The first weekend was very busy! I arrived on campus Friday (after successfully navigating through the Munich public transportation system) around lunch time where I was greeted by one of the “Buddies” for my program. She helped me get my key and brought me to my dorm room. When I arrived, I was greeted by numerous people in the hall who told me where the kitchen and bathroom were and most importantly, what the wifi password was. This was all within the first couple of minutes of arriving and my jetlagged self did not remember many of their names (whoops). Everyone has been very nice in my hall! The rest of the day was filled with unpacking, a small tour of the campus, and then going to bed at 7pm.
The next day some of the buddies took us into the Munich city center to show us around. It was busy, sunny, and absolutely beautiful! We saw the town hall, climbed up a church tower to view the city from above, toured the market where we grabbed a quick lunch, and then headed to the English Gardens. The English Gardens are extremely large (comparable to Central Park in New York) and there is a river flowing through the park where you can swim and even SURF! We watched the surfers for awhile and then made plans to come back with our swim suits and go for a swim in the river another day, which I am really looking forward to. We then grabbed our first German beers of the trip in the Chinesiser Turm Biergarten in the park. After that we grabbed some dinner at an Italian restaurant and headed back to campus.
On Sunday we got a private tour of Ayinger Brewery, a family-owned brewery just outside of Munich in Aying, Germany. We got to see where they make the beer from start to finish and then sample a few of them. We were informed during this trip that a beer a day is supposedly healthy for you, and we intend to use this as an excuse for the rest of the trip! After the tour we went to a restaurant and had a classic Bavarian meal that lasted for four hours. They like to take their time eating here in Germany, which was odd to us Americans who are used to the short turn-over rates at restaurants.
Monday was a German national holiday which meant that we got the day off from school. We decided to visit Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. It was a very moving experience. Dachau was one of the first concentration camps created during the Nazi regime and lasted the entire amount of time that they ruled. I have learned a lot about the Holocaust in school, but actually being there and seeing what conditions the people lived in and standing in the rooms where they were forced to shed their belongings and identities really put into perspective the atrocities committed during that time. I mean, I was holding back tears reading about some of the things that went on in those buildings. If anyone ever travels to this part of Europe, I highly recommend going to a concentration camp memorial site — it is not an easy experience, but I believe it is something everyone should see.
This weekend was a busy, but good one. I still can’t really believe I am here and that I will be here for two whole months! I am starting to get a hang of the train system of Munich and I already love it! I’m still getting used to some German customs, but for the most part life here isn’t too different and I sure as heck looking forward to the rest of the summer.
Check out some photos in the gallery!