Day 38 – D and Q see Munich!

Day 38 = Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy steroids day! It was good and bad to have to take my meds in Munich; good,  because I wouldn’t really “miss” anything, since I had seen it all before; but bad, because I love love love this city.

I got up in the morning and took the other half of the prednisone dose, then zoned out in bed, probably drooling (isn’t that a pretty picture?) until about 3 PM. Blah. At this point, I decided I needed to get up and do some laundry. We’d made it through a week in Barcelona (since we’d sent all our clothes to the cleaners in Porto), but everything needed to be washed again. Strange how that happens!

I ran into Frau Bremerich, the landlady, down in the laundry room. We had an excellent conversation about who we were and what we were doing on this trip. We are a curiosity! I feel such a need to explain to people that – while I know we are very very unbelievably fortunate – we are not some rich American family who just get to gallivant around the world on a whim. Part of it is defensive, I know – a need to repeatedly say that we worked hard for this – but part is still trying to be encouraging, especially to people with families, that it is possible to do a trip like this.  I spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between resting, writing blog posts, and going down to put each load in the dryer every couple of hours.

Meanwhile, D and Q went into town (and I got the facts from David the next day). They went to Sendlinger Tor, Asamkirche, Marienplatz, Residenz Schatzkammer & Cuvilliestheatre, Odeonsplatz, Theatinerkirche, Studentenstadt, Universitat, Turkenhof, Munchner Freiheit, Stachus and home. Here’s the Asamkirche:

This is one of my favorite pieces from the Residenz Schatzkammer (Treasure Chamber):

and here is another! This is slightly more posh than my personal case for traveling essentials:

Quinland continued to profess his love of German food, promising to never eat an American hot dog again, questioning why we don’t have gummi bears in vending machines and enjoying his first Kasespatzle and Spezi at Turkenhof. 

The Cuvilliestheatre was a highlight for both Q and David (his first visit).

Quinland appreciated the restrained interior of the Theatinerkirche over the raucous baroque of the Asamkirche.

Q also liked how Stu-Stadt was separate from the university.

German game shopping began at Karstadt in Munchner Freiheit, continued at Kunst und Spiel near Giselastrasse and wrapped up at Obletters at Stachus.

 Only one game was purchased (Tiki Topple at Karstadt for 5 euro), but there was much drooling over board and card games and Playmobil.

I’d say that the day was a success!

Expenditures: Turkenhof lunch; Tiki Topple game.

Experiences: Visits by D and Q to all the main sights in Munich… and a real German game purchase!

Day 37, Part II – Dachau

Day 37 = April 17, 2012

Built in 1933  for political prisoners (opponents of the Nazi regime as well as communists, other political opponents, and members of trade unions), Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp. After the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935 (The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor and the Reich Citizenship Law), new prisoner groups were sent to the camp, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and immigrants. By 1938, German and Austrian Jews were sent to Dachau, and in 1939, Sinti and Roma (“gypsies”) were imprisoned as well.

David and I visited Dachau back in the 1990’s. I had vivid memories of the museum’s exhibit on medical experiments on prisoners, and I was pretty concerned about Quinland seeing it. After twenty years, of course, the museum had completely changed; not only were the exhibits different, but the space was laid out differently, too. (There is an excellent Virtual Tour at the camp website, if you have more interest.)

We started at the small theater, watching a documentary film to give Quinland an overview of what she’d be seeing. We then looked through the museum. You start in the area where the prisoners were first inducted, then through the room where they were bathed before being given their prison uniforms. Then you went into the main exhibit in the maintenance building where they had the bulk of the information. There were displays about the history of the camp, much of which I remembered, but also displays about the various types of prisoners who were held there, and the different ways they were treated. There was a section on the medical experimentation – especially the tests of hypothermia and low pressure chambers that were conducted on prisoners of war – but thankfully, it wasn’t as gruesome as the past exhibit had been.

The International Memorial and the Roll Call area. The inscription on the Memorial reads, “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933 and 1945 because of their fight against National Socialism unite the living in their defense of peace and freedom and in reverence of human dignity.”

David and Quinland finished before me, of course, so they went out to see the barracks and the crematorium – which I have visited in the past – while I went through the exhibits at my own very-slow pace.

After visiting the crematorium, Quinland was ready to go. We’d decided to let her call the shots on how long we stayed; we don’t want her to get overwhelmed. They came back to the museum exhibit hall to find me. David got a photo of this artwork on display which represents the horror of the camp.

 

We left through this gate with its inscription, “Work Makes You Free.” If only that promise of freedom had been true.

Day 37, Part I – Goodbye, Barcelona; hello, Munich!

Day 37 – Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Travel days are such a bear. As usual, the cheapest flight was the earliest flight, so we got up at 4:10 AM since the taxi guy was arriving at 4:30. We left Christine on her own in Barcelona for a day, since her flight home wasn’t until the evening. (Goodbye, Christine! Thanks for spending the week with us! See you in Ireland in a couple of months!)  The taxi guy was so efficient that we were at the airport by five; he did not talk, but the music on his radio was pure 70’s goodness.

This flight on Vueling was the antithesis of our last disastrous flight (into Barcelona).

  • Instead of being thwarted by Ryanair, we were allowed a personal item each!
  • Instead of sitting in the last couple of rows, we got seats in Row 5, together!
  • Instead of leaving six hours late, the plane departed on time!

We had no idea how lucky all of this was before that other flight.

Not all of us arrived completely unscathed, however. Where Ryanair had merely damaged the new red bag, Vueling ripped the entire wheel carriage and wheels off, which meant that our previously-rolling bag would now have to be carried. (That’s what we get for a 25-euro bag – 2 uses.) My new plan: put the bulk of the weight into the big black rolling bag, strap the red bag to it, and wheel them together as one.

We landed in Munich at 9:00, and our lovely host Herr Bremerich said we could come check in directly. Hooray!  We took the s-bahn from the Flughaven to Ostbahnhof, transferred to the U-5, got off at Innsbrucker Ring and walked two short blocks to the apartment. It was very cute and had everything one could need: toilet paper, oil, salt and pepper, and dish soap. Hooray again! It was good-sized, too: the apartment could have slept seven people, if we had had seven people and they were very friendly about sharing beds.

We knew that most of the day could be spent traveling and getting settled, so instead we dropped the bags, repacked a daypack, and headed for Dachau. None of us had eaten, so we raced to get a bit of food – lovely pastry and incredible onion quiche – before catching the bus out to the camp.

Talking about broken luggage and drinking beer in the same post as going to a concentration camp seemed uncool, so I have put the Dachau photos and text in a separate post.

On the bus back to the train station, we spoke with a group of school kids on a tour from Canada, and with a man and his son from Seal Beach, right near where I grew up. We took the train to Marienplatz, the very heart of Munich.

The plan? To take Quinland to a wonderful dinner at Weisses Bräuhaus. The reality? To dine along with a zillion Bayern München fans (as the side was playing Real Madrid that night in the Champions League semi-final). In fact, the place was booked, but we managed to squeeze in to a “Reserved” table if we promised to eat and be out of there before the reservation people showed up.

I was so happy to be there. Besides having my favorite Schneider Weisse beer, the food is amazing. (When we lived on the Chiemsee, this is where I asked to go for my birthday dinner.) We introduced Q to the wonder that is Semmelknödel (Bavarian bread dumplings). Yum…

 

We dropped by Kaufhof for some food for the morning, then went home. ‘Twas the night before steroids, so while D and Q watched some of the soccer game, I read, took a dose of the drugs and a sleeping pill, and headed off to bed.

Expenditures: Taxi to airport in Barcelona, pretzel for Q in the Munich airport, transit passes, quiche lunch, museum entry, spendy wonderful dinner at Weisses Bräuhaus, groceries at Kaufhof.

Experiences: A good flight, for one! Quinland’s introduction to Germany: visits to a concentration camp, to the center of Munich, to my favorite Munich restaurant, and to a German grocery store (and a chance to hear some wild and LOUD German football fans!).