Thursday, April 9, 2009

If any day went the least like I thought it would, this is the day. We started with a typical, but good, European breakfast at Gastehaus Weiher. Frau Oswald served us with rolls, cold meat, cheese, hot hard boiled eggs, room temperature yogurt, hot chocolate, and orange juice. Abby started by not wanting anything, but after sitting there awhile, she joined in too. We pulled out by about 9am and were on our way to Munich. We thought it would take less than 2 hours to get there, but we were on some back roads and did not make great time. We knew that it might be difficult to get into the city center because of the “umwelt zone.” In many places in Germany, the cars have to pass an emissions test and then they get a sticker for the windshield. It is supposed to cut down on traffic in the city and help protect the environment. Well, we pulled into a gas station and asked and she either indicated that we didn’t need one or that she didn’t sell them. Regardless, we decided to say, “Screw it,” and we drove into the “umwelt zone” without our green badge. Trudy, the GPS, had been wonderful up until now. She had us curving around tiny little side streets no bigger than an alley. We wanted to get to the Marienplatz by 11am to see the Glockenspiel (giant clock) chime and the people to come out, much like we had seen in Rothenburg, but on a much bigger scale. Well, we hit traffic and it was clear that we weren’t going to make it when we were still driving at 11am. So, I made an executive decision and told Derek, “Let’s get out of here.” We got out of the city and headed for Dachau Concentration Camp. It is just NW of Munich and it only took about 20 minutes to get there. In the city of Dachau, we stopped at a Burger King for lunch. The playland was locked and we asked if it could be opened, but it was closed. Bummer. We ate and then I asked at the counter how to get to the Concentration Camp. Now, I know “Concentration Camp” is not German, but I figured they would know what I was talking about. I asked one lady and she held up a finger to indicate, “Wait.” A man came from the back and I asked him. He looked at me and said, “No English.” Oh, well, we were on our way to see what we could find on our own. Luckily, just down the road we saw a sign and it was just a minute away.
The camp was larger than I had thought it would be, but once we got walking around and I thought about how many people were living there, it felt small. It was the same kind of feeling I had at the Anne Frank House. The gate on the way in that reads, “Arbeit Macht Frei” which means, “Work will set you free.” I thought about all of the people that read that as they arrived at Dachau and how work had nothing to do with it. It was very powerful. We saw some cells and walked around the grounds. We stood where they had roll call and went into a recreated bunkhouse. There were only 2 standing bunkhouses and the rest we could just see the concrete slab with rocks where they used to stand. They were so run down that they had torn them down. We were there quite a while and the kids were tired so with a drive still ahead of us, we did a quick diaper change in the parking lot and were back on the road again.

We weren’t far on the autobahn when traffic pretty much stopped. It was bad! We finally left the right lane for the exit and got back in the left and just drove. We thought that maybe Trudy could find another way, but she wanted us to make a u-turn. So, we did. We drove a few miles up the autobahn, exited, and drove back down to the exit we were supposed to take. Luckily from our direction, it was hardly backed up at all and it wasn’t long until we started moving along pretty good.

I had found all of our places to stay on the internet before we left and we had reservations for all of them. The great thing about a reservation is that you know you have a bed waiting, how much it is going to cost, and generally what type of place it is going to be. The bad thing about a reservation, especially one that you have to pay in advance, is that you might not want to drive that far that day, or you might not be able to find it. Without Trudy, I don’t think we would have found this one. On the internet, it seemed to be not too far off the interstate. Well, that wasn’t exactly so. We were driving through beautiful countryside, but I just kept thinking, “Is this right?” I was sure hoping so because I was so ready to get out of the car. We finally found the small town of Konigstein and asked a lady for Haus am Markt. It was just down the street. Derek checked us in and the owner’s husband helped us with our bags. He showed us to our apartment upstairs. That’s right…an apartment. It was great. We had an entry hall with a bathroom, a bedroom with a large bed, a living room area, dining table, and small kitchen. The kids liked having some room to move around and we turned on German cartoons. I headed down the street to the market to pick up some things for supper and breakfast. I got to the town center, it was small, but I still didn’t know where the market was. I first almost went into a liquor store. I headed one direction and didn’t see anything. I found three old ladies sitting on a bench. I smiled and asked, “Market?” They all just looked at me and shook their heads. I motioned like I was eating and said, “Food?” Still nothing. I waved and moved on. I found the market the other direction than I started and went in. It was hard to shop for things and not be able to read the labels. I could guess some of the things because of the picture, but some I wasn’t too sure. I was looking at spaghetti sauce and I didn’t know if it was meat or tomato or what?! I mostly bought fruit (canned and fresh), Easter candy, pretzels, and milk. Oh, well…it worked. We ate dinner, watched German cartoons, and got ready for bed. Derek slept with Cade in the bedroom and Abby and I slept on the pullout couch in the living room. We weren’t sleeping but a few minutes and Abby threw up all over the pillow, her pjs, me, and giraffe-e. Oh, my…mandarin oranges. I got Abby calmed down, gathered the items that needed to be gathered and got Abby cleaned up. As I was getting her changed, she said, “I want that banana for breakfast tomorrow.” I had to laugh and told her that was fine. I got Abby settled back into the 1 sheet, 1 blanket, 1 pillow bed and started rinsing and washing. I decided I needed help and got Derek. He sat with Abby until she fell asleep and I made a sink full of soapy water. I washed out the pillow case, Abby’s t-shirt, part of the sheet, and giraffe-e and decided to throw away Abby’s pjs and my pj pants. Ugh! Luckily it wasn’t too late and Abby slept fine the rest of the night.
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