This weekend I visited Germany with nine other girls from the GIF program. Yep, that is right, there were TEN girls on ONE trip. Let’s just say there was some drama…a lot of chiefs and not enough Indians. But it was ok, the positive completely outweighed the negative!!!
There were four of us who had issues with our flights, so instead of leaving Thursday afternoon on a flight, we took an overnight train from Florence to Munich. We all packed only a backpack of things (Mom and Dad, you are probably not believing this, but its true)! We didn’t reserve beds because they were much more expensive, so we had chairs for the night. We were lucky and found a room with only one girl and she was getting off at Bologna so we were able to stretch out across the chairs as much as could. It wasn’t scary until we had to stop for 45 minutes in three different cities. We had no lock on the door and who knows what kind of people are hanging around train stations in the middle of the night. We left at 10pm and arrived in Munich at 6:30am. As we exited the train, it was a savior that Starbucks was right in front of us.
Once we arrived into Munich, we had a 20 minute walk to our hostel, where we ended up going into the 8 bedroom room where everyone else was sleeping. We got everyone up for the day and headed to Dachau concentration camp.
Upon arriving to Dachau we all had no idea what to expect. We ended up getting on a two-hour tour and it was very interesting. The Holocaust is something I have learned about nearly every year of my education, or at least talked about, so visiting made the event all the more real, yet surreal at the same time.
Dachau was one of the first prisons of the holocaust. Prior to WWII it was used to prison people of WWI, so was easily used as a holocaust station. Dachau was a men only concentration camp until around 1943 when the final solution was put into action. We watched a thirty-minute documentary on Dachau following the tour and words couldn’t even describe the feelings after visiting. It was such an unreal experience that we were all really happy for having the opportunity to encounter what our textbooks explained.
We also visited the BMW factory on Friday. It was really interesting because we learned at Dachau that prisoners were used in BMW factories as cheap labor. We didn’t do any tours. We just viewed the galleries and played in the cars…I am surprised we were not kicked out!
We also walked over to the Olympic Stadium and created our own mini tour. We saw the Olympic pool, the large stadium, and a beautiful pond between the two.
Friday night we visited the Hofbraus Haus for wieners, pretzels, and beer! It was such a great experience. There were a ton of old men trying to get all ten of us squeezed into their tables, and the table we finally sat in, the men ended up leaving… I guess we were just too much to handle?
On Saturday we visited a palace (I forget the name) but it was beautiful. We just took the underground train up and got cheap tickets to view the mansion. Following the tour, we had another German meal and then tried to catch a 6pm beer crawl. The beer crawl ended up being a complete failure because we got lost and were 30 minutes late. But some how we ended up at a German frat house instead.
One of the girls met a guy at the bars the night before, and the guy invited all ten of us to his German frat house. We were all a little sketched out but decided to check it out. The house ended up being one of the only German frat houses to survive all the wars and was a complete museum in itself. We got a tour and history lesson from the president himself. It was quite the random experience and a lot different than US frat houses.
On Sunday morning, the four girls who were on the overnight train also had a 7:30am flight. We had to leave the hostel at 5:00am then had a nine-hour layover in Dusseldorf! So we basically didn’t sleep all weekend! It makes me tired just typing it out.
Dusseldorf was a lot colder than Munich. Everything was closed too, so the only thing we were able to do was eat…and that is exactly what we did for nine hours! We did a café crawl to keep warm and try every wiener, pastry, and pom frite one could imagine.