This is the 13th of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time. Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday. Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: 1. I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time. Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification. I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.
This 13th report covered my first day in Munich including a side-trip to Dachau.
I arrived in Munich this morning. I thought that hostels were going to be a problem here due to the 27 age limit, but I tried a non-Youth Hostel International place for my second call and promptly got a place near the train station. I even got back to the train station before the tourist info place opened. The hostel costs $21 a night and I will be staying at least three nights. Not one of the cheaper places I've been to but with the 27 and under hostel rule I feel relatively lucky.
[NOW: If memory serves that might have been a hostel that was termed a bed & breakfast to get around the rules. It was a hostel in any important respects though. I ended up staying in Munich four days if you include the side-trips].
A bit overcast today so rather than exploring Munich today I took a train and bus to the Dachau concentration camp. One of the more sobering places I've been to (once inside you can almost see the ghosts of the guards in the towers linked by barbed wire fence) but definitely worthwhile. Most of it is restored rather the original but the original camp is very much still there in spirit.
[NOW: There was a definite energy to the camp. If ghosts do exist then I felt them. Oddly the birds were most singing happily near the buildings that have the ovens. There were no gas chambers that were ever used there because the guards had the inmates build them; the inmates kept adding in design flaws so by the time the gas chamber was actually built, the Russians were on their way.]
I met one of my roommates, a Japanese guy who seems nice enough, but neither of us can understand each other's accents, making conversation a bit difficult.
Toilets are separated by sex. Showers are a bit odd: two shower stalls that can be closed off but which are in the same room (not co-ed). Before showering I think I'll wait until someone else is showering just to see if the doors are translucent or not. If need be I have shorts I can wear.