OCTOBER 13, 2017 BY TAYETMTRAVEL
Munich and Oktoberfest!!!- Family Adventure Part 1
Welcome back, all! It has been a very busy two weeks (well, mainly 8 days total). Let me explain, Cole’s family was visiting and we all decided to go on a mini adventure- going from Munich, Germany to Paris, France, to London, England and back to the Netherlands. The travelers included: Cole (my husband), Sherry (my mother-in-law), Ross and Leslie (Cole’s Uncle and Aunt) and myself! Three cites; Five travelers; 8 days.
DAY 1: Travel to Munich and Dachau Concentration Camp
First stop: Munich, Germany!
Up way to early on a Monday morning–about 3:00 a.m., we managed to catch our 6:30 a.m. Transavia (budget airline) flight out of Eindhoven (about an hour from where we live but this small airport is one of my favorites). A little grumpy, tired and sleepy, somehow we managed to get checked-in and get through security within about 45 minutes total. Once we were boarding we walked down the tarmac to the plane–yes, the airport is that small, that you have to walk on the tarmac to your plane. After our one-hour flight, we arrived in Munich.
Arrival around 8 and a 45 min taxi ride (about 70 euros) to Hotel Mirabell, which is in the center of the city, we dropped off our bags and our first hiccup was about to occur. To start, remember there were five of us traveling, so the original plan was for Cole, Sherry and I to share one room and for Ross and Leslie to be in another room. However, due to some miscommunication, the room for the three of us only had one bed and no roll away. We were willing to make it work but the front desk agent insisted on the fact that we can not have three persons in one room. Long story short, Cole and I got a room at one of their sister hotels–that was actually much nicer in ALL aspects (customer service to breakfast to rooms)–called, Hotel Metropol. I will highly recommend this hotel in Munich!
So, after this whole debacle Cole and I were now checked into our hotel and ready to get some lunch in us–all this happened before noon. We left our bags at the hotel (our rooms were not ready yet) and started our way to find food. We ended up at Augustiner-Keller Restaurant and Beer Garden. This place was EXACTLY what we all needed; beers, Coca-Cola and a plate full of different sausages and cheeses. It was delicious! (Sorry, I do not have any photos of the food here because we were all starving and it all disappeared rather quickly). After full stomachs and phones charged we headed out to Marienplatz (city square) to meet our guide for a tour of Dachau Concentration Camp. P.S. there is a Glockenspiel at the Town Hall(Rathaus) in the Marienplatz which is pretty cool to see and there is a lot of shopping in this area.
We walked around and stepped in for a beer and bathrooms at Donsil, which is in the Marienplatz, waited for our guide to get there around 1 p.m. There were about 30 people in our group, but the guide–I think his name was Eric– took care of everything- from transportation to Dachau to guiding us through the entire camp. The way this man spoke was very similar to that of author and Professor, Ron Rash. If you have ever read any of his books or spoke to him you will know what I mean, he has a very distinct way of speaking and educating.–His books are worth a read!
Anyway, we took an hour ride (between trains and buses) from the city center to Dachau. Now, there is a little building with a bathroom and shop where you first arrive but as you start down the path to the gates you can start to feel the horror that happened here. The day we went was a beautiful day, and the leaves are starting to change and fall, so to me, walking through this path was almost hauntingly-beautiful.
Once, you get to the gates and see: “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Makes You Free”); right there all the stories we grew up hearing and reading about in history classes became a reality. Walking through this place was so surreal and breathtaking. Stepping on the same ground as 200,000 people who were imprisoned, tortured and even killed–no other feeling can explain how I felt stepping on this ground.
This was one of the first Nazi run concentration camps formed in Germany for ‘political prisoners’. Opened in 1933 and continued to operate until Liberation Day in 1945. There was a total of 34 barracks, which were originally constructed to hold a total of 6,000 personnel, however there was a constant stream of overcrowding causing illnesses to spread–only one of the many forms of torture used. Nowadays, all of the originally barracks have been torn down and two were reconstructed to give visitors the impression of what it was like to ‘live’ in this camp. However, where each of the original barracks stood, there is cement placards that state the number of each barrack.
Maintenance Building/ Roll-Call Grounds
The first set of prisoners were forced to build, what is now called, the Maintenance building. This building became the first place the prisoners saw when they entered Dachau. This was the ‘in-processing’ building and would also become a place of individual torture (lashings to being hung by their hands from a wooden beam for hours). At the back of the camp are the gas chambers and the crematorium–I do not think much needs to be said about these two places. Walking through this place has truly made history become a reality and has reinforced the idea that we need to do everything in our powers to ensure that this does not happen again. (The entire tour, plus travel, took about 5 hours).
After this day of some of the purest emotions, it was time for some relaxation. On our train back from Dachau, we got off at Hauptbanhof station, because it was closer to our hotel. We decided to get dinner and talk about what we had all experienced at this restaurant called, Muncher Stubn. Great food, great beer and great conversation- what more can you ask for? –I got a burger, which is probably in the top burgers I have had around the world. (I have one in every city I visit).
We headed back to the hotel after dinner and our bags were already placed in our rooms. Freshening up a little bit and then off to Oktoberfest! So, if you don’t know, Oktoberfest is a HUGE festival and celebration of harvest season. There is a lot of beer involved, games, roller coasters and so much more to do. The festival itself if free to enter throughout the opening times (22 September to 7 October, most days open at 10 or 9 a.m. and go until 10:30 p.m.). We walked around the festival, kinda scoping out what to expect the next day (the day we had tickets for a beer tent). You could really spend all day here.
Since it was later, we decided to step into a little bar area right by the exit in the festival and just watched the drunk persons leaving–I am telling you this was one of the most amusing things to watch!
Especially the guy who was being held up by his buddies and then ended up getting hungry and stepped over to the little snack stand and put his head of the metal tray, I swear he was asleep for a good 5 minutes before his buddies got him and continued on their merry way. Or, the guy who was trying to eat this pizza looking thing and walking, he just kept missing his mouth but was still able to walk. –I am telling you that I have never seen so many drunk people in one place at one time. Crazy!– Don’t worry though, there was security and multiple Red Cross tents to help those who got a little too crazy.
We decided to head back to the hotel after about 2 hours of watching people and headed to bed. It had been a very long day.
Day 2: Oktoberfest and exploring
Not gonna lie, we all slept in a little on this day, but all still managed to get to breakfast by 9:30. This breakfast was wonderful! An assortment of everything, from cheeses to bread to waffles to fruits. Delicious! After our stomachs were full and ready for the next stop, we were off to: Oktoberfest!
Schutzen-Festzelt, beer tent
We had tickets for the beer tent, Schutzen-Festzet, at 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and we enjoyed every minute we were there. Before we made it to the tent, we played a few of the little games around the festival. What is nice about getting to the beer tent this early is that you get to hear the band warming up, and get your food order in before it gets too crowded. Our tickets for the beer tent, included tickets for 2 beers for everybody and food for everybody. Now, you can always drink and eat more than you have tickets for, and then you just get a bill at the end. Also, if you do not drink beer they only have two options inside the tent: Spatze (basically Coca-Cola and Lemonade) and Water.
Beers only come in one size: one liter. To say the least, there was A LOT of beer. We got this plate of mixed meats (pork, chicken, and duck were the main components), a bowl of sauerkraut and potatoes. Most of the time we would just get multiple different types of food and all share it. Each table sits 10, so these two other American guys sat with us, honestly, I can not remember their names. A beer in and the music playing, just about everyone was on the benches dancing and singing and just having a good ol’ time. This tent can hold a little over 5,000 people inside–to say the least there was a bunch of people.
Tina Turner and Elvis impersonators!
Experiencing this level of Oktoberfest, was just plan AWESOME!
We left our tent around 3 p.m., this was of course after seeing/hearing a Tina Turner impersonator and everyone singing “Proud Mary”. Also, we found out later that Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the tent later that night. After some more walking around the festival we decided that we wanted to go to Hofbrauhaus (a restaurant), so we did some more exploring around the city on the way there but, it was too crowded so we ended up at Augustiner-Brau am Platzl– I think that was the name of the restaurant. Personally, I did not think it was that great, especially compared to the food we had just had for lunch at Oktoberfest.
Back to the hotel, and we ended up talking to this couple from, maybe Missouri (not positive). Also, there was this gentleman, who we also ended up talking to who was from Belmont, NC (my husband’s home town also, where his family lives now). Belmont is a small town near Charlotte, NC and running into someone from there on the other side of the world is almost unbelievable but pretty cool.
After good conversation in the lobby with our new friends and then to bed we went.
Day 3: Exploring and Travel
We all woke up re-energized and ready for some walking, we decided to just do some exploring around the city and saw some of the amazing architecture all around. We also got to see a very expensive BMW in a dealership–close to $200,000 for everything in it. We walked back through Marienplatz and did a little shopping.
After all this we headed back to the hotel and caught a taxi to the airport and off to our next destination: Paris!
Personally, I would love to go back to Oktoberfest one year, it was so much fun! If you like beer and festivals, this is a must see! What are some of your Oktoberfest experiences anywhere in the World? Also, if you have any suggestions of places to see and places to go feel free to give your input in the comments below. Part two of the Family Adventure (Paris) will be continued in the next post!
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