Walking through History

Now seven days in, the ICGL Germany crew has logged roughly 40 miles on foot—or so suggests our collective FitBit data. Here’s a recap of our week, as we wrapped up in snowy Munich and hit the ground running, sometimes sliding, in a slushy Berlin:

MONDAY

On Monday, we took our first side trip from Munich, to Neuschwansein castle. Heading into the alps by train, scenes were bleak, beautiful and a little bit otherworldly to our Atlanta eyes.


[Though unfinished, Neuschwansein is a magical building, having been inspired by a mad prince who was eventually murdered for his profligate spending on the castle.]

TUESDAY

On Tuesday morning’s walking tour, we saw more of Germany’s past meeting its present, thanks to our engaging guide to Munich, Pace’s own Mr. Hornor. The Antikensammlungen and Alte Pinakothek museums were our next two stops.

          

After visiting more historic sites and a shower break, we were spoiled with a delightfully German dinner at Spatenhaus, followed by a performance of the opera Carmen on opening night. Just your average Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday’s itinerary set a far different tone, as we set out for our second side trip—this time to Dachau concentration camp. The students approached the day, a glimpse into an unthinkable reality, with thoughtful questions, reflection and respect. Each of us experienced Wednesday’s sobering tour of Dachau concentration camp in our own way.

Having cleaned out the candy supply in the Munich Hoptbanhoft by Wednesday afternoon, we were forced to move on.

THURSDAY

Our first full day in Berlin, we walked to the Postdammer Platz Thursday morning and then took up the path of the Berlin Wall. We stopped to observe Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, a monument that is a series of 2711 gray, slightly unequal slate blocks that cover a vast area in the middle of the city. Visitors pass through a sea of internal corridors, which eventually creates a sense of being lost—the physical representation of disconnectivity becomes visceral.

After visiting the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag Building, we travelled to Checkpoint Charlie, where we celebrated many things AMERICAN:

FRIDAY

This Friday, the 13th brings us to the present! On this “museum day,” we accomplished some more walking, this time with a little rain, to visit the Berliner Dom, tour the Pergamon museum, and end with a visit to the Neu Synagogue. All this we accomplished before heading to Berlin’s premier luxury retail destination, KaDeWe, to do some SERIOUS (window) shopping.

Safe and Sound in Snowy Munich

The ICGL’s Germany crew arrived safely (and sleepily) in Munich Sunday morning, greeted by a beautiful snowfall. After a quick bag-drop at our hostel, we took a walk to the Marienplatz, the city center and home of the famous Glockenspiel, and the chilly 26-degree weather woke us right up.

           

After a delicious lunch, we toured the Munich Frauenkirche, recently re-opened after a long renovation, and headed back through the city for a well-earned nap at the hostel.

Day 1 wrapped up with dinner at Munich’s well known Hofbräuhaus, where German sausages, schnitzels and sparkling waters were enjoyed by all. We headed back through the city center’s pedestrian zone, particularly charming today thanks to lingering Christmas decorations covered in snow, and hit the hay!