08.05.2014 - 08.05.2014 17 °C
After a rousing listen to the national anthem, one we hear frequently during the Olympics, we snuggled in for a long bus ride from the Rhine Valley to Munich in the heart of Bavaria.
Here are your interesting fun facts about the country:
- Germany borders 9 countries and, excluding Russia, is the largest country in Europe.
- Germany contributes 20% of the budget of the EU.
- The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has her own Barbie doll.
- Mezzo Mix is a pop that is unique to Germany. In East Germany there was no Western brands allowed so this Mezzo Mix was created as a mix between Fanta and Coca Cola, which were both banned in East Germanyafter the Second World War.
- Schalafen is German for sleep, which is what you do on the bus during these long trips.
- And lastly, if you try to wear your sneakers with your leiderhosen the Germans will make fun of you.
So today we began our sightseeing with a somber visit to the concentration camp of Dachau, just outside of Munich. It is truly difficult to describe the horrors that occurred at this and so many other concentration camps in Europe. Each and every traveller had time to reflect in their own way. For those of you with students on e trip I highly recommend asking them of their personal feelings during the visit. I am sure it will be an interesting conversation.
From there we made our way to Munich. First stop, Mike's Bicycle Tours. Our tour leader, Matt, is a fellow Canadian and even though he is Canuck fan we got on famously with him. Everyone was suited up with our bicycles and we headed off. Imagine the busiest day on Stephen Avenue Mall and add 32, not too confident, Canadian bike riders trying to ride the bikes all while trying to sightsee and not take out a local pedestrian. Yes, there are bike lanes but the lane is just a general guideline and the locals are happy to leave the bike lane to ride throug the large number of pedestrians. Yes, chaos ensues. Stops along the way included the English Garden where the nudists like to hang out, literally, and the river where the surfers surf the river. It was like Hawaii without the palm trees.
From there we walked to see the Marienplatz and the town glockenspiel. We were not there to seen the characters dance due to our late afternoon visit. Our tour guide, Bec, shared that she believes this to be a highly overrated site in Europe.
Dinner tonight was at a huge authentic Munich restaurant, Augustiner. Traditional dishes include schnitzel, pork knuckles, fresh pretzels, knoedel (dumplings made with bread or semonilla ), and tasty roast chicken. All of this was washed down with a delicious, ice cold German beer.
Our visit to the Hofbrahaus was far too short for some. We didn't quite have not enough time to practice our German drinking songs that we practiced on the long bus ride. Beer at the Hobrahaus is served in one size, one litre served in a heavy glass mug. Servers carry four of these at a time....in each hand. Quite the site to see. The cost for a litre of beer 8.00€ plus tip, about 16.00 CAD.
Tourism is thriving in Munich. A very large convention forced us to book about an hour outside of Munch due to a very large convention in town. That allowed us to spend a delightful night is a traditional German hotel. The property was outstanding with chocolates on our bed, heated bathroom flooring, and those truly delightful German duvets. The hotel had a beautiful spa, the only problem was our stay was too short to avail ourselves of all it had to offer.