The part of the my travels with Vienna as a home base is coming to a close, so I thought I would make a video to help remember all of the amazing experiences I have had so far. I would like to first thank Melissa for inviting me to come and stay with her family. Not only was she great at planning our trips and working out the details, but she was also a really fun friend to share every experience with. Also, I want to thank the Salzmann family for letting me stay at their house over the past month. It’s not easy having a guest in your house for such a long time, and they were always so nice and welcoming. My European adventure, however, is not over! Tomorrow, I leave for London and ultimately Bristol in England to visit my friend Peter, who I also met working at camp last summer. I’m looking forward to an amazing time, and I will update again in about a week with a bunch of new stories to share!
On our last day in Munich before we caught our train back to Vienna, I really wanted to go to Dachau, which was the first concentration camp. I do not even know how to begin describing what it was like to be there. It was sad, eerie, thought provoking…I couldn’t help but feel what had happened there. While there, I took out about twenty minutes and literally just sat in the main square and tried to imagine what it was like. The fact that such awful things had happened right where I was standing was scary, to say the least. Despite all the tourists around me, it was not hard to feel the suffering that had gone on – the ground was simply gravel, the grass was overgrown with weeds, the buildings were cheap, and the paint was peeling. It was still the exact same camp that it was during WWII. I did not feel distanced at all from what had happened, despite the fact that it is about seventy years earlier. For one thing, it definitely made me feel less sorry for myself for being cold the day before during the David Guetta concert! The amount of unbearable torment that occurred there is overwhelming just from looking at the stats, but actually stepping on the grounds had another, deeper impact on me that will be hard to forget.
For Saturday afternoon in Munich, Melissa and I bought tickets to go to a David Guetta concert. For those who don’t know, David Guetta is a really popular DJ right now, both in the U.S. and in Europe. The tickets said the concert started at 4:00, but as we unfortunately discovered, David Guetta would not be appearing until 8:30. Originally we had planned to go to a firework show at the Olympic stadium that night, but obviously our plans changed – it was worth it! The concert, although cold and rainy throughout the day (made worse by the fact that we were the only people there in shorts!), was really fun. Not only was it fun because of the concert itself, but also because it appeared to be almost exclusively a German audience, meaning the people watching was great! I was able to experience German youth culture in its element – which was crazy, to say the least! The video above shows some highlights of the day.
This past weekend Melissa and I went to Munich, which I loved. I found it to be extraordinarily rich in culture, even more so than Vienna and Prague. For example, it was fairly normal to see people walking around in traditional German clothes. Also, the personalities of the people overall just felt so different from what I am used to. Anyway, I liked Munich so much also because I had three very contrasting types of experiences there – the cultural, the historical, and the social. So, I am going to do three different posts so that I can do them justice! This post is the cultural one. Besides the traditional dress and the stern personalities of the Germans, one thing that really struck me was the number and quality of the street performers. There were violinists and other musical groups, mimes, and people dressed as statues (one of them looked so real it scared me when he reached out toward me!). It was really impressive and fun to observe. Although Munich did have its fair number of tourists, in my view the tourists did not overshadow the German culture. The video above summarizes my favorite aspects of culture in Munich – it was also the first time I ever used iMovie, which was really fun. Hopefully I’ll get better at it!