To close out the first week of our trip, we spent our first weekend in Germany visiting Munich and Dachau. We woke up Saturday morning to take the train to Munich. This was our first time riding the train as a group, and it was a chaotic experience. We were able to catch our train on time with everyone in one piece. The train system proved to me further how inferior transportation is in the US when compared to Europe. When we arrived in Munich, we rushed to meet our tour guide. She introduced us to many great historical sites within the city: churches, hotels, museums, and a Michael Jackson shrine. I found the city to be a lot more fast paced than Augsburg. Munich is comparable to Philly, and Augsburg is comparable to Pitt in terms of size and feel. When we were sent off on our own, I was immediately overwhelmed. Even just finding somewhere to eat lunch felt like a daunting task. When walking through the city, you are constantly bombarded by hundreds of other tourists. There was also the problem of restrooms. I have never been anywhere in my life where it was harder to find a restroom than in Munich. It felt like they purposefully did not want tourists to be able to relieve themselves anywhere.
Now that I got all my complaining out of the way, I do want to talk about the positives of the trip to Munich. The city was absolutely breath taking. The architecture was so unique, no two buildings looked the same. The city was also insanely clean. There were plenty of places to shop, or in my case to window shop. There was always something to do, being in the city felt like an adventure. While this day in particular was challenging for me, it was my first taste of independence in a foreign country. Having to navigate in a foreign city that you have never been to and where you don’t know the language isn’t easy, but I am proud that I was able to do it. (Not alone of course, shout out to Ashna and Nate)
The next day, we hopped on the bus and headed to Dachau. Dachau was the first concentration camp that was built when Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany. It was built in 1933 and was indented to house political opponents of Hitler. When we arrived at the camp, we are greeted by our tour guide who provided us with a little bit of background history, and showed us a map of where we would be touring. The tour of the camp was very haunting. It felt like all of the images you saw in school and in movies were coming to life. Its one thing to learn about tragedies like this, but to see exactly where it happened is an entirely different experience. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and sensitive when it came to the topics at hand. When our tour ended, we walked through the museum which had a lot more information about the camp then what could be fit in the tour. The art that I saw while in the museum was my favorite part of this visit. The amount of beauty and pain that the works conveyed was immense, and the works said so much more than anything verbal or written could.