Adventures in Munich

First we cycled along the Danube for a week, and then we had a crazy good time in Salzburg.  The morning we were planning to leave for Munich, all the trains were cancelled from Salzburg due to the influx of refugees and people trying to get to Oktoberfest.  At that point, renting a car or taking a train close to the border (and then finding transportation for 7 people into Munich) were way too costly.  While the rest of us went to breakfast, Matt and my brother Chris, were determined to find a way to get into Germany.  After exhausting all possibilities, they finally found a small travel agency across from the train station.  They were able to purchase tickets for all seven of us for a bus leaving for Munich 45 minutes later.  We met at the hotel and rushed to train station, anxious to see if this was really going to happen.

Twenty minutes later, we were standing in line to board a bus, we loaded our luggage and climbed up to the second level, expecting to have to sit separately.  The bus wasn’t full, not even close.  Not only were we all seated together, it was super comfortable, and there was free WiFi, all for 7 euro apiece.  The ride was probably three times as long as it was supposed to be due to the very crowded freeway, and we did stop at the border for a passport check, but we made it!

Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany

I have to admit that while in Munich, we spent most of our time at Oktoberfest.  (Surprised? I didn’t think so.)  We walked around the city, visited the Dachau memorial, and ate at some really great restaurants… But mostly Oktoberfest.

Our hotel was just blocks from the train station and people were pouring in from all directions, heading to Oktoberfest, of course.  We checked in and immediately walked down the street to the festival.

Oktoberfest, Munich

Entrance to Oktoberfest, Munich

Inside a beer hall, Oktoberfest
Our first attempt inside a beer tent. It was a bit tight.
So we went outside.
I think it’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of revelers attending Oktoberfest dress in traditional Bavarian clothes. It’s really cool.



The Gate at Dachau, Germany
The next morning, Thea and I went to Dachau, where the first concentration camp opened in 1933. It was heart wrenching wandering around the grounds and the museum – nothing you learn in history class prepares you for this. Here is the main gate into the camp, you can’t see the words on the entrance but it translates to “Work will make you free.”
Dachau Memorial, Germany
A few of the foundations of the 32 barracks that once housed the prisoners. Two of the barracks are still standing – or have been rebuilt for the memorial.  There were more than 30,000 prisoners at this camp at the time of liberation.
After touring the memorial, Thea and I went back to the town of Dachau for lunch. We needed to quietly process what we had just seen – it was pretty f-ed up.

The next morning, we had an early reservation at the Schottenhamel beer tent.

I Heart Beer!
Back to Oktoberfest!
Oktoberfest 10 AM
10 am.
Oktoberfest, Noon
11 am.
The band!
Group Shot, Oktoberfest
Our only group shot from the entire trip.  (I really need to take my own advice.)
Lebkuchen at Oktoberfest
Lebkuchen (a gingerbread necklace). These are everywhere at Oktoberfest.





Watching the Oktoberfest Crowd
Almost as much fun as being at Oktoberfest – watching drunk people leave Oktoberfest.
Several restaurants close during Oktoberfest and we passed this one a couple of nights in a row while searching the quiet neighborhoods for a good place eat. We finally ate here at La Kaz on our last night and really enjoyed it – the food and the atmosphere.  And it was really cool of them to seat our group of 7 without a reservation because this place was packed soon after we were seated.

La Kaz - a restaurant in Munich

And the next morning we flew home.

If you’re planning to attend Oktoberfest in 2016, it’s a good idea to start planning early.  We booked a package that included our hotel, breakfast, reservations at beer tents, and other stuff through this company.  And here’s the link to the bus company we used – they’re all over Europe.

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