Day 13: Munich, Salzburg, Alpine Center

Today was another travel day.

We woke up this morning and said goodbye to Germany. We set off in the bus for Salzburg, Austria.

Salzberg is the hometown of Mozart, so we stopped for lunch and Jamie led us to Mozartplatz, where a statue of Mozart is located. We then split up and walked around the city. After grabbing something to eat, I ended up sitting by the river and people-watching for a while.


Following our visit to Salzburg, we set out for the small Alpine town of Wagrain, where our hotel is located. A relatively short bus ride, and we arrived with a ton of time to spare. Harris and I checked into our room, which has three beds, and then visited the market to purchase some provisions. As we’re in Austria, I figured that I’d buy an Austrian wine (which I still haven’t tried).



Dinner was somewhat of an awkward affair, as the hotel restaurant was very understaffed and quite unused to dealing with English-speaking Americans. Unfortunately, we were unable to communicate our desire for tap water and ended up having to pay for bottled water.

After dinner, we adventured out into the little town of Wagrain and found a few bars. We ended up at a particular one because it was “Ladies’ night” and women were served a free glass of Prosecco. The beer wasn’t too bad and I had two glasses of Edelweiss beer.

When the bar died down, I left back for the hotel and went to sleep.

Tomorrow: Sleep in, then white-water rafting in the afternoon.

Day 12: Munich

This morning I had elected to go on the optional excursion to Dachau, so we boarded the bus and drove for a while. Arriving at Dachau, we were all given an audio guide and set free to roam. Harris and I each decided to split and spend the time alone with the audio guide and history.


The whole time I was there, I was thinking about the marked differences between Dachau and the other concentration camp I visited when I was 16: Terezin in the Czech Republic. Dachau was very different, primarily in the fact that it was used for internment, work, and execution while Terezin was used primarily for internment. The audio guide had the expected history about different parts of the site, but also included first-hand recordings by survivors and liberators about there experiences. I thought that those first-hand recordings were the most powerful part of the day for me.

Never again.
Never again.

I was able to explore the whole site: the museum (which used to be the administrative and maintenance building), the barracks, the bunker, the crematorium, the (unused) gas chamber with vents disguised as shower-heads, and the memorial sites. I felt fairly disconnected with the Jewish memorial that was there: it was off-center, smaller than envisioned by the architect, and not well-maintained (the Ner Tamid was not lit). This was entirely unlike my experience with the secret synagogue at Terezin where the Jews interned were still able to hold services and maintain a Jewish identity.

Jewish Memorial at Dachau
Jewish Memorial at Dachau

As with Versailles, the worst part of my experience was the groups of small children who were not yet old enough to truly appreciate the history. I know I was not the only one in our group who was upset that these groups of school children were gossiping loudly, running around, and being distracting while others were actually trying to comprehend the history and magnitude of the devastation that occurred there.


We returned back to the hotel and grabbed a quick lunch at the restaurant next door. Following lunch, many of the girls went shopping while Harris and I set out to find a laundromat.

We were each able to do a load of laundry while strange German pop music played over the radio and while the non-English-speaking proprietor stared at us menacingly. There was a bit of misunderstanding with how to operate the machines (as everything was in German) and I think we had set the machines on a hotter cycle than was intended. However, I don’t think (as yet) that any of my shirts have shrunk, so we got out of there fine.

After we dropped our clothing off at the hotel, we adventured again toward the English Gardens, by the University in Munich. This was our third underground metro system, and our experience on the U-Bahn was not bad. It actually reminded me of the LA Metro in that there were no turnstiles, but you were supposed to buy a ticket, cancel it when you boarded, and could be stopped for a ticket inspection. The system was cleaner than the Paris Metro even though the trains seemed older.

We took a very round-about way in finding the Chinese Tower of the English Gardens once we debarked from the U-Bahn. However, we did find it eventually and grabbed some food. Sitting under the tower where a brass band was playing while eating dinner was very pleasant.

Finally we headed back to the hotel one final time. Alex invited everyone to drink with him in the lobby, so we sat around a table and hung out for a while.

Day 11: Lucerne, Liechtenstein, Munich

Our first day of four countries.

Today, we had the morning free, so we were able to sleep in a little bit. After waking up at 7:45, Harris and I went downstairs for breakfast and meeting up with Jamie. Jamie took us into the heart of Lucerne around 8:30 and showed us where to look around.

At the hotel, we had been given maps and a voucher for a free spoon from Boucherer, so we all went inside and got our free Rolex spoons. After being distracted by nice watches I can’t afford, we headed toward the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) and saw lots of swans in the water. Heading back toward the tourist area, we heard the faint sounds of a brass ensemble. We went closer and saw an 11-piece brass band recording a video on the other old wooden bridge of Lucerne. I wasn’t able to find out who they were, but I was able to record a video. They sounded really good.


I was able to grab some Swiss dark chocolate at the supermarket and we headed toward the Dying Lion. It was really impressive: carved out of stone straight into the side of a mountain and surrounded by a nice pool of water. Most of us made wishes and threw pennies into the water before heading back to the hotel.


At the hotel, another tour group was having quite a bit of trouble figuring out how to load their buses, so we ended up getting delayed by half an hour. Jamie and Carmina were both very angry. When we were finally able to load our bus, it only took us about five minutes, and we were off to Liechtenstein.

Harris sleeping on the bus to Liechtenstein
Harris sleeping on the bus to Liechtenstein

In Liechtenstein, we all went to the tourist booth to get our passports stamped (which cost €2.50) and then off to find food. I looked around the supermarket for something good to eat, but found no pre-made food that looked appetizing, so I ended up going to a quick restaurant next door.

Vaduz, Liechtenstein castle
Vaduz, Liechtenstein castle

After lunch, we left for our third country of the day: Austria. The Liechtenstein/Austria border was an actual border, so we waited in the bus while Jamie and Carmena dealt with getting us through. Once through, it was a straight shot into our fourth country of the day: Germany.

We arrived in Germany with no stops in Austria. In Munich, we got to our hotel and checked in. Harris and I were given an apartment, complete with a full kitchen. The inclusion of free wifi was also a nice touch.


For dinner, we went to a restaurant in the Augustiner Breweri. The main dish was pork-based, so I ended up with the vegetarian option: polenta and spinach in a cream sauce. It was pretty tasteless.


Following our dinner, we went to Munich’s famous Hofbräuhaus where beers are served in steins of 1 liter. I was advised to try the Dunkel, which was delicious. We enjoyed some traditional German brass music along with our beer and had a very fun night.


Arriving back at the hotel, I made sure to drink a ton of water before falling asleep.