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Manic Munich

Bavaria - Munich

sunny 26 °C
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After two busy excursion days, our final day in Bavaria was to fill in the rest of the gaps in Munich before flying home late in the evening.

We began once again with an earlyish start, grabbing breakfast, before dropping off our bags and checking out of the hotel. We then headed out to the central station, grabbing the S-Bahn train to Dachau. After half an hour we arrived in the suburban city, and changed to a bus full of other tourists all headed to the Concentration Camp Museum.

Entrance to Dachau

Entrance to Dachau

The Dachau Concentration Camp was the first opened by the Nazis, and is now open as a free museum almost every day of the year. We began walking the short path from the bus stop to the entrance gate, with the typical "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work makes [you] free) sign, before entering the vast site, and heading towards the main building.

Arbeit Macht Frei

Arbeit Macht Frei

Inside the building, which was formally the administration, were many placards detailing the rise of the Nazi regime, many of which are still sadly present today, before going on to explain the history of Dachau more specifically.

Walking back across the roll call area, we entered one of the reconstructed huts, with different sections showing how over the course of time, the camp got more populated, and thus density of beds was increased.

Early Layout of Beds

Early Layout of Beds


Former Hut Sites

Former Hut Sites

We then headed up the tree lined centre, past the site of former huts, to the chapels built within the site, before heading west to the crematoriums. These were built within an extension of the camp site, and were relatively underused for the extermination of prisoners, although still included the gas chamber labelled as "wash room".

Crematoriums

Crematoriums


Stove

Stove

After a depressing morning we headed back to the city centre for some other sights.

Unfortunately Munich wasn't the easiest city to get across, as most of the metro system runs off the backbone of the central corridor, meaning seeing the football stadium from Dachau took an hour and a half by public transport, but just 18 minutes if we decided to drive...

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena

We therefore decided to make the most of the inevitable trip back to the centre to get some souvenirs, before heading back out to the Allianz Arena. Whilst neither of us are particularly bothered about football, it is an icon of the city, and after having to transfer to a different train en route (and given gummy bears for the inconvenience), we could see the stadium from the station itself. As our legs were aching like mad by now we therefore had a quick look and headed towards the Olympic Park.

BMW Headquarters

BMW Headquarters

Upon arriving, we took a short walk across a bridge, overlooked by the BMW headquarters, and entered the landscaped park seeing the stadium and arenas from the 1972 Olympic Games. Again, as our feet ached we didn't explore too much, and we also knew that if we made it to our last site, the Zoo, before 3pm we could be in time for the Polar Bear talk.

Olympiapark

Olympiapark

Hurrying through the underground system across the city, we eventually arrived at the zoo with ten minutes to spare. I explained to the cashier in German which tickets we needed, but forgetting the word "auch" and using "as well" instead, she had me sussed... no matter how much more German I could use she would always talk back in English. Far too inefficient for her to be wasting time when she was better in English than I was in German.

After hurrying through I then noticed on the map that we had been wrong all day.... the talk was at 3:30pm! We therefore had 40 minutes to get to the other end of the park, and so didn't need to rush. Therefore we started to look at the animals en route, guessing what their German names were before arriving.

Red Panda or 'Kleiner Panda'

Red Panda or 'Kleiner Panda'

Getting towards the Rhinos I wondered what they could be called, as Rhino sounded like a Romance/Greek word not a Germanic one. However walking past the Café Rhino sign, I thought I must have been wrong. Then wondering how a German would say it in my mind, I said it to myself in a German accent just as a German lady behind said the same thing in the same accent... ?

One of the Rhinos

One of the Rhinos

However after going into the Rhino house, where a little child was shouting "Nashörner" at the animal I soon realised I was right at the start - Rhino was not the German word at all!

Polar Bear Cub

Polar Bear Cub

Carrying on the path, it was not long before we arrived at the Polar Bear enclosure. We had aimed to arrive for the polar bear talk for the simple reason that it would therefore be more likely that the 9 month old cub would be on show, and luckily he was. Jumping around copying his mother, watching the cub was a real experience. And then he ran to the side for a swim in the window-side pool. We therefore got to be less than a metre away from the animal, as he swam and used the glass to push himself down with his paw.

Polar Bear swimming

Polar Bear swimming

After sitting around for twenty or so minutes, we continued around the zoo with such diverse animals as baby orangutans, Steffi the elephant and cows... Yes, despite Bavaria being full of cows, they were inside a zoo enclosure - surrounded by a moat so they didn't escape....

Baby Orangutan

Baby Orangutan

After a while at the zoo we then headed back to the city centre having seen almost everything. It was thus time for dinner, bag collection, and the airport.

Grabbing food, I confused the lady with my English so much that she then proceeded to talk the wrong language and to the customer for the next five minutes. Sitting down was well needed, but when it came to getting back up this was such a struggle. Having walked 40 miles in the last three days, I literally had to struggle down the stairs as my legs had seized up!

Making it back to the hotel, we changed, repacked and set off with our bags towards the airport. Getting on the S-Bahn, we headed out of the city when our train developed a fault. The announcement told us to wait on the adjacent platform for a train to change to, yet despite the fault having only just occurred, as we stood at the platform we could already see our replacement train coming to collect us...

Making it to the airport in plenty of time, we headed to border control. However once there, we got stuck behind an Asian family who had no idea what they were doing, with their friend standing in the way in order to wave a goodbye. We got into the EU queue (whilst we still could), but as it was much shorter, the Asian family's friend told them to use that queue instead - despite them not being European Citizens. Luckily we had got ahead of them, and after easing through, it was their turn. Bad luck for anyone behind as they had a tonne of questions and needed a full on visa check...

Security was also pretty slow - lots of random checks as well as an incompetence to actually ease the now developing queue. Having been held back from going through security itself because of a slow family ahead, I took as much time as I fancied repacking my bits at the other end.

After a busy trip we were tired and ready to go home, and luckily with no delay it wasn't long before we boarded and eventually landed back in Luton.

The trip was incredibly busy, and could have done with an extra day, but nevertheless was great. The trip to the Neuschwanstein castle being a particular highlight, and I would highly recommend it if in the area.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 09:08 Archived in Germany Tagged animals walking history airport zoo city war bavaria olympic macabre Comments (0)

Castles & Alpine Bavaria

Bavaria - Hohenschwangau

sunny 23 °C
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As like yesterday, the plan for today was to take an excursion on the train, before filling what remained of the day with some sightseeing in Munich.

Waking up at the disgusting time of 6:30am, we headed down for breakfast, before making our way to catch the 8:40 train to Füssen, not far from the Austrian border.

The German Alps

The German Alps

The border area is full of mountain backdrops, which although most of the peaks are in Austria, there are also some German mountains, and thus after yesterday's mild disappointment, we were about to embark on an Alpine experience.

Neuschwanstein overlooking the village

Neuschwanstein overlooking the village

Getting off the train with tonnes of East Asians, we raced to make sure we could get a place on the bus to the next village. Luckily two bendy buses turned up, and so there was plenty of room! 10 minutes later we were in the village of Hohenschwangau, home to the Neuschwanstein Castle.

The Marienbrücke

The Marienbrücke

After a bit of confusion, we took the bus up to the Marienbrücke - a bridge over a gorge with fantastic views of the castle, before we crossed over and walked up a bit of the hill opposite, where views above the castle could be seen.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

The views were very good, but as it was quite steep we headed back towards the castle itself, past the bridge. Not long later we were at the castle itself.

Views over the castle

Views over the castle

We had decided not to go inside as the queues were very long and it didn't seem worth the wait, but we managed to get inside the courtyard itself anyway, and thus we still saw a fair bit.

Inside the Courtyard

Inside the Courtyard

Heading back down the hillside, we eventually ended back in the village, where we then headed towards the lake at the bottom of the road.

Alpensee

Alpensee

Surrounded by mountains with clear water, it was particularly beautiful, and after taking many pictures, we headed back into the pretty village and towards the bus stop to head back to the station.

Alpine Buildings

Alpine Buildings

Whilst Salzburg had felt very generic and city-like, this village on the other hand gave us that Alpine experience we were craving. After a two hour journey back through the countryside, we arrived back in Munich and headed back to the hotel.

Glockenspiel

Glockenspiel

Having a quick rest, we then headed back to the city centre, in time for the Glockenspiel performance at the clock tower, where at 5pm an old story about the city is told through figurines.

Munich buildings

Munich buildings

After grabbing dinner, we then headed for a walk around the city centre sights, heading towards the Englischer Garten - a large landscaped park along the riverside.

Englischer Garten

Englischer Garten


Chinese Tower

Chinese Tower

After walking as far as the Chinese Tower, we headed back towards the city past the university before our last stop, at the Theresienwiese, site of the Oktoberfest, where tents for this year's event were already being assembled.

Oktoberfest site

Oktoberfest site

After a long day of walking and exploring, we headed back to the hotel for a well earned rest, before our final day in the city.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:09 Archived in Germany Tagged hills park walking mountain city castle alps bavaria Comments (0)

Sightseeing in Salzburg

Bavaria - Salzburg

overcast 19 °C
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After the Côte d'Azur, the next summer trip away was to Bavaria.

Originally Bavaria and Austria were planned to be undertaken as a week's holiday, however after trying to combine them failed due to flight times we decided to separate them into two weekend trips. The first would be based in Munich, with day trips around, before visiting Vienna and Bratislava a month later.

We began by flying out to Munich airport on Friday night, getting to the hotel quite late and going straight to sleep before our first day trip the following morning.

Giving ourselves a bit of a lie in, followed by breakfast, we eventually made it on the 10:40 train to Salzburg, which was pretty busy. Although as it was a Saturday in summer I guess this was hardly surprising. We had bought ourselves a Bayern Ticket, allowing us travel anywhere within Bavaria, a well as neighbouring towns, for €31 for the two of us all day long, including on local transport. As Salzburg was the first place over the Austrian border, this meant our ticket was valid and thus after a two hour train ride, we entered the Austrian city.

Although Salzburg is renowned as the city of the Sound of Music, to many Austrians, this film is unknown, and the city is, well, a city. Much of the movie was not filmed in the city at all, and only based upon sights within it. Therefore, although some of the sights would be seen, it would for the most part not feel like being on a film set. In fact, the city initially did not evoke the Alpine image at all... crossing over the river and border, the first images were of logging and wood chippings, before factories and the urban city station.

The Mirabell Gardens

The Mirabell Gardens

Eventually walking into the city past many urban buildings, we arrived at the Mirabell Gardens - some beautiful landscaped gardens beside the Mirabell Palace, where many scenes from the Sound of Music were filmed. Although busy, we were still able to explore the gardens, before walking towards the Salzach River.

View from the bridge

View from the bridge

Walking past Mozart's home, we made our way to a bridge over the river for views of the city, and our first real Alpine views of the city.

One of the buildings built into the rock

One of the buildings built into the rock

We then walked past the old city towards the bottom of the Festungsberg, the hill on the south side of the river, separating the old city from the suburbs behind it. Attempting to climb up it, we eventually found the footpath much further down than we had expected, and after walking past some of the buildings built into the rock face, we made our way up the staircases to the top for views over the city.

View over the city

View over the city

After walking along the footpath we made our way back down, heading for the Petersfriedhof cemetery, where the end scene of the family hiding inside a tomb is based upon.

Petersfriedhof Cemetery

Petersfriedhof Cemetery

Heading out at the other end of the site, we headed for Residenzplatz, the main square by the cathedral, before walking to the Mozart Bridge, and eventually the house he was born in.

Mozart's Birthhouse

Mozart's Birthhouse

After having explored the city centre, we bought some souvenirs and then headed back to the train station for our return. Eventually getting onto the train itself after the driver stopped for a smoke, we made our way back past views of the Bavarian hills arriving in Munich two hours later.

Lederhosen shop

Lederhosen shop

After a quick rest at the hotel, we decided to go for a quick exploration of the city centre to seek out somewhere for our dinner tonight. Walking through the busy main street, past shops selling lederhosen, we eventually came across the LGBT event in the city this weekend, before returning and finding a restaurant for schnitzel.

LGBT event at the Main Square

LGBT event at the Main Square

Confusing the waiter with my (limited) German, we had a lovely German meal, before eventually returning to the hotel for the evening and tomorrow's adventure.

Posted by kmmk17 04:18 Archived in Austria Tagged hills walking city bavaria Comments (0)

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