prisoners and Gypsies take to its walls. There they worked hard labor, we tortured, had their human rights taken away and many were executed. Most were shot to death here simply for being Jewish or outcasts from the “model” Nazi society, but gas was not used here. The Museum was very powerful as were the crematoriums. Nearly 30,000 Jews died at this konzentrationkamp.
We left at about 16:00 p.m. for Garmish-Partenkirchen in the Alps south of München where we would stay for the evening. We arrived in the snow at dark and I found a nice place in Barry’s book where we could stay. We stayed at the Hotel Hilleprundt which was moderately priced and was more of a Gasthoff of the the chalet style.
It was time for supper later so we first went on a walk through the resort town to see what our options were. The town was very beautiful as snow fell down and Barry used his Deutsche Telefoncard to call Grandmother, when Thanksgiving Dinner was just being finished in Alabama. I talked to my parents and brother before we left to get some authentic Bavarian food at a local restaurant. I had weinerschnitzel cordeu bleu with potato wedges, salad and Lowenbrau Weisbier. I had an incredible Bavarian dessert which was homemade vanilla ice cream enclosed in pancake strips and smothered in nuts and chocolate sauce. It cost about $18 total with a great soup included and was an outstanding meal.
We then went back to the chalet where we went to bed after watching German television and NBC International at about midnight. What an amazing day in Bayern!