A Day Off in Munich

I shouldn't really call this a day off in terms of the craziness of Munich during the Wisen but it was a day off for our group from the festival.  It was a full day jam packed with with tours so we could see the most of the city.  From my first post, I mentioned how I was not very impressed with Munich upon exiting the train station however after this day was complete, I saw everything Munich had to offer. 

Gates to Dachau
The road that prisoners used to run up to the main area of camp. 

We started our day off like most other days I have had in Europe, a cappuccino and a pastry.  We then headed for the train station as we had booked a tour of Dachau, one of the most well known concentration camps during World War 2. Many people, including myself, might not know that Hitler's reign began in Munich and therefore Dachau was not only the concentration camp open but the only one in operation throughout Hitler's entire time in power.

Where the barracks used to be. 

Barbed wire surrounding Dachau. 
The experience itself was very sobering and is something each and every person should do once in their life. It is a major part of world history and everyone should be reminded that this type of evil can never happen again.  Although Dachau was not a death camp like Auschwitz, the hardest part for me was walking through the gas champers and seeing the crematory.  It is not known how many people were actually killed in the gas chambers at Dachau, but almost a quarter of the people who walked through Dachau's gates never walked out. 
Light leading up to the menorah inside the Jewish memorial. 

Brausebad used to mean shower room in German and it was
placed above the door that led into gas chambers.
It has since been removed from the German language.
Once we returned to Munich, our day became much lighter.  A few people napped to catch up on sleep from the night before while a handful of us went to a small local beer hall for a hearty German meal including wiener schnitzel and pork knuckle.  Following our meal, we did a four hour bike tour through Munich which is something I would recommend to everyone who visits.

Pork knuckle. 

It is called Mike's bike tour and is one of the most recommend activity for tourists.  It was here we saw much of the old town of Munich which looked just like your traditional European city.  Unfortunately, 75% ( fact check)of Munich was destroyed during the war but interestingly enough, was rebuilt exactly the same.  Aside from seeing some of the great architecture and learning about the history, much of it focused on Hitler and WW2, the highlight for us was stopping at Teehaus, the second largest beer garden in the world.  Even if you don't do the bike tour, the Teehaus is a must when visiting Munich. It is located in the english gardens which is an enormous park in the heart of Munich.  (Side note, if doing  Mike's bike tour's ask for Chris).

Getting ready for our bike tour. 

In front of a German government building along the tour. 
We finally ended our day at Munich's German beer halls.  The most famous of course is Hofbrauhaus located in the heart of Old Town.  Given the history it is a must but it is more of a tourist attraction than anything.  We stopped in quickly but our tour guide had recommend a beer hall right across the street, Augsustiner Braustuben.  The beer is constantly awarded has some of the best in the world and is only sold in Munich (maybe Germany).  It is more tame than the HB but we were seated with an old German couple so it allowed us to talk to them for a few hours.  It was also exactly what we needed, we had a full day of Oktoberfest ahead of us.          

Tom talking to the old German man at the beer hall. 
More sights from the bike tour:

Taken from Old Town with the towers of the famed Frauenkirche in the

The new town hall in Marienplatz looks like it was built
in the 1700's however it was built in 1908. 

The Theatine Church built in the 1600's has the unique yellow color
due to the Italian influence. 

No trip to Munich is complete without a sausage. 


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