We landed, and this time, we were able to go through customs. It was quite possibly the funniest thing. We pushed Cookie through the customs line first, and so she took on the first German of our 4 day Munich adventure. Flustered, Cookie struggled to answer questions such as how long we were planning to be here, why we were here, or where we were going following our stent in Munich. The customs lady, a very nice and enjoyable person, laughed at her the entire time. Cookie, flustered, ended the interaction with, "I wasn't the one who planned our adventure!"
**Just to set the scene a little. I believe we were all a little anxious to encounter or interact with Germans because of their perceived "harsh" persona. That essentially set the tone for the start of our 4 day vacation here. But we couldn't have been more wrong. They were very kind and helpful which made us feel worse for stereotyping**
To continue, we set forth to arrive at our hostel which was right outside the central station. Germany carries group deals for tickets, so we could travel all throughout Munich for 7 euros (now that's our kind of price!) Sammy, being the most observant one here, noticed that we didn't even show our purchased ticket to anyone or even scan it to prove we bought this ride. We made it all the way to the central station without anyone asking for a single ticket!! Not a big deal to us now, however, we couldn’t help thinking how strange that was (again, we don't want to make these Germans upset, so we thought we would leave it be).
We got lost inside this MASSIVE train station. I want you to picture a mall, and then insert a train station inside it doubling the square footage. That's how big this place was!! We finally hit the streets after getting completely lost inside the maze, and luckily, our hostel was maybe a football field away.
Sammy booked this hostel, and I’m not necessarily proud to say we only booked one double room with the plan being to sneak in the third person (the lucky third person was me...) And so it was. I waited outside for 15 mins while they got all the information and took my bag in as though it was theirs, and Cookie came back down for me. **Side bar: this plan could have gone horribly wrong. We could have been caught and left without a room completely. We could have had a terrible room set up. Karma could have caught up to us at some point. Our still college budget minds at hand led us to this decision, and we’re lucky to say it all worked out. It’s just another anecdote to replay and laugh about as time goes on.** The room surpassed our expectations. This time, the beds were in a line up against the wall. I'll make sure to explain the sleeping arrangements in just a moment. We set up everything, sorted money, and decided to head out to the location for the 1972 Olympic Games!
We took the bus, and again, not a single person verified that we had tickets to ride this line. Oh well, we just keep our mouths shut.
Once we get off the train, we walk up and through the stadium. The entire village was incredible, and the stadiums used were then holding a concert! We spent some time there, decided to head back to the train station, and ended up walking through the shopping district to Old Munich.
Starving is an understatement for us at this point. Now I don't know about Cookie, but Sammy and I's stomach work in the same way. We get hungry and grumpy. However, we decide to try and see the Glockenspiel before we get anything to satisfy that hunger, and we finally made it there. Cookie had been obsessing over seeing the gold man from The Parent Trap in London, but sadly, that was probably Hollywood adding their two cents. While we were glancing around the Marienplatz though, lo and behold, there was one man covered in gold paint. Now cookie was beside herself. She couldn't believe it!! The tough part was trying to convince her to go take a photo with him, so Sammy and I decided that I would go with her while Sammy took the picture. I walked right up to him, stood right beside home, and began smiling for the supposed picture. That was when he gold man went harsh German on us. He began to spit out profanities yelling, "don't you f*** thinking about it. What do you f**** think I'm out here for. Don't you have f*** common sense. Why else would I be out here covered in paint!" We walked away so quickly...the dude scared us silly and we weren't going pay him after that! I turned semi-skeptical to Germans following that encounter, and didn't want to do anything but head back to the hostel and sleep. Sammy and Cookie insisted on getting milkshakes from a cute looking store, and so we did, although we couldn't help but feel more alert to the idea of the gold man following us. Also, we didn’t entirely get to appreciate the Glockenspiel for our fear of the gold man. We rationalize that maybe the next day, we’ll stop by again.
We decided to have our desert before our dinner as a cure to the abuse we felt from the gold man and his unneeded cursing (and the dinner bill would be significantly lessened since desert filled is up!) Following yummy milkshakes, we found a shop where we FaceTimed our parents. It was cute and quaint, but only gave us an hour of wifi. Stingy much?? Our hour came too quickly, so we headed up, showered and started talking before we all fell asleep on the one massive bed we formed from the two.
So we headed out to the train set for Dachau. Let me point out how we bought our tickets, for a great price again, thinking that surely this time the Germans would check. We get on the train, and also on the bus in Dachau going towards the concentration camp and still, nothing! A sort of mix emotions came up: should we be mad that we bought these tickets and they didn't check them, should we be happy we weren't causing problems with the Germans, or should we be indifferent towards tickets the following two days. Regardless, checked tickets or not, we arrived safely at the concentration camp.
To try and illustrate all the emotions, the detail, the layout, and the experience we had there at Dachau I believe to be almost impossible. My words could not do it justice. We began the tour by watching a 22 minute video which, thinking back, probably wasn't the best way to start the tour...tears already flowing, we honestly had to regroup before we could think of a plan of action. How were we going to to about exploring this facility? We decided to start from audio point number one, and begin the adventure.
Walking around, hearing accounts from different survivors, learning about the gruesome, atrocious and vile actions committed against these people left us speechless. It's eye opening. We didn't experience any of this, or even witness the remains of the genocide directly following the occurrence but we could tell; we could feel; we could sympathize. This was death in its most repulsive form. It was said to be a 2.5 tour. We were there for 5 hours just taking it all in. Here's one fact that really blew my mind: this was Hitler's hatred not only towards Jews, but towards politicians who were against him, homosexuals, asocials, and special prisoners.
It was an emotionally draining day, but I'm glad we were able to partake in and learn about this vital part in our world history.
We left Dachau and headed back to the central station in Munich. We were reminiscing on the actions of the day and talking about our next plan of action when we missed our stop! No fear though. We got off directly after and took the next train up to the central station.
Exhausted and hungry (honestly, when are we never not??) we look and look for a place to eat in the train stay on because the prices were incredibly affordable. It was decided that Sam and I would get noodles while Cookie got the Bratwurst, and we would eat it at old Munich in front of the glockenspiel. After a haphazard ordeal ordering our food that left us discombobulated, we very eagerly headed to old Munich. Well, as soon as we sat down on the train, Sammy screamed, "The camera!" PANIC.
No camera. No one had it. It was left on the train when we missed the stop 45 mins ago.
Sudden agony set into us all when we realized that we were "those tourists." We had lost Cookie's very expensive camera with a ton of memories on it. The only thing we could do at that point, from my point of view, was do what we can. Look on the S2 or go to the central station and see what they could do. But it was lost and there was no way this would be an easy feat.
It wasn't on the train we looked on, and all the while, Cookie was beating herself up while Sammy and I dealt with the pain in a different way. We ate our food. (Remember, we hadn't eaten anything during Dachau and our stomachs needed energy to get us through the fact that we lost the camera.) Once we got back to the central station, we headed straight for Information and Cookie, with her puppy dog eyes and warm smile (through the pain of losing her camera) asked ever so politely if there was anyway to recover, say a really expensive Canon camera? The blonde and the man said there was actually a camera in lost and found!!
Lo and behold, the camera was in jail, and all cookie had to do was pay a lump sum of 5 euros to get Nixon (the name of the camera of course) out. And so it were, three girls exhausted from not only a morbidly emotional day but also dejected and without hope because we never thought we'd see those awesome pictures again.
We didn't even see the glockenspiel that day. We headed to tell the tail to our significant others, and decided to wait to tell the parentals until they read their respected letters.
We got on the bus to Füssen, and from there, we were to take a bus to the Neuschwanstein Castle (ONLY THE PRETTIEST CASTLE IN ALL THE LAND!) The 2 hour train ride wasn't bad at all, and it was easy to find out how to get to the castle from there. Let me point out how we still hadn't had our tickets checked! No single German train worker or whatever bothered to check whether we actually paid the 35 euros to get to Füssen!
The area around the castle was something straight out of a fairytale. A lake at the bottom of the mountain and a village were just some of the aspects that made this seem a fantasy. We took many a picture...I got my sound of music photo...and we hiked up to a beautiful view and a breathtaking castle. Cinderella's Castle. We took a rather hilarious foot picture semi in front of the castle. I've learned Cookie is not flexible whatsoever, and Sammy bruised her Achilles trying to prove she was. And she is, no doubt! We took the tour inside the castle and it's a shame I couldn't take pictures because this was incredible! I can keep saying it was out of a fairytale, but you wouldn't appreciate it because it just doesn't do it justice!! We learned a lot about the king that only stayed for 172 days and all the people that have visiting castle in a far off land. Because the time to get back was short (we only had an hour to get down the mountain on the bus to Füssen and on the train back to Munich), we hiked it down the mountain. I mean we were booking it down into the forest, through the village and right up to the bus stop!
We made it to the train station and headed back to the Starbucks. The fickle wifi wouldn't allow us to FaceTime very well,, so we ended up going back to our room and getting ready for bed.