The husband and I are in Munich at the moment where I am attending a conference in a few days time.
(Someone asked whether we were on our second honeymoon - I replied that every day is like a second honeymoon with my husband. I was joking. Although it is quite nice to be alone together. Nice but weird. I miss my kids terribly and it has only been one day.)
Marko and I after our long flight, waiting to check in at the hotel. We were early but they very kindly allowed us to check in early. Hotel selfie!
I have never been to Germany before, even though my grandfather was from Germany. My grandfather and his family were German Jews who escaped the persecution during Hitler's reign of Germany. The family was split up, some ended up in America, some in South Africa. All the Loebenbergs in South Africa are family.
Today Marko and I visited Dachau, one of the first concentration camps established in Germany. It was an incredibly moving / painful / intense / overwhelming experience. But so important. Besides the personal connection I have through my father's family, I think it is very important not only to honour those who lost their lives in such a brutal way, but also to face up to man's inhumanity to man, to ensure that we never allow that to happen again. It is beyond comprehension how human beings can be so cruel. The suffering.... it is almost unbelievable. It was very painful to see that. I am still in disbelief. The executions were bad enough, but the suffering... the suffering was immense. Unspeakable. Appalling. I don't have the words.
I don't usually do tours because I hate being stuck somewhere I don't want to be. If I want to go home / back to the hotel, I want to go RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE. But it was a good tour, even if it was painful to see and hear. Excellent guide. Highly recommended: Radius Tours Munich
We were a smallish group who went on the tour. On the tour, a young woman started chatting to us. She said she recognized our accents. She was an American woman (probably around 20 years old?) who had extended family in South Africa. I was so impressed with this young woman! She was backpacking through Europe on her own. Going to several countries. Staying in hostels, meeting people. I was very impressed. How brave of her! All by herself. Her parents should be very proud of her. What a lovely, independent, brave young woman. (That makes me sound very old. Which I am.)
Munich is an interesting place. It isn't a pretty city (maybe I haven't seen enough of it yet) and it is bloody expensive!!! But then again, everything is expensive if you are South African. It is a friendly city though, interesting. So much history. People have been really helpful to us.
A tip to anyone visiting Munich / Germany - DO NOT JAYWALK! Marko and weren't even here for an hour when we were pulled over by the cops and fined for crossing the road before the green man came on. I thought Marko was going to have a heart attack! Eventually I had to tell him to go away because he was getting so cross. I didn't think it was a great idea to get into a fight with a German cop on day one. He was not a very warm, friendly person. But we were in the wrong and that is that. It was actually amusing, and made me realize how very different the culture is in South Africa compared to Germany. There is a strong regard for the rules / law here. In SA, not so much. Here in Germany you do not cross the road if the green man isn't on, even if there are no cars coming for miles. You vill not cross ze road!
Side note: Do other South African's also keep remarking "that would never work in South Africa" when they travel abroad? We keep seeing things and remarking how that would never work in South Africa. ('Honesty boxes' / Car2Go / leaving keys in the ignition / being fined for jaywalking... :) )
The thing I hate most about travelling (ok, second most - the thing I hate most is being away from my kids! I miss them terribly :( ) is that I can't eat my usual food. I am a creature of habit when it comes to food (and may I just say, that is a HUGE understatement. To the point of being decidedly odd) and so not being able to eat my usual food is a little concerning. I am sure if I had to travel far enough and spend enough, I could come close'ish to what I usually eat, but I have neither the time nor money to do so. So I am stuck eating a lot more carbs / processed food than I usually do. Which doesn't make me feel great. But anyway, let's not complain. (BTW, the Germans love their sausage! Especially a very scary looking white sausage that Marko and I are way too scared to try)
I miss my children terribly. I never feel complete if I am away from them. I miss them so much. Thank goodness for Skype! And thank goodness for so many people in my 'village' who are taking care of them while I am away.
But it's all good - I am getting to learn more about the world, about history, about other cultures and countries. And I am getting to spend quality time with the husband. Which is a good thing.
Auf Wiedersehen from Munich!