For last weekend’s excursion, I went to Munich. Munich is one of Germany’s largest cities and has culture that totally differs from the rest of the country. Although everyone here still speaks German, I felt like I was in another country.
The City Center
We began our journey in the city center. There we saw much of the historical buildings like the Rathaus and the Frauenkirche. While walking around the city, I saw many people wearing the traditional Bavarian clothing with those really old style German mustaches, like the ones that the Prussian Kaisers used to have.
For lunch, we decided to eat at Munich’s famous Hofbraeuhaus. Founded in 1589, it was once the royal brewery, but now it serves as a restaurant and tourist attraction. There, I ate their Surhax’n (salted pork knuckle), a Bavarian specialty. It tasted so delicious, but it was so incredibly fatty. Layers of fat were sandwiched in between the skin and the thinner meat. We also ate a brezel that was almost one and a half feet wide. The ones I eat in Stuttgart are only around 8 inches wide. For our drinks, we each ordered a “Mass” (usually the “ss” is replaced by the beta sign), which was one liter of beer. I think the only people that didn’t drink that were the kids. It also seemed customary for people to write something on the table since every table had graffiti from previous customers all over it. I did the same and wrote Newton’s Second Law, representing mechanical engineers and physicists everywhere. While we ate, there’d be a band playing traditional Bavarian music.
Englischer Garten and the Hofgarten
After lunch, we went to the Englischer Garten and the Hofgarten. The whole place was just a huge park where people just suntanned.
Afterward, we went to the Olympic Park of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. I saw a memorial there for the Munich Massacre, in which a Palestinian gunman murdered 11 Israeli athletes. We visited the football field and its size was rather deceiving. It looked so small, but the bikers took a really long time getting from one side to the other, so it had to be huge.
We only looked around the rather large lobby of the museum, but since we already saw the Benz and Porsche Museums in Stuttgart, we didn’t bother spending that much time there. The cool thing about this museum was that we actually got to sit in the cars and motorcycles, unlike the Benz and Porsche Museums.
The Starkbierfest is a beer festival that lasts for a month, because of this, there were tons of people at all the local beer gardens. Everyone went there in the evening and as usual, people ordered their beer by the liter.
Dachau Concentration Camp
At the front gate, one could immediately see the camp’s motto that the Third Reich once displayed, “Arbeit macht frei”, which literally translates to “work makes free”. Each incoming prisoner would see this sign without realizing the horrors they would be face. We visited the interrogation rooms, now devoid of anything from the Nazi regime except for the slowly decaying wallpaper.
The museum on the site outlined the history of the camp and the stories of some prisoners and staff that were once there. Also at the camp, one could see the “houses” that the prisoners stayed in. It was hard to believe that the building once contained as many as 2000 prisoners. Outside was also the Ashes of the Unknown Concentration Camp Prisoner. On the wall, the words read, “Never Again”. I went up to the tomb and paid my respects.
Inside the house, we saw the beds that the prisoners slept on. In one room, I counted 72 beds, but obviously back then, more than 72 people slept there.
We also visited the crematorium which contained the ovens once used to cremate the dead. There was also a gas chamber. Although Dachau was only a concentration camp and not an extermination camp, it still made use of it. Each of the gas nozzles was disguised as a shower and room even had drains on the ground so that the prisoners wouldn’t refuse going into the room. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was a shower too.
On the exterior, one can still see the measures that the Nazi’s took in preventing escapes such as the use of watchtowers, electric fences, and a moat.
The Isar River
For lunch, we went to the a beer garden close to the Isar River. I wanted to eat the Bavarian Weisswuerst (white bratwurst), but they only served it in the morning. After lunch, we briefly stayed at the Isar before it was time to go.
Physics Experiment on the Way Home
While on the back, my friend put his water bottle on the table and every time the train accelerated, the bottle would move due to the inertia. Like the nerd I am, I got the idea of measuring the train’s acceleration. But to do that we also had to know the train’s speed after acceleration. We’d do this with basic vector kinematics. We measured the time it took for the train to travel 200 m, by looking at when the train passed the markers on the side of the track (at least I hope it’s 200 m). We then timed how long the train took to accelerate. Our results: the train travelled at 120 km/h and accelerated at 0.85 m/s^2. It was really nerdy of us to do that, but since we’re all mostly engineers, we found it quite hilarious.