Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Oops, so my time got somewhat ahead of me, here, so I will try my darndest to catch up on this blog. Lots of things have happened in the last few weeks: lots of trains have been taken, miles have been walked. Perhaps I will try to do this in short summaries, if you'd like to hear more about a particular thing, just ask and I'll elaborate in a new post. Sorry for leaving ya hanging!

So last time I checked in, Oktoberfest had just started. While it was lots of fun, I am glad its over. My commuting train goes straight to Theresienwiese, where the Fest is held, so at all hours of the day there were people packed on. At the same time, the transit worker strikes were still going on, so there were less trains running. The strike is still actually going on, crazy. Anyway, Oktoberfest was fun, had a good time, but I was certainly ready for it to end.

On the 23rd of September my classmates and I visited Dachau Concentration Camp, which is a 20 minute train ride outside of Munich. Leo, the Poli Sci and German professor lead us around, told us the history, and we explored the exhibits on the grounds. All of the barracks have been torn down, leaving rows of foundations. The society that runs the concentration camp memorials has rebuilt two barracks and you can see the degeneration of the living conditions as the years progressed. I think the area that was the most emotional was the crematoriums, including an unused gas chamber. Dachau was never an extermination camp but was used as the model for all other camps in the Third Reich.

Monday was a much lighter time, Bree' and I went to see one of my absolute favorite bands in concert. It was pure coincidence that they played in Munich, but I was glad they did, because I've missed their other shows when they have been near me. They're called Horse Feathers, out of Oregon, and make very pretty, sad music. To listen to some of their music go here. The concert was absolutely beautiful and we had a lot of fun.

That Thursday, Leo took us on a tour of Konigsplatz, which was built by Prince Ludwig for fun. The buildings there are modeled after Roman temples. It, all along the road leading from it, and Odeonsplatz became the center of Nazi Germany's power and Hitler has his office next to the square. The building is still there, but is used as a music conservatory and music students don't really like being disturbed by tons of tourists walking through their building.

We still tried to get in and Leo devised a sneaky plan, which involved us coming inside in groups of 3 or 4, walking around for a few minutes, and then leaving again. It failed epically. But we were able to glance at the interior before being kicked out by the desk clerk. It was really quite amusing. Then we walked down to Odeonsplatz and saw where Hitler's unsuccessful coup ended.

The next day we walked to the Alte Pinakotheke with Dieter, our art history proffessor, using the same route and heard many of the same things that Leo told us. Leo totally stole Dieter's thunder.

On Saturday Bree', Tyler, and I went to Rothenburg, which is a small, medival town about 2 hours out from Munich. It had little, cobbled, winding street, a town square known for its Christmas markets. We saw the city museum, which had an awesome armory, and mostly just walked around, checking out the little shops. They have tons of confectioners there, mostly selling Schneeballen, which look something like this:

The next week we went as a group to an absolutely ridiculous Baroque church called Asam Church. It was funded, designed, and decorated by the Asam brothers, who were incredibly rich. One of the brothers was a renowned architect who has many churches all over Germany, all of which are elaborately, overwhelmingly Baroque (which I guess is kind of the point of the whole thing. It was just recently reopened, they were doing extensive remodeling on the interior. I had seen the church by chance in my wanderings around the city, but it was nice to see it with the information that Dieter gave us.

Later that day we went to the BMW Museum, a historical museum about the history of BMW and displays of some of their noteworthy cars, motorcycles, and engines. The design of the museum is like nothing I've ever seen before, there are "houses" inside of the building, each devoted to a particular theme. The exteriors of these "houses" are illuminated by millions of LED bulbs which turn on and off to create elaborate patterns all over the walls. Cool stuff.

Okay, I think that's about all I can do right now, there's a lot to say and I think 3 week's worth of events is enough for now. In the next few days I will do installment #2.