Three days in Munich. I arrived in Munich on Saturday April 29th a little after noon time. It was raining out – not really bad, just a bit on the cold and damp side. The weather forecast for the weekend wasn’t great – it could be three days of rain (but that was not the be the case fortunately). Having never been to Munich – but having spent some time in London – I decided to spend the three day weekend between the Oracle University seminars I was giving in Munich – exploring.
After checking in and getting situated at the hotel, we set off for Marien Platz – a nice outdoor shopping area. We started here at the one end:
It is a closed off street with just pedestrian traffic – which is nice (apparently, in Germany – pedestrians do not
have the right of way, learned that just by stepping off of the curb when it wasn’t exactly my turn. I’m still not entirely sure they would have stopped…). But it was a bit damp:
As we went from store to store – we picked up some stuff for the family back home (they haven’t gotten them yet, so I won’t talk about it…) and noticed some really strange window decorations:
Still not entirely sure what was up with that one – chickens with needs and hatchets, no idea. As we were walking down the street – someone pointed this out to me as something to been seen:
Those are not real people, just mannequins – and again, I did not entirely get it, but it was unusual to look at. Lots to look at. I found the architecture downtown to be really something to take in.
After spending about 3 hours walking around – it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for some Bavarian food – excellent beers and if you like pork (as I do) this is the place to be. Some friends from Oracle Germany took us out and fed us very well indeed.
On Sunday the weather cleared up considerably and we ventured out for a tour. After some suggestions on the blog and because I’ve read about it much in the past – I wanted to see Dachau. So we arranged for a tour. It started out at the old train station that was added later on (originally the inmates had to walk some 5k through town to get to the concentration camp):
It was a sobering experience to walk through the same gates the victims of Dachau might have, with the saying “Arbeit Macht Frei” staring at you (one translation is “Work Brings Freedom”):
The day we were there was the day after the 61st anniversary of the liberation of the camp by allied forces – we missed the services in the morning, but the remnants were all still there:
We had a pretty good guide, his name was Chaim and he lost most of his family in the holocaust. For him, this is always an emotional tour and you could hear it at times. This is the only “person” picture I took at Dachau – it just didn’t even cross our minds to “pose” for a picture here, we talked about it later – it would not even have felt remotely “right” to do so.
One story I remember him telling distinctly was about the prohibited zone. If one of the young guards (and they were very young in many cases – some would not be able to get their learners permit to drive) was feeling vicious – they might grab the hat of a prisoner and throw it into this grassy strip – the prohibited area. Step into it and the guard in the tower was under orders to shoot, no questions. Fail to obey their order to retrieve your hat and you were failing to obey an order – the hat thrower would shoot you. Not a really good set of choices:
Never Again, indeed, never again:
On Monday (May day, a holiday – no one working…) we went to Füssen, about two hours by train from Munich:
There are a pair of castles to visit there, as you can see by this shot – the weather this day was phenomenal – best of the three days. It got into the middle 60’s (f), 17(c) – it was nice. Had to take the coat off from time to time:
The buildings on site were great. This one was particularly cool looking I thought:
But this was the ultimate target – the Neuschwanstein
Castle. Interesting story behind the construction – and if it looks familiar, yes, Walt Disney “borrowed” the idea for his “Sleeping Beauty” castle from this one:
After touring the castle we hiked up (higher up I should say – the castle itself was a climb), to this bridge (where the prior shot was taken from)
The sites around this castle were incredible – This shot looks like a poster if I don’t say so myself (but it isn’t, I took it):
Now, you might be wondering – I kept saying “we” throughout this entry. What is up with that – who is this “we”. Well – someone dropped in for the long weekend, Lori came over and met me at the Munich airport Saturday and I just saw her off to the airport this morning (I’m back to work). I did not have to eat dinner alone (until tonight when my plate exploded!) all weekend – that was nice.