German Vacation Recap – Dachau and Munich – Part 4

April 15, 2017

Missed Part 1? Part 2? Part3

The last leg of our German road trip took us from Fussen to Munich.  We woke up Wednesday morning, packed, checked out of the hotel, and stopped by the bäckerei (bakery) for some breakfast goodies <-ALL the breads.  I wish there were more bakeries at home, I guess Panera or Au Bon Pain would be comparable, but they are not the same….I can’t pinpoint it, perhaps the charm factor? Anyways, croissants and danishes in hand we started on our 1.5 hour drive to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site is about a half hour north of Munich.  Dachau was set up as a concentration camp for political prisoners in 1933, a few weeks after Adolf Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor.  This camp served as a model for all later concentration camps and as a “school of violence” for the SS men under whose command it stood. In the twelve years of its existence over 200,000 persons from all over Europe were imprisoned here and in the numerous subsidiary camps and 41,500 [person] were murdered. American troops liberated the survivors on April 29, 1945 (Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Website).  

My friend Emily, who visited the memorial while studying abroad, recommended visiting Dachau.  Cliff and I decided we would include this in the itinerary as long as we were ahead of schedule (which we were) since we had to check in at our AirBnB and return the rental car that afternoon.  I was originally going to write about our Munich adventures in one post, but I thought it would be more appropriate for Dachau to have its own post.
Dachau is still a town with houses, apartments, businesses and a train station.  It was eerie to think people live so close to the former concentration camp.  Visiting the Memorial Site is free, all we had to do was pay for parking, which cost €3. Cliff and I got out and walked to the visitors center/library. There were several informational signs along the way to the entrance of the camp – which included the words “arbeit macht frei” which meant “work sets you free”.
 The Memorial Site on the grounds of the former concentration camp was established in 1965. 
There was an overwhelming sense of sadness visiting the grounds.  Eight-three years ago there were thousands of people suffering where I stood. There were several memorials to the victims of Dachau. 

Here is a sculpture by Nandor Glid.  This was suppose to be reminiscent of the security facilities installed around the camp. The human skeleton commemorates those, who in an act of desperation, jumped into the barbed wire fence.

Another sculpture with the Star of David. We were also permitted to visit the cells were the prisoners slept. 

While we spent 1-1.5 hours visiting Dachau, I read you can easily spend 4-5 hours here (there are guided tours).  We got back to our car and I texted Martina, our AirBnB host, that we were on the way.  This was our first AirBnB stay ever, so I was a bit nervous trying it out for the first time in another country!  Luckily, Martina was great to work with before the trip. She was super responsive and answered all my questions. 

This is the street where we stayed.  How cute, right?  If I lived in Munich, I could picture myself in this neighborhood.  Martina’s apartment was really cool. There were two bedrooms (one of which was hers), 1.5 bath, and kitchen.  It was close to the S-Bahn, a 10 minute walk to Oktoberfest, and close to restaurants and a grocery store.  If you are interested in her listing, check it out here.  

Because Oktoberfest was in its last week, Martina thought it would be less crowded than usual and suggested we visit that afternoon.  After a quick catnap, it was time to return our car rental and head over to Oktoberfest (more on that in our next post).  Cool building on our way to the Avis dropoff.  

Pro Tip: Returning our car rental was an adventure! I selected Avis Munich Hauptbahnhof as the drop off location, which is in the center of the city near the train station.  We plugged that into GoogleMaps and it took us to a small parking lot connected to the train station, easy, right?  Nope.  We pulled in and did not see any signs for Avis.  Hmmmm… so we circled around thinking we missed it, but no sign.  We were stumped! I took out my phone and used Google to see if anyone else had the problem. I entered “Cannot Find Avis Munich Hauptbahnhof”, luckily someone had submitted the same question on Tripadvisor! Turns out the Avis drop off (and other car rental companies) was located on 14 Hirtenstr. Pictured below for reference. 

After that little adventure, time for our big adventure! Next up, Oktoberfest! 

Here are two great blog posts I read while researching for this portion of the trip: 

Catching up? 

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