Dachau Concentration Camp

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I’ve had a hard time writing this post. I’ve started and stopped a dozen times, unsure of how to best express my thoughts and convey the weight of this visit. I’m still not sure that what I’ve written here can adequately express what it was like to visit this place. Just looking at these pictures again brings forward a rush of emotions. I may not be Jewish or Roma or German (well, technically I have German ancestry, but being like most Americans you’d have to go pretty far back to find it) or have had anyone in my family personally affected by the horrors of the Holocaust (directly anyway), but I am a human being and as a human it is impossible to visit a former concentration camp without being overcome with the horrendous realities of the place and of what evils the human race is capable of. Continue reading

Nuremberg

The last stop on our German adventure was Nuremberg, home of the “original” German Christmas Market, the Nuremberg Trials, and…the Nazi Party. Nuremberg had some big acts to follow: so far on our trip we’d hit a major bucket list item for me in Füssen, ate our way through the Christmas markets in Munich, and toured what is a serious contender for “Most Picturesque Town” ever, Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It had been a fabulous trip even with the minor bumps and I’d loved every minute of it. Until Nuremberg. I suppose it’s inevitable that I wouldn’t like everything we did on the trip or everywhere we went. Somewhere had to come in last in the “would you go there again” contest. So maybe Nuremberg got the short end of the stick. Maybe not. I don’t know. I didn’t hate Nuremberg, in fact parts of it were very cute, I just…didn’t love it. Continue reading

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

TrainStation

Four trains and 3 hours and 15 minutes after leaving Munich we arrived in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a popular stop (for good reason) on the Romantic Road.  We used the Bayern Ticket for all train journeys while we were in Germany since it was the cheapest option at €27 for 2 people and unlimited travel in one day. It can be a slower option however, since you have to travel on local transport rather than the high-speed Intercity Express (ICE) trains. To get to Rothenburg from Munich we had to change trains three times; from what I could tell there isn’t much way to get around that if you travel by train, since Rothenburg isn’t a major city with a large rail hub. In case you were wondering, German trains don’t always leave on time, contrary to what we thought.  Continue reading

Munich

After Füssen and King Ludwig II’s castles we headed back to Munich for a couple of days. Munich is lovely. It’s a big, clean, walk-able cosmopolitan city with great public transportation, tons of good shopping, plenty of green space, a lot of history, and was so festive at Christmas time. The train from Füssen is direct and it dropped us off near the center of town at the Hauptbanhof (Central Train Station), where there are great public transportation links. We spent three days in Munich and while not a great length of time, it was enough to see most of the sights we wanted to see and get a good feel for the city. We walked a lot (as per usual for us – one day we were out walking around from 9am-7pm), ate a lot of market food, and just enjoyed being in the city at Christmas time. Here are a few of the highlights from those three days, minus our trip out to Dachau Concentration Camp, which deserves its own post. Continue reading

Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau

Bavaria is picturesque y’all. Agrarian, snow-covered landscapes dotted with pine trees. Jagged snow-capped alps surrounded by the clearest blue-green water. Heaven. I love me some beaches, but I think in my heart of hearts I’m a mountain person. You can’t beat a stunning alpine vista, especially if it’s dotted with castles as it is here, in my opinion. Once we packed up and dropped our bags in the luggage storage of our hotel, we headed to the castles via a bus at the train station (€4.80 return pp). This is a day I’d been fantasizing about since I was old enough to discover that the pictures I’d seen of Schloss Neuschwanstein (Schloss = castle in German) were real. Buses seem to run every 30 min or so between Füssen and Hohenschwangau, where two of King Ludwig II’s castles – Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau – are located. We took the 8:30 and were in town a short ride later. And…THERE IT WAS!! Continue reading

A German Christmas

We’ve booked our first European adventure! After the hubs finishes his last exam, we’ll be heading off to Germany for a week to soak in the Christmas spirit. This has been extremely high on my European travel wish list for a very long time (maybe even fighting for the top spot), so I knew it was the first big trip I wanted to take. Thankfully, hubby is going along with it and has given me full rein on the planning front.

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