Munich Bike Tour & Dachau

We left Rothenburg and started on our way to Dachau, the concentration camp memorial site outside of Munich.  As you can imagine, visiting the site is a combination of sadness, horror, and astonishment.  They have done an amazing job putting together exhibits and explanations in the museum that take you from the beginnings of the Nazi’s rise to power all the way through the liberation of the camp.  We only spent a few hours here and it was not enough time to read everything in the museum.  You really could spend a whole day here.  It’s very surreal to walk the grounds knowing what happened here, and scary to think this occurred in our grandparent’s lifetime.

 Gate of the camp reads “work makes you free.”
Memorial statue.
This building houses the museum, I believe it was used for in-processing and offices.
This building is a reconstruction of one barracks building.  You can go inside for a look of how prisoners lived.
A reconstruction of bunks, there were rooms and rooms of bunks packed in as much as they could.
Former foundations of the rest of the barracks.

 You may think at first that you wouldn’t want to visit because of how depressing the thought of the place is.  However, I feel that it is such an important part of history, and just because it’s unpleasant doesn’t mean it should be ignored.  There is so much to learn here, and it will deepen your understanding and empathy for the people who lived and died through this horrific time.

Now onto the rest of the day!  Remember back in March when we had all our friends visit and we went for an awesome bike tour through Munich?  Well, it was so awesome that we decided to do it again with my mom and sister!  We got lucky because we were the only ones who showed up that day, so we basically had a private tour of Munich!

A little pre-tour initiation of doing the dance that cured the plague in Munich (and is done in mass every 7 years to keep the plague away).

Ready to roll!
Hofbrau Haus

Back inside the Theatine church that lies near Odeonsplatz.  I must say I appreciated it’s beauty more the second time.  We have been in our fair share of churches and cathedrals since being here.  This one is unlike any other we’ve seen.  The intricate carvings and pure white interior are striking.

What I can only remember as the “Tina Turner Church.”
Fun weinfest on Odeonsplatz
Inside the English Garden.

This is where we ran into a little hiccup.  Just as we pulled into the Chinese beer garden in the park, it started to massively downpour.  We decided to forgo the beer break and try to ride to some shelter to wait out the storm.  Thank goodness our guide Melissa, came prepared with ponchos, though I was still soaked to the bone.  The rain finally died down and we were able to finish our tour.

We capped off the night with beers in the Hofbrau Haus. Well some of us ordered lemonade and wine in the most famous beer hall in the beer drinking capital of the world-just sayin’ Mom & Sis.

We love Munich, the bike tour was fun even on the second go ’round.  And we were even able to see the grounds getting all set up for Oktoberfest in a few short weeks.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

ROTHENBURG

This post was originally written in 2012 about our summer visit to Rothenburg:

We had our next round of visitors last week!  My mom and sister made the long haul from Seattle over to see us (and do some sightseeing).  I picked them up from the Frankfurt airport which is massive, and has a very frustrating parking system.  We had a little bit longer drive back than planned due to some crazy detours.  Thank goodness for a GPS!  For their first day/night here, the goal was to relax but make them stay awake until bedtime so they could try to get onto the European time zone as easily as possible.  So we walked down to the grocery store, cooked dinner, and walked some more around our neighborhood.

We have these beautiful flower fields right up the street where you can just cut how many stalks you want and then drop some coins in the pay box when you leave.  Self-serve flowers!

Mom, sis, & me altogether in Deutschland!

The next morning we hit the road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  It’s a medieval town about 2.5 hours away from us.  It’s very quaint and charming.  The whole city has a wall around it.  The town itself was established in 1170.

Markt Platz

We had lunch on the square, and even had some live entertainment.  There was an American band group playing in the square while we ate.  They played such classic hits as the Indiana Jones theme and each U.S. military branch’s song.  A little strange sitting in an old town in Bavaria listening to “…and the Army goes rolling along…” Ha, well they were definitely patriotic, just not sure anyone told them they were playing in Europe, not the States.

It didn’t take Hubby long to find a fresh fruit stand and grab a snack for the walk around town.

We wandered through shops, churches, and streets.  Finally we came upon the Medieval Crime and Punishment museum.

Giving the stocks a try.
These two look like trouble, don’t they?

 The museum showcased the brutal ways they used to punish people.  My favorite were the shame masks they used to make people wear around town.  You even had to wear one if you were accused of being a gossip!  Another creative solution was to lock quarreling people into a wooden “violin” where they were basically stuck together until they solve the argument.

 

 To go along with this medieval theme.  We also took the Nightwatchman’s tour.  Led by one of the best tour guides ever.  This guy has a very distinctive cadence to his voice which makes his delivery hilarious.  He took us around town, explaining the history of the city and how things used to be.  Very entertaining, and lots of fun!

View of the valley outside the walls of Rothenburg.

 After the tour, we capped the night off with some gelato, and headed off to bed.  Rothenburg was a lot of fun, and a really charming little town.  It’s a popular place for tourists, but it’s easy to see why.

Before we could leave Rothenburg, we had to try one of their signature pastries.  I present to you, the schneeballen or “snowballs”.  They were in every bakery’s window.  The place we went to had a baker making them on the spot.

Schneeballen come in almost any flavor you can think of.

I went with the recommendation of the girl at the register-something with Nutella inside.  It was pretty tasty.

Caught mid-bite.