Germany, the land of beer and bratwurst. So Danny was sorted. Now I had to find something to amuse myself while Danny was busy consuming the local delights...
First stop in Germany was Berchtesgaden, a small town only half an hour from Salzburg. The town itself was nothing special, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offering plenty of lederhosen (we did not succumb to the persistent advertising). The reason we stopped here was to visit Dokumentation Obersalzburg, an old Hitler headquarters. We took the road leading up the mountain to the tourist attraction until we hit that dreaded "incline" sign. This one was a record: 24%. I didn't know how any cars could make it up a 24% gradient. We didn't think twice - we parked the car and found a cable car heading up the hill. It was possibly the oldest cable car in existence, but it did manage to transport us up to the top. From there it was a two kilometre walk through a forest to the museum. We were expecting great views on our walk but from the path we couldn't see much of anything.
Inside the museum were numerous exhibits in German, plus a movie that was also in German with unhelpful German subtitles. This left us with no choice but to use an English audioguide. The first thing we learned was that the audioguide would last two hours. The museum really wasn't big enough for a two hour tour. It ended up being the most boring and overly descriptive audioguide in the history of audioguides. I'm sure I didn't learn anything because there was way too much information, more than what was written in German on the displays. We only made it halfway through the museum before giving up on the guide. We explored the semi-interesting underground bunkers, but other than that the museum felt like a waste of time. I left a not-so-nice suggestion in their suggestion book on the way out.
Next we drove to Lake Konigsee, which was probably beautiful but we only stopped briefly due to a storm coming towards us. After a sprint around the tip of the lake we rushed back to the shelter of the van and drove on to Munich.
It was on our travels that the storm hit. Danny and I had just swapped driving so he was the one to drive through the rain, thunder, lightning and hail on the autobahn. On a positive note our van didn't leak at all.
In Munich we parked halfway between a caravan park and a train station, making for an easy journey into the city the next morning. Our first destination was the Neue Pinakothek, a semi-modern art gallery. Not too big, well organised and works by famous artists: two thumbs up from us.
From there we walked into the centre of town and strolled through a food market, which was half fresh produce and half ready-to-eat food stalls. As we were in Germany, we both opted for bratwurst for lunch, which even I admit were fantastic. We now realise that bratwurst come in all shapes and sizes – ours were thin and not garlicky at all, which suited my tastes. For dessert I couldn't pass up an apple streusel and a rhubarb cake, which were both huge and perfect. Danny washed his lunch down with a beer, because we were in Munich and beer was everywhere.
Danny quickly decided he had to hit the beer halls, so I left him to it and wandered around the city. I walked past the amazingly gothic rathaus, ascended the cathedral tower for crane-filled views over the city and rode a tram out to Schloss Nymphenburg. The palace was the longest building I had ever laid my eyes on. On the map it measured out to about 700 metres across – impossible to fit in one photo. The gardens were lovely and tranquil, mostly forest, with mini-palaces hidden that popped up here and there.
I caught the tram back to the city, bought a few groceries and met up with Danny who had been market shopping (including expensive morel mushrooms, which he was extremely happy about). We took the train back to our car and checked into the caravan park. Straight away we asked if we could make a reservation for Oktoberfest, but we were informed they didn't take bookings, just first come, first served. Apparently only one caravan park in Munich was taking bookings and it was 30 kilometres out of town. Luckily for us we had a bed and roof whether it was in a caravan park or not.
We thought the caravan park we were staying at was fairly cheap. The next morning we discovered we had to pay for a shower AND pay to fill up our water tank. Not so cheap after all.
On our way out of Munich we drove to Dachau Concentration Camp, one of the first camps (built in 1933) and used as a model for many of the other camps. All the signs were in German and English, which made it much more tourist friendly than our last memorial site. Again, there was loads of information but at least this time we could choose what to read, rather than an audioguide giving us every single excruciating detail. We also walked through the barracks where prisoners were kept. The sheer size of the site was mind-boggling. The barracks were extremely crowded and there was zero privacy. It gave off a sad, eerie vibe, like walking through a ghost town. I couldn't imagine how anyone lived here.