WWII Educational Tour: Day 1 – Munich

Here are some of the latest posts from Sam Nelson as he accopanies his group on Ridgewater’s WWII Educational Tour to Europe.

March 3, 2012

Bonjour!

We are now in Paris after our overnight train excursion from Munich, an experience no one will ever forget!  To bring readers up-to-date, however, I’ll back up to yesterday (Sunday).  We began the day with a tour of Munich by bus with an expert local guide, Monika.  She highlighted the World War II related sites with special focus on the White Rose resistance movement led by the 21-year old student, Sophie Scholl.  It’s an amazing story of courage in the face of brutal repression by the Nazi regime, for which Scholl and her compatriots paid with their lives.  (A fine movie that tells the story is Sophie Scholl:  The Final Days.)

Our next stop was Neuschwanstein, the great castle of King Ludwig II after which the Disney castle is modeled.  The castle rose out of the misty day from its spectacular hilltop setting.  Everyone was impressed with its sheer size and the audacity of splendor that it emobodied, from running water to a phone system to the ornate woodwork of Ludwig’s bed for which a dozen plus woodcarvers were employed for over four years!

After returning from Neuschwanstein, our last stop in Germany was the famed beer hall, the Hofbrauhaus.  We were entertained by a band while enjoying authentic German sausage, kraut, etc. washed down by those of age with a liter stein of the German “king of beers!”

We’re off to the Louvre and Notre Dame then a night Seine River cruise and Eiffel Tower visit.  More tonight.

March 4, 2012

Guten Morgen!

Having difficulty uploading photos….  Will keep working on, but limited internet access until tomorrow evening may prevent an update until our next hotel–Paris tomorrow evening (night train tonight).  I’ll blog again as soon as I have access.

March 3, 2012

Day 1: Munich

This update brought to you by one tired traveler!  We’ve been up for 36 straight hours in order to orient our biological clocks to European time (7 hours ahead of Minnesota), but everyone has been real troopers .  After our brief hotel stop this morning, we proceeded into Munich with Martin and our expert coach driver, Werner.  We gathered on the Marienplatz in front of the Rathaus (city hall) with its impressive noon chimes and Glockenspiel, then everyone set off for lunch on their own.  Some sampled traditional German lunch at the open air market (sun came out with temps in the low 50s) while others found restaurants to soak up the Bavarian atmosphere.

Our World War II focus for the day was a visit to the Dachau concentration camp.  Everyone was affected by the experience in a personal and profound way, but all agreed that it is a sobering excursion that they will never forget.

We concluded the day with a delicious three-course meal at the Hacker-Pschorr Brauhaus.  Potato soup, pork, dumplings, and sauerkraut finished off with a sour berry dessert.  Those of age also sampled some of Munich’s most famous export.

I have pictures to upload, but I am bushed and so will tackle that task with fresh eyes in the morning.  I bid you guten abend!

Day 2 preview:  BMW museum, Munich city tour, Neuschwanstein (aka the Disney castle), and the Hofbrauhaus before boarding the night train for Paris.