My last trip out of Ireland for the semester was to Munich, Germany! I have always wanted to visit Germany since a large portion of my families’ background is German. I flew in early Saturday morning from Dublin and then took the metro from the airport to the main Munich train station where I met my friend Michelle! Michelle went to college with me the past two years and was a member of my sorority but decided to take part of a special business program for two years that has her studying in Germany for the next two years. After we met up we dropped our stuff off at our hostel and headed out for the day. I was really excited for the Christmas markets in Munich and we ran into them almost immediately! We walked around one for a couple of hours and ate a lunch of sausages that were amazing at a local vendor. Lots of the stands sold punch or mulled wine that came is adorable mugs that were all different with various Christmas or German scenes that you kept when you purchased the drink. People would be walking around with dozens of them trying to collet them all. I tried some of the non-alcoholic punch and really enjoyed it! The Christmas markets were never ending and one just lead into the next. Each one was different and unique selling different items and food. One was even a renaissance theme! After looking at a lot of Christmas markets Michelle and I bought tickets to a hop on hop off bus. This was a great way to see a lot of the city in such a short period of time. The bus went all around the city center and gave us the history of the sites we were viewing. Afterwards we bought some food from grocery store and ate dinner in our hostel.
The next morning we got up and ate some delicious pastries at a local bakery and then headed back on the bus tour to see Olympic Park and a few other important sites. Afterwards we went to more Christmas markets and got to try a something called chimney cake that was dough baked in a cylinder fashion and then coated in cinnamon sugar. We also ate lots of sugarcoated nuts as well. Michelle had some friends from school that were also visiting Munich at the same time so we met up with them at the Oktoberfest grounds that was now home to another Christ market! This one was the biggest we had seen so far with tons of large tents set up that had musicians playing and vendors selling anything you could imagine. We then went and had dinner at a beer hall type restaurant that was very good. Michelle had to leave then to go back to school so I walked her to the train station to say my goodbyes and then headed back to my hostel for the night.
The next day I decided to head to Dachau, the original concentration camp in Germany. I had to take the metro and then a bus to get there but the camp itself was free entry and only a couple euros for an audio guide. It was an extremely cold day but I was very glad I made the trip out. I started the tour by watching a 20min film on the history of the camp and then walking around the grounds and listening to the guide. There was a ton to see there since almost all of the original camp was preserved. You could walk inside the barracks where people stayed and the crematorium and gas chambers were many people died. There were also lots of memorial statues and religious monuments in honor of those who lost their lives there. There was also a large museum that speaks a lot about the history of the concentration camp as well. This part of the trip was extremely heartbreaking and eye opening of the horrors that occurred during WW2. I spent almost the entire day at the camp and then returned back to Munich to grab my bags and head to the airport to catch my flight back to Ireland.
Germany really surprised me in a lot of ways. I absolutely loved all the Christmas Markets and the beautiful lights everywhere! The weather was so cold a bitter the entire time so I would love to come back in summer and really enjoy the outdoors in Germany plus there are so many other cities I still want to visit there! I’m really glad I also able to visit the concentration camp and have really eye opening part of my trip.