On the morning of July fourth, we started with a driving tour of Munich. One of the first things we saw was the building where the infamous Munich Agreement was signed, in which Neville Chamberlain “appeased” Hitler by allowing him to take a piece of Czechslovakia. Chamberlain believed he had maintained “Peace in our time,” but Hitler promptly invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia.
The main stop on the driving tour was Nymphenberg Palace, a showy palace built in imitation of Versailles.
The couple who first lived in the palace, a Bavarian prince and Italian princess, were married by proxy, which sounds like a great way to save money by cutting out the expense of a DJ and food. But I guess when they finally met a while after the wedding, the homely appearance of the prince was a crushing disappointment for the princess, so the prince made it up to her by building the princess this palace when she gave birth to a son.
The most interesting feature of the palace to our travelers was a painting on one of the ceilings; the painting includes an optical illusion where an angel always appears to be flying away from the viewer.
After our guided tour of the palace, we took a brief walk through the gardens.
We returned to Munich’s old town with enough time to grab lunch, see the Glockenspiel, and use the public restrooms.
Our local guide had convinced Laura to try a German version of a meat loaf sandwich. Apparently, this was one of those times when the German to English translation was a bit loose; by “meatloaf” the Germans literally mean “a loaf of meat” and not necessarily ground beef. A few bites in, Laura described the sandwich as “too spongy” and went with old reliable: grilled bratwurst. Even with the sandwich false start, we returned to their the Glockenspiel in time to see it do its thing at the top of the hour.
After lunch, we took a bus to nearby Dachau, which was the first of the Nazi’s concentration camps. Dachau was intended as a camp for political opponents mainly, but as time went on the Nazis sent more people there for racial reasons. The prisoners were used as slave laborers.
Although tremendously depressing, the museum and exhibits at Dachau were very well done, and a video that we saw there provided a real feel for how the camp operated. It’s unbelievable to be able to walk around and see the guard towers, the crematoriums, the barbed-wire fences where these Nazi atrocities actually occurred.
By about 4:30 we were back in Munich and had free time in the Aldstadt for shopping, eating, and for Brandon and Joe to climb the narrow staircase of the Glockenspiel. The restaurant we went to for dinner had free wifi, which meant…
Our tour manager, Tim, recommended a beer garden for after dinner, the Augustiner Biergarten, and this was definitely an experience of the culture of Munich. The place was massive.
And the beers were massive too.
As Joe pointed out, it is hard to imagine a similar establishment in the United States without roughly 7,000 police officers present to keep order. In Munich, though, it all went smoothly.
This was definitely a fun way to end our last night in Munich. The next day, our last day of the tour, we would leave for Rothenburg. But…