As we descended into Munich airport we could see snow covering the Bavarian landscape as far as the eye could see. Having had a comfortable flight on British Airways, our first challenge was to buy the Munich metro tickets and navigate our way to the hostel using public transport without any help from our Dons. We skilfully managed to complete this first task and quickly got our bearings on the underground system.
The next morning we once again found our way to Marienplatz, the heart of the Munich Altstadt, to start a historical tour. It was intriguing to hear about the fascinating places around Munich and the stories about many of the historic artifacts, for example, the amusing story of the gold Virgin Mary’s statue, in which the Bavarian people stole the artefact because the King had spent all their money on it. It was only returned years later after the King had abdicated and his successor (his son) had defeated the Protestant Swedish army in the 30 Year’s War.
In the afternoon we headed for the Allianz Arena, the home of Bayern München and, not to forget München 1860, where we were lucky to go into the stadium and try out the acoustics, as well as see the artificial lights, which photosynthesise the hybrid pitch during the winter months. Another highlight was the players’ locker room, which has photos of each player above their locker. Afterwards we took a look around the Bayern München museum where we saw former legends legacies throughout the years, most notably Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and Karl-Heinz Rumminigge.
In the evening we went to the Royal Bavarian Brewery “Hofbraühaus” for supper, which had an amazing atmosphere and also incredible food. The band were playing rhythmic Bavarian songs that make all the patrons swing their beer glasses in time. The Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) proved too difficult for a few members around the table due to its sheer size, but the crackling is to be recommended.
On Sunday morning we went to Dachau concentration camp, the “blue-print” camp created in 1933, which was also the SS training base throughout the Nazi era. In the extreme cold it was a shocking realisation of the brutality of the operation at Dachau and it was a truly solemn experience. It made us feel fortunate to have the freedom, which we enjoy today.
Having had some time to digest the trip to Dachua, DJC set the 5th form the challenge of navigating us to the Löwenbraü. Luckily, we didn’t get lost and yet again another Bavarian-sized supper filled us up. Following this the stage was set for the main event: Eisstockschiessen (Bavarian Curling). We had time for a few practice throws and then went straight into a match, in which Team Folkestone beat Team Jewell 7-4 leaving Mr Cresswell distraught.
None of this would have been possible with Mr Cresswell and Mr Pearson, who throughout the trip made it enjoyable and extremely fun. It helped us with our speaking and interaction in German and we learnt and discovered many things about München. I look forward to going back to the Oktoberfest later this year!
Jack Folkestone, e