Germany Continued: Dachau and Munich
We got up this morning very early to get a jump on our full day concentration camp tour. Not very cheery, I know.
Short train rides brought us to the Dachau camp memorial, where we discussed rules of the tour with our guide, and prepared for an eight hour, very somber excursion. Marcin was unbelievably informative, and seemed well invested in all the information he provided. We saw a replication of the barracks in Stages One, Two, and Three of the Holocaust. Guard towers were around the courtyard, where countless thousands were almost instantly executed, or beaten within inches of death. Work was done outside the camp, and that remained within the fences during the day were skilled workers, who performed their craft in better conditions. A less fortunate prisoner would work in the quarry, expending up to five thousand calories a day, eating only 1100.
We walked through the entrance office, where prisoners would first be admitted, recorded, and stripped of all humanity. All clothes, belongings, even hair were removed. By force, at the hands of brutal guards with worn razors. Then they endured a speech from the S.S. Captain, which only paraphrase.
“There is no laughing here. Only Satan laughs here. I’m Satan.”
Beyond the rows of barracks are now erected memorials from various religious groups, and further beyond the fences were the crematoriums and gas chambers. Our guide explained many details of these areas as well, but refused to enter the gas chambers with us. That was the conclusion of the tour. Walking the same terrified trudge of millions. The shower heads above (although stolen by neo-Nazis: a very frequent menace of the site) had no function. Crystallized Zyklon B was dropped in the room, or external heating chambers, where it was sublimated into toxic gas. The last words our guide, Marcin, told us were that the guards heating the crystals could not be replaced at the rate that they were demented by screams.
A fellow tourer seemed to be near my age, possibly younger. Her mouth was hung open for the last hour or so, horrified with sunken eyes. The entire group was visibly worn, hearing such evil for hours. The return to Marienplatz with our guide was much more lighthearted, and we shuffled around to find a very authentic pizza joint in the streets, next to a tattoo parlor specializing in anime. We ordered far too much pizza, beer, and Jager, but had a good laugh and eat before heading up to Olympiapark. The park area is centered around a space needle sort structure, which features an elevator and restaurant at its base. Pictures are attached from the view atop, including shots of the BMW factory adjacent.
The next day we were supposed to see a Third Reich History tour of the city at 8AM, but I fell asleep around 7AM, so that was quickly crossed off. Our other interests of the day were the Residenz of Munich and the Munich beer tour. Pictures are attached of art within the residence, it was amazing. And the beer tour was fantastic… sorta.
All tourers met at a newer, energetic bar downtown for headcount, rules, orientation, and wristbands to mark you as a legal drinker. Germany’s 21 is 16, I was free and clear. After a beer at that bar, we hit the road immediately, and were given another round to pound on the streets (also legal) as we head to a beergarten. Here we got another round, liters this time, and ordered the meal of my life. Hanging around and drunkenly rambling, our guide Lauren taught us proper technique for cheers, and herded us along to our next destination. Most of us.
My mom and brother believed that I was still in the bathroom of the beergarten, and waited for me there as the group moved on. I was with the group, and was in Lauren’s headcount, but communication failure is easy with no cellular service. I arrived at the next location, and texted its name to my mom so she could catch up with my brother. I let them into the building, and returned to my seat. Gus decided it’d be funny to swat the back of my head. A little altercation followed, he found the sense to walk back to the hotel. I made some new friends without him, Canadians, Ohioans, colorado-ians?? And continued merrily to get shitfaced. Shoutout Daniel, who was there the entire way, and by sheer luck was a mutual friend of Mitch – the sexiest keyboard of Cousin Simple.
I sauntered to the final bar with the rest of my drunk tour comrades, and fumbled around a shit vending machine for a pack of cigarettes with my last beer. Marlboro Mix cant be bought stateside. 👀 I enjoyed both with Daniel and mom, then we Ubered back to the hotel and passed out. Off to Switzerland bright and early tomorrow.