Here I am at the Augsburg Christmas Market...with a yummy sausage sandwich!
Speaking of the Christmas market...it was incredible! Germany is famous for its Christmas markets - nearly every town has one. And this one did not disappoint! I spent several hours walking through it during the day, and then took Dustin back in the evening. It was even better at night because everything was lit up and people were drinking mugs of gluhwein (hot spiced wine, pronounced gloo-vine). There were several stands selling gluhwein, and each stand had a different mug that it came in. The mugs all said the year and the city...perfect souvenirs!
Dustin and his gluhwein.
Augsburg Christmas Market at night!
On Friday evening, we jumped on a train from Augsburg to Munich. Munich was wonderful. I was struck by how festively decorated it was. All of the streets and shops were decked out, and Christmas music could be heard just about everywhere!
We started our time in Munich with a walking tour of the city. It began here:
In the tower of this building, we got to witness the famous glockenspiel ring and do its thing.
Next, we climbed a tower of a church and got an aerial view of the city.
After some lunch at the Ratskeller, we checked out the Christmas market in Munich.
To end our evening, we went on a Food and Beer Tour. It was a great way to share a meal with people from around the world!
The tour ended at the Hofbrauhaus, where we listened to traditional German music.
On Sunday, we toured Dachau concentration camp. The only word I can think to describe it is horrific. Throughout the tour, I felt increasingly sick to my stomach as I witnessed video and photographs of the things that took place there. The things that happened there and at other camps are absolutely unbelievable. Did you know that after people were killed, their teeth were removed? The Nazis were looking for gold teeth and fillings. Did you know that people in the camps were used in very dangerous medical experiments? Did you know that you could be shot just because a soldier felt like shooting you? Did you know that people were hung by their hair and their arms as punishment? Did you know that at any time there could be HUNDREDS of bodies piled up and waiting for cremation? Did you know there was a shooting range with a BLOOD DITCH?
Gate through which prisoners entered the camp.
The barbed wire fence and guard tower.
It wasn't exactly enjoyable to visit the camp, but it is something that I am glad I did. The experience made me even more grateful for my life and the good ol' US of A. I felt especially proud while looking at the pictures at the end of the exhibit - the pictures of American soldiers liberating the concentration camp. The best part was not seeing the soldiers - it was seeing the images of the faces of those still alive the day the Americans arrived. Elation. Hope. The realization that they were being given a second chance at life.