Awwww, after two 15 hour overnight train rides I finally made it back to my warm and cozy dorm room Sunday morning. I left for Munich late Tuesday night for the festivities of Oktoberfest. I went to Munich with my friend Blake and the train ride down was surprisingly bearable as we shared a compartment with two older Seattle women and a Swedish couple. I was dreading the train ride as it was so long and I easily get motion sick but luckily we were in a compartment with fold down beds that let me just pass out for most of the trip.
Upon arriving in Munich we fond out that we couldn't check into our hostel until much later in the afternoon. So we dropped off our bags and went strait into Oktoberfest to begin the drinking process at a ripe old 10am. Inside the tent we went to it was already nearly full but we managed to find a seat and got a few Mass (the giant liters of beer), a giant Pretzel, and a Hams leg with potatoes each. After this gorging we emerged from the tent mid afternoon to a bright sun that was not inviting on our buzzed eyes. Wandering through all the crowds I was wearing my OSU beavs shirt when someone yelled at me "GO BEAVS!". I stopped a bit dazed and started talking to the guy who was a recent graduate. Then I realized who was with him which was a guy I knew from my dorm sophomore year. It was an Australian exchange student Tom who had come to OSU a while back that I met and hung out with multiple times since we shared mutual friends. To me I felt that it was wild to bump into someone across the planet in a crowed festival and thoroughly blew my mind.
I woke up very sluggishly... very sluggishly, at 8 in the morning on Thursday. This can be attributed to excessive dehydration and other effects inflicted from a night of extreme consumption of alcohol. After waking up I was initially overwhelmed with joy of being in my bed and making the 4 block trip home successfully. Blake and I gathered our stuff together and headed out into the world with an unsettled stomach and headache accompanying me. We met up with a tour group that would take us two hours outside of Munich to the edge of the Alps where the Neuschwanstein Castle is.
This is the castle that inspired Walt Disney and when seeing it is very unreal. The good thing about the tour group is that we didn't have to think about anything and were able to just follow our guy as they have everything organized. They take you to this quiet little village that is on a lake surrounded by two castles. We then hiked up to a bridge that goes over a waterfall in between two of the mountains where you get a breathtaking view of the castle. Now 'breathtaking' is commonly used when describing something of great beauty but it is the most appropriate word for it. Pretty much every picture you could take would be hard to fuck up since it was too surreal.
During our tour of the castle pictures weren't allowed inside which I found out when I got in trouble for taking a picture of King Ludwigs statue. Forever a rebel. Now most Germans are very scary, loud and intimidating making me thankful not to being alive in the 40's to be drafted to fight them but our tour guide was anything but this. He was a small little blonde man with admittedly a pretty funny squeaky voice. I think he had some kind of social anxiety which was enough to guilt me into not making fun of him too much. After our tour we all gathered back down at the train station where a group of 5 aussies in our group about our age invited Blake and I out with them to Oktoberfest that night with them. We ended up going out with all 5 that night and only 3 on Friday night.
On a rainy day Blake and I permitted ourselves to sleep in a little later than usual and then went to go meet up with another tour group that would take us to Dachau concentration camp. Unfortunately their was a train strike and the tour had been cancelled but we met a couple from Panama, Eduardo and Monica, who we shared a cab with to save costs since they wanted to go as well. The cabs in Munich are all way to nice to be cabs. They are usually some high end german car with leather interior and the works. Made for a better ride to Dachau. At the camp we got audio guides and began wandering through the camp. It's difficult to describe the feelings you have as you enter a place that was filled with so much history and horror. They have you enter through the same gate that every prisoner would enter with the words "Work will set you free" on the gate.
Dachau had a phenomenal museum in the old maintenance building that provided a great history of the war to put the camp better in context. Dachau was the first concentration camp that committed in Germany. One of the hardest exhibits to read about in the museum was about all the experiments that the doctors in Dachau would perform on prisoners. It's chilling what we have done to one another. After liberation they had torn down the 32 barracks but for the sake of the memorial they rebuilt two so people could get a better idea of living conditions. In living quarters made for 5 thousand the Nazis crammed around 32,000 into these barracks.
The crematorium is outside the camp area where they also had a gas chamber. It' a disturbing building to walk through as it is long and skinny building with a series of rooms. It begins with a waiting room, followed by the de-clothing room, then the "shower room" where they told the prisoners they needed a shower. It was a gas chamber that they put fake shower heads up in to give the appearance of a shower room so prisoners wouldn't panic. It was a disturbing room to be in and I felt incredibly uneasy and unsettled being in there. Following that is the crematorium which is another room which will make you leave a different person after seeing. It was a really powerful afternoon and one I won't soon forget. It's important for us to go to these places to remember where we have come from and what we are capable of as a people as to never repeat it.
With our train leaving at 7 in the night Blake and I decided to spend our last day in Munich on a free bike tour (tips encourage) through Munich. It is a bike tour geared more towards college students as it has more hooker and drug jokes, bad language, and drinking involved then someone in a different age group may enjoy.
Our tour guide did provide a really good history of Munich on the tour which caught me off guard as we saw tons of great sites throughout the city. We did stop at the nudist site, where there were no nudists that day since it was too cold. Our guide did tell us about the two famous nudists, one called "Tripod" (self explanatory) and "RoboCock" for all the piercings he has on his penis. Apparently Tripod hangs out there, literally, all day cause he loves getting his picture takin with people and doing various activities like playing Frisbee by himself or doing yoga. After that we went to a beer tent area in the middle of the park to take a break for beer and food. Unfortunately my body had been demolished by beer from the past few days and I had a train ride in a few hours so I restrained from drinking. Our tour guide did challenge anyone who dared to a drinking competition. His ability to down a beer is impressive and he would've fit in well with the characters from the movie "Beerfest". After that stop we went to go see the river surfers who are able to surf in this creek/river because Americans during occupation who missed surfing put stuff in the water to make these waves.
Overall it was a great bike tour and I gave our guide a decent tip since it was free for the afternoon of fun.
The train ride home was as exhausting as summing up everything that happened on this trip. It was a phenomenal trip and remember this entry is only what happened at day... nighttime was a completely different beast.
*This entry is about my trip to Munich and the touristy shit I did. There's another entry dedicated to just my Oktoberfest experience. Enjoy*