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19.01.98 - Day One in Munich, Deutches MuseumWe moved out of the first Hostel ASAP this morning and headed straight back into the city to find something a little more suited to our tastes. We talked to the tourism office at the train station who directed us to a Hostel right near to it called Munchen 4 You which turned out to be really cool! The people seem really nice and it's well organised with heaps of free info.
For a while we wandered around the city checking it out and looking in some of the shops. There are some really huge camping shops here so we wandered around in them for a bit looking for useful stuff. I saw the Glockenspeil for which Munich is famous, but it didn't look especially amazing so we didn't stick around to watch it do its thang.
We discovered the BMW factory was no longer open for tours because it was closed for maintenance which kinda bites! We made up for it by visiting the Deutches Museum which is huge and totally cool! We got in there at around 2pm for the electrical show and were running to get out of there by closing time (6pm). You could easily spend a whole day in there. We also checked out the Internet Cafe located within the museum while we were in there.
That night we went out to dinner with some American girls we met. We got some pizza at pizza-hut, which was a bit of an expensive dinner for us in comparison with our recent meals. We played cards till late before heading off to bed.
20.01.98 - Dachau and Beer-HallGot up early to head out to Dachau (the first German concentration camp, now a memorial) which is not far from Munich. It was a very sobering experience for all of us - none of us said very much as we walked around the camp.
The honesty of the Germans is quite amazing. They did not seem to try and hide the extent of anything that went on in the camp and, while they do not directly apologise for anything that happened, they go to great lengths to emphasise that what happened then should never happen again. The memorial was filled with quotes like "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" and they clearly see the period of Nazi Germany as a regrettable episode in their history.
After returning from Dachau we got some lunch and wandered around The English Gardens in Munich and got completely lost somehow, ending up pretty much where we started without realising it. Munich is a very nice city but, like a lot of European cities in winter, it's too damn cold! We are really at the limits of the capabilities of our clothing here!
That night we went to a Beer-Hall with two Australian girls we had swapped books with (so now we had a whole lot of girly books instead of our manly sci-fi and war books) and we met the three American girls when we got there. If anyone thinks Germans are too serious, they should visit a Beer-Hall - it went off! We all had a great time drinking the 1L steins of great German beer, we danced to the ompah band and took photos of the waitress! Most excellent.
The Beer-Hall closed at midnight (argh!) so we headed back to the Hostel to continue the festivities until much later.
21.01.98 - StuttgartAfter realising we had no time left to spend another night in Munich (although we really wanted to, a lot) we headed off to Stuttgart. When we arrived we checked straight into the only hostel that was open and headed out to try and get into a Porsche factory tour. When we got to the factory the bitch at the gate told us the only way we could get on a tour was to write an application at least two weeks before we would be visiting. Of course, this was impossible for us to have achieved, so we had to satisfy ourselves with visiting the museum. I bought a Porsche key-ring which is only really notable in that it was purchased at Porsche itself!
We booked ourselves into a tour at the Mercedes factory the next day to make up for our disappointment at our failure at Porsche. We weren't going to leave Germany without having seen some of that famous German engineering in action!
22.01.98 - Mercedes Factory TourAfter being misdirected by the railway staff to the Mercedes Museum instead of the factory, we made it to the tour quite late which didn't seem to phase the reception girl at all. She booked us into a later session (which normally would have been German only) scheduled a short time later. The Mercedes factory reception was excellent, it was like an airport lounge or something, there was a place to change money and we got a courtesy soft-drink while we waited for the tour to begin! It was a pretty cool tour and I managed to take a couple of shaky photos despite instructions that taking photos was not allowed.
After the tour we had time to kill before we were due to leave late that night so we headed out and checked out the Mercedes museum. We then wandered around the shops in Stuttgart for a while but it was so damn cold there we couldn't wait to get back to the Hostel and get dinner. We ended up sitting in front of the TV in the Hostel watching a movie in a foreign language until it was time to leave.
I left the others on the train out of Stuttgart, I continued on to Paris to meet up with Chris again while Joe and Brad went to Switzerland.