A visit to Munich during Oktoberfest is a unique experience, and one that I would wager is not overly representative of the city on a normal basis. Friends who had visited Munich during other times of the year raved about its beauty, the architecture and the history, something that can easily be forgotten or overlooked for many descending on Munich for September’s festivities. With time in Germany, we wanted to experience something cultural as a bit of a contrast to the part scene that we were experiencing during Oktoberfest. One of our travel partners proposed a visit to nearby Dachau, the site of the first concentration camp.
Needless to say, a visit to a concentration camp is heavy but it was an incredible worthwhile experience. I had no idea when I arrived, but Dachau was built in the early 1930s and actually served as a model for future camps. The camp and the museum were definitely eye-opening and heart-breaking, but it is something that I truly think would be a benefit to all people to see first hand. While its a history that we learn about and attempt to fully understand as students, seeing the site first hand makes it a much starker reality.
A visit to the camp is free of charge and it takes approximately an hour to reach from Munich. Allot a few hours to walk around the camp and take it all in and be prepared for a highly emotional experience.
My overall feel for Munich? Despite the amazing history and some pretty amazing architecture, it’s not a city that I feel compelled to visit again. At least not anytime soon. I think there are some places that are a ‘one time’s enough’ kind of deal and for me, this was one such place. Oktoberfest was a unique experience and our time in Dachau added an important historic layer to our time in the city, but I think Munich’s generally a hard city for me to fully enjoy as a non-meat eater and a non-beer drinker. I would love to revisit the area in the future and explore other small towns in Bavaria to compare and contrast Munich with its smaller counterparts.
Have you been to Munich? What was your take?