Monday, October 14, 2013

"Arbeit Macht Frei"

The abbey from The Sound of Music 
I write to you from Trondheim, where I safely made it back from my week-long vacation to Germany. I had to split my Germany experience into two posts because my Aunt and I were quite productive. After my last post, we explored Rothenburg a bit more until we took a long train to Munich. When we arrived in Munich, it was snowing (!) - which was pretty odd since the weather had been sunny for most of the days leading up to our arrival. And - it hasn't even begun to snow in Norway yet, so we didn't expect it to be even colder so far South.

Because of the snow, we stayed in the hotel and had a spaghetti buffet. Don't worry - we actually tried German food in several cities: potato bags, Spätzle, and more. The next day in Munich we had planned to take the train to Füssen to see Schloss Neuschwanstein (Sleeping Beauty's castle is modeled after this famous German castle), but we missed the last train by 40 seconds. My aunt even broke into a rare run along the platform to attempt to catch it. She wasn't happy about the result.

But, it worked out because we hopped on a train to Salzburg instead. Once there, we toured the Sound of Music spots, like the vonTrapp mansion, the famous gazebo where "I am 16, going on 17" took place, the abbey featured in the movie, and more. We got lost in the city and found ourselves in bazaars and shopping streets tucked away alongside the huge hill upon which stood the castle. The town was very beautiful - I had to keep turning around and spinning in 360s to enjoy the beauty.

The next day we visited the famous Dachau concentration camp, where the main gates read: "Arbeit Macht Frei." This was unbelievable - to learn about the Nazi rule and interment camps was one thing - but to actually see how these poor prisoners lived was mind blowing. I truly cannot grasp how an event like this occurred in our world - just decades ago. We rushed to make the train to Füssen (going from somber and sad to happy and castle land) - and we just made it by a couple minutes. Neuschwanstein was marvelous - the city was one of the most beautiful parts of Germany. We walked miles and spent 11 hours in total to visit this castle, but it was definitely worth it.

In all, the visit was extraordinary. My Aunt left this morning and a good friend arrives tonight, we then go to Stavanger tomorrow to hike the most famous landmark in Norway. Wish me luck!
A view of the Trondheim autumn

Featured in the film "Sound of Music"

Me and the Gazebo from the Sound of Music

Me in Füssen sitting on the steps to one of the castles

View of the snowy peaks in Füssen

Memorial at the Dachau Concentration camp

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