Munich deserves an entire blog post to itself because it is just that wonderful.
We stayed at a lovely little place called ‘The Tent’ (http://www.the-tent.com/).This place is incredible. It is only open between May and October every year I believe and cost us about 8 Euro per night, which is definately one of the cheapest places we managed to stay at peak time during summer. The Tent consists of two or three different ‘tents’ and there is a choice between staying in the big dorm full of bunk beds, sleeping on the floor or camping outside in your own tent. We opted for the first option. You are allowed as many blankets as you like, free bread rolls in the evening, a communal kitchen and a campfire every evening. It really does have the best communal feel and to top it all off the showers were clean and warm. My week was made.
Note: The workers don’t look kindly upon making a fort with your blankets, so don’t do it, or, um, make sure you take it down it the morning…
A lovely lad from Plymouth gave us advice on Berlin and Colin a book with was nice, whilst another lad from California appeared to hate life and everything about Germany (which he had been travelling around for a month); I think maybe travelling isn’t for him.
The day after arriving we decided to go and visit the concentration camp memorial site for Dachau. Dachau was very much the model for other concentration camps and mainly detained political leaders who disagreed with the Nazi regime. We spent hours and hours here after buying an audio guide each for 3.50, which was much better than the disruptive tours that companies were charging 25 Euros for. I’m quite glad we dodged the tours in retrospect as I found many that we came across to be distasteful and sensationalist; the memorial site where tens of thousands were killed speaks in volumes, an annoying tour guide is just not needed. Anyway, it was a really interesting day, albeit an extremely eerie place, especially the gas chamber. After visiting such a place it is just mindblowing to believe that people such as David Irving deny the exstence of the holocaust.
When we eventually got back into central Munich we visited the Hofbrauhaus. Hitler had given his first ever political speech on the top floor of this beer hall. The top floor has generally been used for politcal meetings; they would tank the guests up to make them more agreeable. I didn’t think that I liked beer, but Munich definately changed my mind. There is a bavarian beer law that only allows Barley, Hops, Water, and more recently, Yeast as the ingredients. This means that it tastes fresh, there are no hangovers and you’ll be ready for more! To end the day we went for food a a lovely little food and music festival that was happening.
The next day we decided to go on a ‘pay-as-you-like’ tour. I was expecting quite a large group, seeing as it was techincally a free tour if you wanted to be mean; there were six of us. It was a really lovely tour by a man from Staffordshire and his dog. The small group meant that he was able to give us loads of tips on our other planned destinations and each of us payed him about 10 Euros at the end (he ‘subtley’ suggested this as an average price) – this is much cheaper, and better quality than a pay-in-advance tour.
A small list of things covered:
- The Glockenspiele dance
- Marienplatz (the new town hall)
- A typical Bavarian breakfast of Beer, Bratwurst, Mustard and Pretzel… interesting.
- The place in which some SS guards were killed during the Beer Hall Putsch; we could see where there used to be a memorial for them in bricks which has been of course covered up with concrete now.
- The biggest Deli in the world with wine costing half a million euros… we had a wonder around the Deli after the tour, I have never been so nervous in a shop in my life.
After the tour we went to the English Garden to watch the surfers on the lake, followed by the Hofbrauhaus, naturally.
One of the things that I really loved about Munich was the intimacy that it had. It is the third largest city in Germany and yet it felt like a small town. They also don’t allow supermarkets in the centre in order to keep smaller businesses up and running which I think is really lovely, it’s just a shame that capitalism has got to everywhere else in the west.
If you are unsure of where to visit in Germany, go to Munich. Go. Go. Go.