Friday we woke up and got free breakfast! Not much in Europe is free, so this made us so so happy! We then went on a walking tour of the city with the tour group. They took us to the city center, and then to the biking company and their bikes. Krista, Erika and I did something really fun... Beer Biking! This was a huge 12-person bike, with 10 pedals, and a bench at the back, all facing into a rectangular bar with a keg. This was our first taste of the famous German beer, and it was better than I was expecting. The man steering the bike told us that German beer is now only supposed to be made of 4 ingredients (he didn't share what they were), and so if you drink too much beer, you shouldn't be considered an alcoholic, but instead you have an eating disorder! There's a different way to look at it! The man steering the bike was the owner, and he took us around to the central and most important areas in Munich. We sat on the bench in the back, so we got to sit back and enjoy the sights! After the biking, we walked around to where we had gone, getting better pictures and getting up-close and personal. We went to the English Beer gardens where the Chinese tower is, and sat and had lunch of a bratwurst and fries! It was so good, especially because we had been waiting for German wieners for a very long time! There were so many people there just sitting, eating, drinking, and having a great time together at this beautiful out-door place.
Arches leading into the center of the city. They were destroyed, like most things in Munich, during WWII but were rebuilt to look like the original.
Beautiful flower vendors everywhere.
Marienplaz, which is the central square of Munich which houses the Mariensaule, the Marien Column topped with the golden statue of the Virgin Mary, as well as it is home to the Old and New Town Hall of Munich.
The Glockenspiel is over 100 years old. At 11 am or noon it chimes and the 32 life-sized fitures reenact the historical Bavarian wedding which was the largest in history. The golden bird at the very top chirps 3 times to mark the end of the show. The people in the top section are the bride and groom, the second area have the dancers that spin around.
This is the Theatinerkirche or St. Kajetan, the yellow baroque church at Odensplatz. The inside of this church is entirely white, beautiful!
Dodger's Alley, where people would use to go around the Nazi checkpoint where they would have to do Hitler's salute. After a while the government figured it out and put a toll on the street so the people would either have to pay or do the salute.
Golden bricks in remembrance of the Dodger's Alley.
This is a Munich Memorial. The statue at the top of the pavilion used to be of a beautiful woman, but at some point it was taken down and replaced with a semi-clothed woman with her foot up on a keg!
Part of the Bavarian State Chancellery, where the support of the Prime Minister and the government in Munich is established.
Chinese Tower in the English Gardens.
Afterwards, we walked back through the English Gardens, and saw nudists lounging in the sun (almost burning our retinas!), as well as tight-rope walkers, families, and tourists enjoying the fantastic weather we were having. On our way back through the center, we went into St. Peter's church, which was fantastic and beautiful inside and out. There were so many beautiful aspects of the church, it took me a while to take it all in. After, we climbed the bell tower which overlooked the main square in the center of Munich. It was a fantastic view, and though it reminded me of the view from the cupola atop St. Peter's in Rome, it was such a different view. All around you could see red roofs, onion-top domes of churches, the biggest Glockenspiel (clock-tower bells) in Germany. It was an amazing view. We were so exhausted at that point, so we went back to Wombat, and took it down for a nap.
In the English Gardens.
Again, beautiful. People sitting out enjoying the weather everywhere.
Inside the church.
Munich from above!
Me with the beautiful city.
We woke up at 7, and headed to the Frühlingsfest, or Springfest in German. Let me tell you, it was so fun!! It was a lot like an American carnival, but with better food, and lots of German people! We walked around for a couple hours, got another bratwurst (they also didn't have foot-long hot dogs, but instead 1/2 meter wieners!), and met up with my roommates!! I had messed up, and signed up for Euroadventures and told Erika and Krista to sign up for that student tour group too. However, I got mixed up because the rest of my roommates had signed up for a different student tour group. Even though we weren't together all weekend, we had so much fun at the fest when we did see each other! There were also 2 beer tents that you could go into, which had a large stage with a live band (singing popular and older American songs mostly, as well as a few famous German songs), hundreds of benches and tables, food booths along the sides, as well as "Bar Maids" that would take your beer orders. There were the famous Steins, as well as smaller size. We got in late, so we couldn't get a table, so we stood by the stage, sang, drank a beer, and had a blast. There was a lot of broken glasses by the floor, but we survived with our feet intact. All of also went on a couple rides, and got chocolate covered fruit from the chocolate vendors (yep! it was fantastic)!!
Delicious corn on the cob, how I've missed you!
Food vendors signs at the Springfest.
Rides and the Ferris Wheel!
Me and delicious chocolate-covered strawberries on a stick!
Inside the beer tent.
Craziest carnival ride I've been on ever!
After a great night at the fest, we woke up early and went to Dachau, one of the first Concentration Camps that was built before the Holocaust became as big as it was. It was such a sad and depressing place, and just emotional in general. We missed the first train there, so while we waited a bunch of people went to the grocery store in the station for snacks, water, etc., but 3 boys decided to be stupid and get a bottle of wine each, which they drank all of on the way to Dachau. By the time we got there, they were drunk, and were given dirty looks from locals as well as every other student that went with us at that time. When we got to the gates, one of them asked the leader where the "cool stuff" was. I don't know if I have ever seen anything so disgusting, inappropriate, and insensitive in my entire life. No one said anything to them to be more respectful, even the leader, so I looked at them after this was said, and told them to be more respectful. I think they then got that everyone thought they were acting disgustingly, and were quiet. I don't know why this happened, but this is why many Europeans look down on Americans, because they are disrespectful and only think of themselves.
Gates to Dachau.
Moving on... While in the camp, we immediately walked into the main area where role call would be take. Everywhere you looked was sad, the color of the gravel, the buildings, and the faces of visitors. It was so weird how sad it was inside, but you could see beautiful green trees and nature all around the barb-wired fences. We walked through the museum, which was extremely informative, but so heavy and emotional, that it was hard to read everything. The items in the museum related what was going on in the world at the time of WWII to what was happening in Dachau. We made our way through the museum, the barracks, the Jewish memorial temple, Catholic memorial chapel, and the Protestant Memorial Chapel. We also visited the Crematorium, where they would house and burn the bodies. It was too much, so we didn't see everything.
What the prisoners' view would be from the barracks.
Gate of the Jewish memorial.
The Catholic memorial chapel.
Inside the chapel.
Walking through the trees. When it was open, this road was lined with buildings that were barracks, work places, as well as administrative buildings. They were taken down upon its closing. Prisoners would be able to walk and talk with other prisoners and exchange news every now and then.
Sign for the Crematorium.
The famous Hofbrauhaus!
Me and the beer stein.
Me and Cindy's 1/2 Meter Wurst! So delicious!
View from the top of the Ferris Wheel!
Sunday we woke up and left at about 10 AM for a 2 hour bus ride to the Neuschwanstein Castle, the castle that Sleeping Beauty's famous castle in Disneyland is based off of! When we arrived in the little town of Hohenschwangau, there were people all over celebrating the raising of the May Pole (on May 1st). It was so interesting and fun to see such a time-honored tradition. We hiked all the way up to the castle, and the sights were fantastic and unreal! The Neuschwanstein Castle is a Gothic Revival palace that was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat home. He had been building castles all around Bavaria, and spending money on these instead of on his poor people. This is why he died. The Neuschwanstein Castle was never finished, but was opened to the public after his death in the late 1800s. We got quick dinner of salads (mine with grilled chicken), which is never found in Europe. It was perfect because I had been craving veggies so bad! After dinner we got onto the bus, and headed back home to Rome.
Raising of the May Pole.
View of the opposite side of the Castle.
Me and the front of the Castle.
There was a band there for the celebration, and of course drinking beer at the break!
View from the bus going through Austria!
We got into Florence at about midnight, into Rome train station at 4:30am, and caught a bus back at 5. It was a crazy fun, long, and amazing weekend and I'll miss Germany!