📸 — Munich & Ettaler Forest, Germany

Munich definitely felt more like the Germany we had pictured in our head. Beer houses, cobble stone streets, people dressed in the traditional Bavarian wear and obviously more sausage! But I think the major difference from our travels to Berlin and Munich was the local hospitality that truly was above and beyond.

We met Stephanie while diving in Indonesia and were asking her about Oktoberfest (as that was our original timeframe to come) and she mentioned that if we ever came to Munich to let her know and she would show us around.

Well, we had the most jam-packed 3 days schedule of awesome things thanks to Stephanie and we are so grateful for it!

Other random things that happened this week was our Hotel caught fire (or at-least the fire alarm went off) and we were not able to go and get our bags for several hours as we were checking out that day.

And Maeghan learning that nudity is a thing here and that taking pictures in the parks has a high chance of capturing an unexpected surprise if you are not paying attention.

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The view right coming from the UBhan, the old parliament building
The new parliament building
First meal in a German beer house
Walking around Munich on our way to the English Gardens.
The english gardens have a river that runs through and the hardcore surfers come and practice their skills.

It’s very organized, one surfer will come from the left, and when he/she bails, the next person from the right of the river will jump in. The water is pretty cold to start with… and these guys surf until late October!

Lots of people hanging out in the park enjoying a Tuesday afternoon.
stopping in the beer garden for an ice cream.
Maeghan is considering starting a photography series called “Oli on his phone: a look at the world around him.”

We decided to to a walking tour in the afternoon — even though we knew it would rain… Turns out that was a bad idea as the rain lasted a few hours and cut our tour short.. and most of it was held under cover with lots of noise in the background.

Pouring rain.

Stephanie made our trip to Munich beyond special.

To start, she invited us to a Bavarian festival — which we did not research, just showed up at the place she told us to meet.

We got off the train and realized everyone was dressed up… we followed them around the corner and came into quite a surprise!

Originally we wanted to go to Oktoberfest in the fall, but with timing and visas, that plan didn’t work out. So we came to Munich early to explore and when we got invited to this festival — it was such a special surprise!

So how did Oktoberfest come to be?

Well, this Bavarian King got married and wanted to celebrate with all the town’s people. So he threw a public party and offered free beer and food. The townspeople LOVED it.. and next year… they went back to the king and told him “It’s your anniversary, and it was such a special day… you should throw another party to celebrate your anniversary…” And the King thought it was so nice that his people cared about his wedding that much.. and threw the party again. Little did he know, they just wanted the free beer 😉

This tradition has gone on for centuries... but today you pay for the beer and it costs upwards of 10–12euros a beer.

The festival we had the chance to go to was a smaller version, but all the same activities and much much cheaper beer 🍻

Stephanie dressed up! And we got our litre 6 euro beers. The right photo is our drinking face.
Traditional Bavarian Food!
It’s tradition to pull both sides of the pretzel and the one with the bigger side has good luck.

The next day, we thought it was important for us to visit the Dachau concentration camp. We were told early on in our trip that everyone should visit one as it helps put in to perspective how lucky we are to be living in the present day.

Dachau was the very first concentration camp, and was used as the model for all the other ones.

So we spent many hours walking around and following the tour groups that shared more details about the function and daily activities on the site. The gentleman who was leading the tour is a historian, who happened to meet and document many people who had survived this place — and his stories were very impactful to hear, and we are so grateful.

Maeghan’s great grandparents died in a concentration camp in WWII and having the perspective of traveling to Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia prior to Germany really left a impression.

We had no idea there were so many camps across Europe. There were over 1,000 difference camps for different purposes. But there were 26 main ones that historically have left the most painful memories.
The isolation rooms.

This building was made by some of the smartest men serving in the Nazi reign — a production line house to make (sorry there is no nice way to say this…) killing large amounts of people as efficiently as possible.

They would trick the prisoners that they were going into a shower room, have them strip all their clothes, which were then cleaned for bacteria and disease, and then locked in a room that was filled with gas. The bodies were then taken into the next room to be cremated.

How often this method was used is unclear, as testimonies share contradicting point of views.

This was not an easy day — but one we feel was important.

Most prisoners were however shot and buried in gun pits. This is a memorial for them.

Most of the camp was destroyed after the war, but each of these long lines were buildings with beds of all the prisoners in the camp.

At the end of the day, we met up with Stephanie and her boyfriend Guenther for a movie outside in the park! They were playing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” which Maeghan has never seen before… so it was a totally awesome night when people started throwing toilet paper, confetti or adding new commentary to the movie as it was playing.

Next day we went to the Hofbrauhaus — the most famous beer hall for Oktoberfest. It’s also the place where the Nazi party assembled in it’s infancy.
In Bavaria, you drink beer for breakfast and eat white sausages, so at 9am — we enjoyed a wheat beer mixed with lemon juice and traditional sausages that you eat, but you need to make sure to peel off the skin first!
After we drove out around the Ettaler Forest to go Castle hopping at enjoy a very Bavarian afternoon.
The Neuschwanstein Castle inspired the Disney Logo and is also the Cinderella Castle!

Nora is a search and rescue dog that is trained to save people! We got to spend the day with her on our adventures in the country side.

The front of the castle was under construction (the most Disney looking part!)
Maeghan put her camera on a ledge and took a photo using her remote…. Oli looks very concerned for the camera.
The alps backed on the the castle :) It was a beautiful place!
More castles in the distance.
Stephanie and Guenther made this trip so special, we honestly can’t thank them enough!!
There is a path way you can take that brings you to a bridge to see the Castle. We thought it was a good idea… but… it wasn’t.
Hundreds and hundreds of people all in line to see the castle from the bridge.. and there is no weight limit noted… and the bridge boards shake as you walk on them… it is TERRIFYING.
Also, if you walk all the way across the bridge… there is free space, but everyone stops and does a full on 30 min photo shoot in the first 3 steps of the bridge.
Neuschwanstein Castle :D
The wind was crazy — thus Maeghan’s SIMBA hair.
Crossing the bridge and doing a short hike to the top of a hill. This castle was built and never finished because the King ran out of money. Today more than 1.3 million people see it a year :)
Then we left the castles and went to the lake to enjoy a swim and chill afternoon.
Prosecco and Sorbet!
Ice cream goodness.
Lake life.
At the back of the lake, there were maybe a hundred cows that all had bells around their neck. So as you sit by the water, you hear a lot of cow bell (like a wind chime) ringing in the background.
Last night, we went to the Augustiner Brauhaus and enjoyed more traditional food, beer, hard alcohol and desserts — which was super sweet.
See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫