Sharon woke me up this morning around 9 to make sure I had enough time to get ready and eat before heading over to the Dachau Concentration Camp together. We got all-you-can-eat breakfast at the hostel for €3,90 which was tasty and had a fair amount of variety. It was here that we figured out that we are university rivals (go bears, beat stanfurd) and she told me more about what she’s been doing since graduating last spring. She works for a 3D printing startup that is looking at partnering with Adidas and printing shoes, which is why she is in Germany. The company gave her a car, so she offered to drive us both to Dachau since it’s just outside of Munich.
We arrived around 11 and tried to get into the free public tour but it had already been filled. We got audio guides instead and walked around the memorial site for about 4 hours.
I can’t begin to describe how this experience made me feel. A lot of the museum was based around large posters with propaganda posters and pictures taken by officers and other people with access to the camp. This part wasn’t particularly surprising for me, I feel like I’d read the vast majority of the information presented there in history books or online during some of my own personal research.
What really got to me was walking around the grounds of the concentration camp, seeing where the prisoners were kept, and walking through the crematorium. The gas chambers were reported to not have been used, but it was incredibly surreal to walk through that as well. I felt very conflicted about taking pictures in the memorial and tried to do so in a tasteful, respectful way but I realize that that is nearly impossible given the atrocious subject matter.
Sharon and I got a late lunch at the cafe in the visitor’s center, and then she drove me back to Munich before heading back to work in Nuremberg. I originally had planned to walk around the old city, but it was thundering and raining like crazy and I felt very emotionally drained so I took a nap instead.
Today I realized that I’m just slightly over halfway done with my big Europe adventure. It has gone by way too fast. I feel like just yesterday I was going on 13 mile walks in London, eating chocolate in Belgium, making great friends in Amsterdam, eating incredible Turkish food in Berlin, and going on beautiful hikes in Heidelberg. There is still so much more to come, but this trip has truly gone by quicker than I could’ve ever imagined.
In a few hours I will face time with my mom and wish her a happy mother’s day. It’ll be the first time verbally talking to her since I’ve been in Europe.
Tomorrow I will go on a free walking tour around Munich at 10:45am and will probably try to get some authentic Bavarian food.