As we drove away from Venice and north towards Austria, I started to notice how dehydrated I was. It’s always a mystery to me how exhausting driving is, but I hadn’t realized about the dehydration until I drank an entire liter of iced tea and didn’t have to stop to pee. As I usually stop to be roughly ever twenty minutes, this is particularly alarming. With this in mind we stopped at the first shops we could find to stock up on beverages.
Driving through Austria offered amazing views, even from the motorway. Instead of heading for the main cities we drive through small towns and countryside, stopping to pop in to small shops. I’m a bit sad more time wasn’t spent in Austria, as we were traveling the more rural areas we didn’t even get a chance to stay in a hostel, opting to camp out in the car.
Prior to arriving in Munich we booked a hostel for a few nights. Lance wanted to try the 100 person dorms, I wanted the 4 person dorm, so we settled in the middle at an 8 person dorm. When we arrived in the room it was already full of 6 Chinese tourists. We didn’t have a language in common so we all just smiled and nodded as we dropped off our things. One of the boys had been sitting in Lance’s bed. Fresh sheets were included in the price of the hostel, and since these were clearly used by the boy, Lance scurried to the front desk to request new ones. For someone who had been sleeping in a car for days, he certainly was going to get his money’s worth for the 12€ bunk.
We grabbed dinner at an outdoor café in Munich’s historic center, which was full of stunning architecture. We were running low on cash, so we visited the ATM. This is where our luck ran out. I couldn’t get any cash. The machines would just cancel the transaction. We walked to every machine we could find, and the result was the same. I’d activated the travel notifications, and had no idea why they weren’t working. I was starting to panic. We needed cash for all of the tolls for the roads, and well, food, and a few other things. All of the banks were closed. Lance, too, was low on funds. Lance was less fortunate. The machine didn’t just terminate the transaction, it kept his card. He just put the card in and then nothing. It didn’t even pretend to want to help us. We stared at each other speechless. Surely, this wasn’t happening. What do we do now? What if the next person to use this machine gets his card? How will he get a new card?
After trying everything we could think of, we headed back to the hostel. We couldn’t call our banks in America as it was the middle of the night there, but we would send an email or whatever we could. When we got back to the hostel dorm we found that one of our dorm mates was in Lance’s bed…again. Lance tried telling him to leave, but the boy kept smiling, seemingly unaware that Lance doesn’t love strange people in his bed, and had just had his credit card eaten. Lance made the gesture of his finger across his throat. He meant this as “stop being in my bed”. Pretty sure the boy took this to mean I’m going to murder you in your sleep. They left and didn’t return for the entire night. I guess the result was ok, although that boy is probably still telling his friends about his Munich city death threat by two Americans.
With basically no money, and no response from our banks, we headed out of Munich city to visit Dachau Concentration Camp.
I’ve never visited anything like this before, and didn’t really know how to feel. Visiting historically significant places usually takes me a minute to get my head around. Hearing about events is one thing, but being there is completely different. Standing there and knowing what took place is unimaginable. Truly not something you can fully comprehend.
The English speaking tour leaves twice a day, and at only 3€ the 2 1/2 hour tour is well worth the price. Our guide spoke of the history of Dachau, what happened within the walls, and in the country. If I had to sum up the visit with one word it would be powerful. I can’t imagine being a tour guide there, and discussing the tragedies every day. If you have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it. It’s upsetting, and heartbreaking, and truly terrible, but it felt important to remember the horrible things that happened there. Walking out of Dachau is equally strange, knowing that so many were never able to.
Thoroughly depressed, we left the site and began our trek westward. Germany was a mixed bag. Munich was beautiful, but kept Lance’s credit card, and our good spirits.
Next, we’ll be headed west and south towards the Spanish coast.