Beer, Beer, Glorious Beer!

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 01, 2006

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Friday, February 17, 2006

I know I said that my next entry would be from Stuttgart and it is true that I am writing it there, but it is about the awesome city of Munich!

This has been one of my favourite cities to date; on par with Berlin, however because of the company I have kept here in Munich, I think it is slightly in front. I have met this awesome chick from Georgia in the USA (Sonya) who has been hanging around with me. We are also going to go around Western Europe as travel-buddies until she goes home on the 15th of March.

Munich has some awesome buildings and town squares and they have been impressive, but the best and worst part of Munich has definitely been the Dachau concentration camp where there are detailed accounts of the horrible acts carried out by the SS. We went through the camp museum first where you see photos, the history of the Nazis and many other related items. There are videos that show very graphic things such as people getting shot and getting beaten and rotting dead prisoners. It really brings it home to you about how atrocious it really was there. Some people left the museum crying; I felt physically ill after reading all the placards and seeing the photos. It was made even more interesting to me because I know my grandparents were held in such a concentration camp in Germany for a period of time; and going by the info there in the museum, it suggests that Soviet prisoners weren't given any slack. We also went into the crematorium where they disposed of the bodies of those who were no longer fit to work due to malnutrition and constant beatings. If you go through the crematorium in the chronological order that the doomed prisoners do, you entered into a waiting room where there are signs saying "remember to wash your hands, it is your duty". That is referring to the bogus shower room that came next, which was simply a gas chamber. The most famous of these gas rooms was at Auschwitz. Following the shower room was the body-stacking-room where the dead were carted so they could be cremated. Following that there were constructions that looked a bit like sinister woodfired pizza ovens. Not a very ceremonious cremation at all. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of Dachau, because I forgot to take my camera that day! Sonya has the photos that I took on her camera and will email them to me later so I can add them to the travelpod.

Munich isn't all doom and gloom though: I went to the Deutsches Nationalesmuseum, (you should be able to do that translation on your own!). This was a record of the technological advancement of man from early tools and machines like windmills to the extent of space travels. They also had exhibits about boats and light physics and sound and everything you can think of. It was the best 3.00 euros I have spent since getting here. The only thing that put a dampener on the whole experience is that I was there with this bizarre Argentinean bloke who was in Europe to see nine Depeche Mode concerts, one after the other in different countries. Judging by the strange clothes he had made himself and the amount of eye shadow and mascara he wore, I can guess that technology and science wasn't really his cup of tea.

Now no touristy outing in Munich would be complete without a visit to the Hofbrauhaus. This is the famous place for Oktoberfest where people have been drinking 1.00L Steins of beer for many years. I managed to do two steins with this American fellow from Alaska (no, he wasn't an Inuit). That night we proceeded to go out on the town and have an awesome time in this place called the Kultfabrik. From what I can gather, it is a bombed factory, which they didn't rebuild properly and now it is like a little neighbourhood full of about 40 nightclubs and bars. Believe me, it shits all over Northbridge hahaha.

Munich has also been home to the cheapest hostel on average. The reason this is so is because I paid for the first two nights and then was meant to go couchsurf, but Sonya and I didn't want to lose contact, lest it couldn't be re-established. Not wanting to pay again, I came up with a deviously simply plan to save money, which involved going upstairs at the end of the night to our dorm and simply sleeping in an empty bed. I managed to do it three nights in a row and was never caught. Call me a stinge, but you do what you must to survive. Besides, I have been told I am not the first to do this.

So there ends my first time in Munich - I am sure that I will return at some point.
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