We left Austria this morning for a quick trip to the Swarovski Crystal Museum. We had about an hour here to have a look through. The museum was incredibly weird and random. It was like a little maze to go through, with lots of little rooms, and most things were made of crystal, but then there was just some really random stuff that didn't seem to make any sense.
After the crystal museum, it was another 2 hours to the Dachau Concentration Camp. This was the first camp set up in WWII and was used as a labour camp rather than a death camp. It was also the last camp to be used too, as after the war, for the next 20 or so years, a lot of the prisoners who were left homeless with no family stayed and made it into their own little village. We were only here for just over an hour and I don't feel as though I got to see it properly. We had to rush through the museum without reading most things, and then we checked out the barracks with bunks stacked 3 high and in one big long line right next to each other.
Then we went and saw the gas chambers and crematorium. This was the creepiest part of the camp. We walked through the rooms where the prisoners walked - the 'waiting' room where they were explained what to do when they went into the 'showers', the next room was where they disrobed and left their clothes, then they walked into what they thought were the showers with fake sprinklers fitted to the ceilings, only to be gassed to death. The next room was where they piled the bodies after they'd been gassed, ready to be cremated. The entire grounds around the camp are green, nourished by the ashes of these prisoners - very sad. It is compulsory for every German child to visit a concentration camp at least once, just to ensure history doesn't repeat itself.
We were in such a rush at the camp, and wanted to make the most of the time we had here, so we missed out on lunch, and were absolutely starving by now at 2, and we still had to wait another hour until our next stop. We arrived in Munich and first of all had some lunch. We only had less than 2 hours here, so it was a very quick visit. After lunch we had a wander around some shops but that was pretty much it. I bought a chocolate pretzel - a German treat, but that's all, plus a few postcards. I've spent way under my budget since I've been away (not that that's a bad thing!). Pretty much all I've bought is optional extras/sightseeing activities, food and postcards, plus a few little extras. That's pretty much it. I would've liked to buy one of the traditional Bavarian outfits for the beer hall tonight, but I didn't have enough time. We met back at the Munich Town Hall at 5pm to watch the glockenspiel show, before heading to our hostel.
We arrived at the hostel and this time we're in rooms of 4. We had about 40 minutes to get ready for the dinner. We were off again and in about half an hour we arrived at the traditional Bavarian beer hall. I ordered chicken schnitzel, and with that also came a 1 litre stein of beer, but I got coke (and just had photos with the beer). I couldn't finish it though - 1 litre of coke is a lot to drink at once! They also provided us with some entertainment - some traditional German dancing girls, yodelling, men playing music, and girls playing cow bells. They also got some of our group up doing the bird dance. It was a good, traditional German night.
We headed back to the hostel after dinner, but got lost on the way. There are a lot of road closures around here which send you off in other directions. So it's never as simple as going back the same way you came.
Once we were back at the hostel it was showers and bed. The shower was crap, and the water poured out all over the floor. This is probably the biggest thing I miss - my same, normal, reliable, shower! Some of the ones we've been using get very frustrating. The beds are comfortable here though, and the pillows are about 3 times the size of a normal pillow. They're massive!
Tomorrow we're off to Liechtenstein for lunch, on our way to Switzerland. We stop for a bit of shopping in Lucerne, and I need to try and find some shoes to take up the mountain since my sneakers are falling apart. I pulled my black semi casual/nice shoes out of my suitcase before to find them covered in white mould. I put them in a plastic bag after Paris, where they got wet in the pouring rain, because they stank. So that was a nice surprise to pull them out earlier - they got thrown in the rubbish. So now I'm down 2 pairs of shoes and I don't have any appropriate shoes to take up the mountain. So hopefully I can find something in Lucerne, as well as look at Swiss pocketknives and watches.
My ankle has been ok today too. I can still feel it but it's much better, and I am surprisingly not as sore from biking today as I had expected. It's my arms that hurt more than my legs because the handlebars were too far forward on the bike, and they're what got used a lot on the ride!