Ah Munich, the capital of Bavaria; our experience couldn't have been any more perfect as an Oom-pa-pa band belted out a tune as we strolled into the Biergarten on a sunny afternoon. Tasty cuts of fried pork, bratwurst, pretzels, potatoes and sauerkraut dominated our culinary experience along with "small" (half liter) beers. We also began the trend of a pastry a day in Munich's numerous bakeries. Our first night, we walked through driving rain to reach Tollman, an outdoor festival featuring regional food, arts and crafts. In spite of the good free music flowing out of the tents, we were content to dry ourselves over our new favorite German beer, Hubertus Mai Bock from Hacker-Pshorr.
While walking downtown the next day we happened upon a plaque marking the very building where Kristallnact(The Night of Broken Glass) began. As much fun as we had taking in the beautiful old buildings and people walking around in leiterhosen, there was the constant reminder that Munich was once the starting point for the Nazi Party. As suggested by our host, Kirsten, we went to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial site. It was the first concentration camp in Germany, used mainly for political opponents of the Nazis in 1933 but then functioned as a work camp and transit station for other concentration and death camps. Most of the barracks had been demolished, but one was still standing along with a bunker, which had been used for interrogation and torture. Both areas were chock full of information and there was even a cinema showing a documentary on Dachau. As somber and unnerving an experience it was to be where so many have suffered and perished, we at least were able to gain a greater understanding as to what went on there.
Later we visited the Lenbach museum of modern art, which had just reopened weeks before. Featured was an exhibit on Kandinsky and the Blue Riders, an art collective that led to the Bauhaus movement in Germany. We both enjoyed Kandinsky's earlier transcendental paintings although I was a bigger fan of Paul Klees. We closed our chapter on Munich attempting to take down a kaiserstrudel, an enormous apple pastry with Kirsten and her friend.