We had a wonderful weekend in Munich! I didn’t know what to expect of Germany- honestly we have been going at such a fast pace since arriving in Europe that I didn’t have time to think about it very much- but I fell in love with the country.
After a eight hour train ride we arrived at our hostel, Wombat’s, which was right outside of Munich’s main plaza. Munich’s central plaza is called Marienplatz, named for the Virgin Mary. Wombat’s was a very fun, young place and Michelle and I ran up to our room to get ready for a night out starting at Wombat’s very own Wombar. Our hostel room consisted of three sets of bunk beds and we were the last ones to move in. We didn’t meet our roommates till later that night, but we bunked with three guys from Wales and another guy from somewhere else in Germany… they were very entertaining roommates for the weekend. MK and I began at Wombar and then ran next door to Jaeger’s, another hostel where about twenty of our friends from Virgina Tech were staying. We celebrated Carla’s birthday at midnight with the locals chanting German songs to her and making lots of toasts to Munich, good friends, and to our continuing excitement of being in Europe.
On Saturday we woke up and headed to Munich’s main plaza, Marienplatz, to take an organized tour of the city. Our group tour leader Stacey was awesome, she told us stories about every nook and cranny that we passed. I was immediately stunned by the beauty of Munich, but I was even more taken by its history. Almost all of Munich was destroyed in World War II, so most of the buildings that stand today are reconstructed. My favorite sights in the city were the New Town Hall with its famous glockenspiel, St. Peter’s Church (the oldest church in Munich), the Munich Church that “has the devil’s footprint” inside, the Hofbräuhaus, the Opera House, and the statue of a woman given to Munich from Verona (if you rub her breast it will lead you to your soulmate). We learned lots of cool things, such as there are 120 WW2 memorials ingrained in the city, and that during Oktoberfest Australia sets up a temporary embassy in Munich for Aussies who lose their passports. It was snowing and freezing all day, but the tour was definitely a highlight of the weekend. We stopped at a bakery on the way home to eat and warm up before our cold walk home.
Saturday night we all went to the Hofbräuhaus which for those of you who haven’t heard of it is a 400 year old beer hall. In the 18th century, Mozart lived a block away from the Hofbräuhaus and would often visit for a brewski. On a darker note, the Nazi Party used the Hofbräuhaus as a place to hold functions and meetings; Hitler often spoke there. It was crazy to be drinking a beer in a place with such a history! Another anectode about the Hofbräuhaus:
“When King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden invaded Bavaria during the Thirty Years’ War in 1632, he threatened to sack and burn the entire city of Munich. He agreed to leave the city in peace if the citizens surrendered some hostages, and 600,000 barrels of Hofbräuhaus beer.”
The Hofbräuahaus was such a cool experience and such a fun time! There was a band and everyone who working there, and also some guests, were dressed in classic German attire. They only served liters of beer there… nothing less! Beer in Germany was cheaper than water in Switzerland. We celebrated the rest of the night at the Hof.
On Sunday we woke up early and visited Dachau, the Nazi’s first concentration camp. It was an incredibly powerful day. We walked through the entrance that hundreds of thousands of Jews were marched through, and the thought in itself was chilling. I felt connected to my Jewish roots as I paid my respects to everyone who had been imprisoned in Dachau. It was sickening to imagine a camp like this was run for 12 years, and that it was during my grandparent’s generation. I learned so much more about the Holocaust, Hitler, and its victims. Even though it was a really hard day, I’m so happy we did that. The Holocaust is something that should be remembered by every generation, no matter how difficult of a subject it is so think about.