European Adventures
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2004-02-02 00:03:27 (UTC)

Trip to Germany

Friday January 30, 2004
Woke up bright and early at 3:40AM. My travel companions
(Zach, Mike, James, Charlie, Gregg, Bryan, Zoe, Katie, and
Julia) and I caught two taxis to Roma Ciampino Airport
about 30 minutes from Monte Mario. Upon our arrival to
Ciampino Gregg realized he had forgotten his passport. “I
didn’t know I needed a passport to go to Germany.”
Luckily, we had plenty of time our plane didn’t leave until
7AM and Mike graciously accompanied Gregg. They made it
and we had a two hour flight to Frankfurt-Hahn airport. We
landed in the airport named the “tourist trap” because it
is in reality in another region Hesse and a two hour
busride from the real Frankfurt. When we reached the train
station we discovered Julia and Zoe had only vague ideas of
how to get to Munich. I actually took the initiative in
this one and inquired at the railway information desk. We
had budgeted 50 euro a person for this leg, however, I
secured a group ticket for roughly 10 euro a person. It
used the slower train taking an extra two hours, but we
saved ~500 euro total!

The countryside on the train was beautiful. Germany is
known for its wine, especially its whites, and we passed
through endless hills of vineyards.

Came in around 7PM ish. The Euroyouth Hostel was on
Senefelder a block from the station. Julia and Zoe did
good reserving this place. All of us, except Charlie, got
rooms to ourselves (a 4 and a 5). It was clean, well-
located, and fun! We met many interesting people. Most
memorable were the Austrailian snowboarding couple, Paul
the guitarist from Connecticut, and the large group of SLU
kids. There was much networking, if I ever want to play
basketball in Nese with Lebanese exchange students all I
need to do is drop an email.
Munich was easy to navigate and pedestrian friendly. The
main street Neuhauser led to the pedestrian only city
center of Marlenplatz. [Note to self: come back with
money] Kaufinger St. was packed with stores. The first
floor of all the traditional stone buildings were filled
with shops. There were numerous large churches and the
main square housed the Glockenspiel Tower with the famous
clock figures. We walked this area after dark and located
the Hobrauhas. At this point I had separated from the main
group with James and joined up with Paul, Terry and Liz,
Loyola students who went separately. HB was amazing we
went upstairs to the calmer dining area and each ordered
something different. There was sausage, bratwurst, mashed
potatoes and amazing sauerkraut. Not to mention liters of
the house brew. Hands down to best meal this semester (and
one of the most reasonable). We went down later to the
beer garden and met up with the rest of the group. The
beer hall was described aptly as “boisterous,” everyone sat
on benches in the enormous halls and there was a
traditional German band. We walked afterwards stumbling
upon the Rindermarkt open air market that were of course
Saturday January, 31, 2004
Waking up bright and early a group formed of Charlie,
Gregg, Mike, and I. We visited the a beautiful baroque
church Frauenkirche that had some of the highest ceilings I
have ever seen. St. Peterskirche was close and we saw its
enormous gilded altar and skeleton of saints that were part
of macabre displays. The church was leveled by Allied
bombing in 1944 and rebuilt in 1950. We caught the
Ghlockenspiel at 11AM when it went off and the mechanical
figures danced around. It wasn’t that amazing there was a
pair of jousters that had different moves. We next went
back to St. P. and climbed to the top of the dome for 1
euro. Amazing, we were able to see the entire city from
the top. We had to hurry back to the train station to
catch the “Munich Walks” tour of Dachau. Jason was our
tour guide, a Chicago native who is getting by as a tour
guide and English tutor.

D was an internment camp, the first constructed by the S.S.
and was used originally for political opponents of the
Nazis. Later the camp imprisoned Jews, minority groups and
prisoners of war. Although not a “death camp” by Holocaust
standards, 32,000 perished. We saw what was mostly a
reconstruction the camp was used for many purposes after
the war and not until 1970s did survivors win a legal
battle to preserve the area as a memorial. The tour was
profoundly moving.

For dinner we went to Hacker-Pschorr. I ordered a
delicious pork meal that I was unable to pronounce. The
beer was mediocre, but I got plenty of coasters.
Afterwards we hung around the city center taking pictures
but ended up at the hostel bar playing cards because we
were too exhausted to sample additional Munich night life.
Sunday, February 1, 2004
Another travel day. I learned a lot about traveling and am
more confident making my own arrangements. One key lesson
is to travel with a group no larger than five and to travel
only with those who you know make good travel companions.
One principle regret was that we could have paid 100 euro
more to directly fly in and out of Munich. In this way we
could have had two whole days and two half days if we came
in Thursday night and left Sunday evening, instead of our
one half day and one whole day. I will now be sure to be
more hands on in planning. But all in all, a very
wonderful trip.