Friday, August 8, 2008

Still here...

I joined a free walking tour of Munich and learned all about some amazing historical sights. The guide was hilarious and I really enjoyed myself. We started with the famous Glockenspiel which has characters that act out famous Bavarian historical events. I saw the sights related to Hitler and the Third Reich, I listened to tales of beer drinking and rubbed 2 lion's paws for good luck. I think the 1st one I rubbed this summer was more lucky!

I met Sabrina, a friend of Michael's. She took me for Bavarian food, which was amazing. Even more amazing, she introduced me to beer with lemonade. 1 Litre later, I was feeling pretty good about Munich. Sabrina's tour included Hitler's favourite pizza place, the veterinary campus including the infamous party room, the nude sunbathers in the Englischer Garten, Siegstrasse 12 where I sent so many letters, cards, and good thoughts, the site where Oktoberfest is held, and finished with a beer garden.

Yesterday, I learned fairytales are true. I visited the ultimate fairytale castle, Neuswanstein, located in Fuessen. I was up at 4am, took the 4:50 train, and made it into the short line for tickets before 8:30am. I toured both castles and marveled at their lavish interiors. There were so many fine things to look at, my eyes didn't know where to focus.

I took the cablecar to the top of the hill and had a spectacular view of the alps and castles. Only after I had started up did I realize people were parasailing from the top. I wish I had done a tandem jump...would have been a great way to see the castles. A Chinese-German guy rode the train with me home and we had a good time comparing the three cultures. He also taught me some more German, which is great.

Today, I went to Dachau Concentration Camp. I decided to join a tour this time and I was glad I did. Our guide didn't gloss over certain details or cite the politically-correct statements like I heard in Sachsenhausen. This place was just as horrible, if not worse. I walked through a gas chamber. The design and planning seems incredibly sinister. Someone worked hard to plan such an efficient system. What really struck me this time was a description of how the German people felt. Only about 40% actually voted for Hitler, the rest had to support or face the consequenses. I found myself wondering what I would have done...deep questions that will never have an answer.

Tomorrow, I think I will be going to Austria with Sabrina to see the birthplace of Mozart. After that, I'm not sure because I can't reach Dr. Siefert's family and there is a huge rock concert in Rothenburg (the tourist office told me to come Monday when they have all cleared out). It's okay, I'll find something to do and someplace interesting to visit.

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