My pilgramage draws to an end...

Trip Start Apr 01, 2008
Trip End Jun 30, 2008

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

He Says:

As I sit in the park digesting yet another beer and a large picnic lunch it occurs to me that in a couple of hours my pilgrimiae to beer will officially end. For tonight we catch a night train (a sleeper no less) to Venice, where wine is cheap and a glass of beer requires a down payment... What can I say other then the last month has been great. I have sampled some fantastic cheap beers in great locations and I will be lucky to ever experience the pleasure again...

We left Salzburg on the first clear day since we had arrived. This allowed us some last views of the city, complete with surrounding snow capped mountains, but left us slightly dissapointed at the missed opportunities that this would have provided at Eagles Nest and the top of the Cable Car. Cursing our bad luck, we arrived in Munich in brilliant sunshine and went directly to our hostel... Which sucks... It could theme itself on school camps and probably do quite well... If it didn't charge 59 Euro a night... Oh well, we have done pretty well so far, so we can't complain... Too much. That afternoon we headed into central Munich, had a look around the Marienplatz and the old city before heading out to the Englischer Garten's for a wander, perve and a beer... The wander was good, the perve was kinda dissapointing as the number of male nudes definitely outnumber the female and the beer was plentiful and crowded. We lay in the park for a while soaking up the first sun we had seen since Vienna and then headed back to our 'special' hostel for an early, uncomfortable and loud night.

For the first time since Australia Gaynor beat me out of bed the next morning, determined to beat everyone else to the open showers, and so after an early start it was decided that we should head out to Dachau. This it did admirably... I was originally a bit dubious of going to a concentration camp but Gaynor really wanted to so being a good boyfriend I bit my toungue and went along... I am very glad that I did... I am still trying tho come to terms with what I saw at Dachau and what it means for me. I am sure that Dachau was the most spooky, intense and depressing place I think I have ever been. The whole place is very understated, consisting of a few scattered buildings and a small exhibition, but extremely moving. I am, however, unsure of the lessons I should be taking away.

Due to our early start we arrived around opening time and so for a couple of hours had the place pretty much to ourseleves (this changed at about 11:00am when the tour groups and the Americans began arriving). The place was extremely moving and confronting but what mot surprised me is how much I began questioning my own views and beliefs... For a start it really made me question what I would do if I lived in a similar society. I have always liked to think (as I think most people would) that I would speak up for the repressed in society and for civil liberties, but I now feel that Dachau and history show that I probably wouldn't... Dachau, very clearly, demonstrates the rise of the NAZI regime, the increasingly authoritarian society, the setting up of secret police and concentration camps (Dachau being the first in 1933) for enemies of the regime and the final enexcerible march towards war and genocide. I have always wondered how ordinary German's could claim to be unaware of the horrors going on in their backyard, but after visiting Dacau I realise that it was more a matter of survival... The threat of concentration camps, torture and death for any questioning of the regime must have been an incredibly powerful tool for ensuring that very few people ever stood up for those being persecuted. It is also fairly well known that 32 SS were massacred by American troops in the immediate aftermath of the liberation. Again after visiting Dachau I am no longer certain that this was a crime... I know that the SS that were killed were killed in cold blood, were but a small cog in an enorous machine and that nothing was gained from their murders but equally I can't be certain that I would have done any different in the same situation. By midday I was spent, both emotionally and physically drained and had to leave. As I said, I am glad I went but I don't think that I would do it again. I also apologise for not making much sense, but I am very confused myself so I hope that you sort of understand. We had planned to explore Munich further that afternoon, but drained as we were, we couldn't face it so we grabbed some lunch headed to a quiet beer garden for a couple of hours and then went and chilled out in our, sparten, room.

The next day it was up early again but this time we headed out of Munich to Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze. So we caught the train for about and hour and a half south to the German and Austrian border where we caught a cog train and, another, cable car to the mountains glacier and then summit. The glacier was cool, however, as we were dropped off at the top of the glacier and not at the bottom, it was not as awe inspiring as the 2 glaciers I visited in NZ (the view was better though). Next cable car to the summit was, in short, spectacular... Once again Gaynor was terrified but once again she gritted her teeth like a true sport and came along. I have to say that even I got a little nervous on this ride... It climbed 2000 metres from base to summit was tiny, packed and had a habit of rocking disconcertingly in the wind. Anyway, we did make it alive to the top and were rewarded with spectacular views of, somewhere in the region of, 400 mountain peaks and, apparently, 5 countries (Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and... I don't know, but the brochure said 5 so I will stick to it...). At 3000 metres it was definitely the highest I have ever been and it was well worth the day trip from Munich.

Today it was finally time to spend a day exploring Munich properly, which is how I ended up here... Back in the park sunbaking and writing my next travel blog entry. This morning we walked around the centre of Munich went to some gardens, an, admittedly spectacular, treasury and yet another cathederal. However, by midday we were pretty much sightseen out so we grabbed a picnic lunch from the Viktualienmarkt and headed back to the Englischer Garten for the afternoon... We may have missed out on seeing some more of Munich, but really, I can't think of any better way to experience and say goodbye to Munich then sharing an afternnoon relaxing and sunbathing in the park for an afternoon...
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angelasusan on

Farewell to beer...
Well,at leat you have both survived the beery part of the trip - now for Italy and Spain with a side order of wine. You are both still looking ridiculously well and happy. I do hope you love Italy and that you manage to dodge the hordes of other tourists also loving Italy.

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