After a good night's rest--complete with church bells to wake us in the morning--and a good breakfast, we took 90 minutes to explore Bamberg. This is a really neat city, and we'd come back to spend a couple of days on another trip. There are two churches (of many) in Bamberg that date to about 1020, and the city has that old feel to it. We wandered the streets, and did a little shopping, but mostly just looked at things. The fruit and vegetable stalls on the pedestrian walk were beautiful. Unfortunately, we still had a 3 to 4 hour drive to Munich, and needed to check out of our hotel by 1100.
Getting away from the hotel proved much simpler than getting to it had been. We just followed signs for "Fern Verkehr" (distant traffic) and then found Autobahn signs.
The drive south to Munich was very pretty. This is a part of Germany that is a pleasure to experience. During the Cold War, the US had so many troops stationed along the border with East Germany, so a lot of soldiers had a nice place to live when they were not exercising in the field. A car note: we have been buying diesel in villages up until this point, and a good price is about 1.22 Euros per liter. We made a bio break stop on the Autobahn, and I refueled, but at 1.57 Euros per liter--the cost of the convenience on the Autobahn.
We decided enroute to see the Dachau Memorial since we were already in the north part of Munich. With some adjustments by Linda, we used the GPS in the car to find our way to the memorial parking lot (under construction). Since it was about 1430, we hit pause to stop for some Konditorei pastry and coffee. We all had something slightly different, and got tastes from each plate. This is something we'll probably do during the entire trip. Linda has this on her bucket list, and it is the only place I've ever seen her use cream (real cream) and sugar in her coffee. Marilyn has been able to find her Diet Coke each stop, while the rest of us enjoy the good German coffee.
We got to the Dachau Memorial about 1530, and I had said it would probably take about 45-60 minutes to tour. That was based on my experience from the early 1980s. Wow! Has this display changed. The entry point was the first big change. You now walk through a nice stand of trees to the visitor's center. There is no admission, but you can pick up an electronic guide--so long as you are there much earlier. They told us with only about one hour to tour, they do not pass out guides because it takes about 3 to 4 hours to tour the memorial. This is a major change. Outside on the grounds, they now have so many signs and photos explaining what happened at that point, and then inside the large building that was used for processing prisoners, there is a major display that is very extensive.
Unfortunately, the sculpture outside is being renovated, so we have not photos of it. Beyond that point, we passed by the foundations of the prisoner barracks (the buildings are long gone by now), but did get to tour the single barracks building that has been kept as a model. We completed our walk to the back corner of the compound to witness the crematoria. If you don't know anything about Dachau, I encourage you to read about it online rather than for me to try to explain it. It is a sobering place. I commend the German people and the government for progressing to the point post-WW II that this is now open and available in detail for people to see. It is not who the Germans are today, but it is a part of German history.
It was now after 1700 and we wanted to get to our hotel to get settled for the next four nights. We were looking for the Hotel Obermaier in the Truderinger part of east Munich, and trusted the GPS to get us there. Our GPS must have a sense of humor because it took us way downtown, and we knew by the high-end shops along the streets that this was not our spot. Linda re-entered the hotel name, and we found our way "home". The Hotel Obermaier turns out to be a fairly large complex in this district--more hotel than we expected--and is just completing a major new addition. We are in the older section, which is very nice with lots of wood used in the Bavarian style. The rooms are on the small side, but comfortable. After the senior Maier father--about 80--helped us with our luggage, we headed to their on-site Bavarian restaurant for dinner and some conversation. Good food--good beer, for me anyway.
After dinner when we were back in our rooms, M&M made a visit to us to strategize about tomorrow and what to see. Marilyn really wanted to see the Eagle's Nest above Berchtesgaden. We looked at the forecast weather, and tomorrow (Thursday) was the only day not showing afternoon thunderstorms. So we decided to drive 2 hours to Berchtesgaden and attempt to see the Kehlstein/Eagle's Nest while the weather offered some hope. If all goes well, we will then drive to Innsbruck, Austria to see the big Swarovski Kristall Weltin (roughly, crystal worlds). To make this happen, we decided to meet for breakfast at 0700 and get on the road as quickly as possible. Finally, it was bed time.