Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Munchen IV

Not being one to break from tradition, I woke up late Friday morning. Maybe it was the snoring of the “brother” above me (I cannot tell you how much I wanted him to choke on his stupid puka bead necklace, or maybe swallow his “Live Strong” bracelet), I didn’t sleep very well that night. But I had things to do; it was my last full day in Munich and I had a film studio to see, and a concentration camp to visit.
Thanks to our very own JG Stephan, I heard about the Bavarian Film Studios, and made time for them on my trip. They are easy enough to reach by tram—the 25 line stops about two blocks away (the stop is named after the studios), and for that, no special fare is required. I paid 7 euros for a guided tour of the studios, and another 8 euros for two small films in an interactive theatre. The cashier told me to pass through the archway, and wait in front of the MacDonald’s. Yep, there is a MacDonald’s there. It serves only the Film Studios.
So, there I stand—it is FREEZING cold, in between the world’s favorite fast food stop and the gift shop when I notice a group of people lining up by a giant (two-story, in fact) hairy statue of King Kong. Too timid to approach the group alone, I poked my head into the gift shop to confirm where I was supposed to be. Like everywhere else I’d been in Germany, the staff (one guy with badly dyed black hair and too many facial piercings to be working at a family attraction) spoke excellent English. He was completely unable to help me but tells me the tours run every 20 mins. and my ticket is good for any. I decide to peruse the shop and its collection of movie posters, stuffed animals and clothes. I’ve never been one for souvenirs, but fell in love with a pair of Falcor slippers (not available in my size).
The tour was in German. What can I say? French, English, and Japanese tours are only available during the season. I got very little out of it other than a few photos on the set of Enemy Mine, Das Boot, and The Never-ending Story. The guide spoke English, but as I was the only anglo-phone, he hardly ever did. Also, none of the sets/attractions were heated. I spent an hour running around in the cold following a group of Germans through a theme park.
That said: I had a great time. I amused myself. And while the “amusement” part of the park did little for me, seeing the Das Boot submarine—you get to walk through it—and getting my picture with Falkor was unforgettable.
I had purchased tickets for two short films at an interactive theatre (moving seats, 3D) but I was losing time and decided to eat the 8€ and head back to town.

Dachau is a small, charming town 40 minutes by train outside of Munich. The Memorial/Museum closes at 5:30 p.m. or so I thought. In reality, the park/ garden/ work camp-turned-museum closes at 4:30 p.m. and they start to kick people out at 4 p.m. I arrived at 4:15! Merde.
I ran through the museum. Not impressed. Much like the Nazi rally grounds in Nurenburg, the museum consisted of few artifacts, and several pictures with captions that repeated themselves over and over again. I feel completely let down by these WWII exhibits, and am conflicted about what I would want to see—if I would actually want to see some of the things I was expecting to be there?
Anyway, didn’t have time to see the slightest at Dachau before being kicked out. There was, however, plenty of time while waiting for the bus in the freezing—FREEZING—cold and I started talking with two Americans girls on touring the continent on their Christmas break. Their vacation was a mad dash of monuments and bars. They were actually drinking on the bus and train back to Munich. These two girls, whose priorities and lifestyles were so different from mine—were unabashedly proud of their nationality and collection of shot glasses. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I was meeting two Americans proud to be so. I am tired of meeting fellow countrymen falling over themselves to apologize for being American, for our foreign policy, and for the behavior of other Americans to people they don’t know nor will ever see again. No, my meeting with these two girls was quite refreshing.
Went to another movie at Cinema, and crashed hard after a long day.


Blogger Serena said...

Surely i must qualify for some sort of record: I am still blogging about my christmas vacation in june!
I still have to tell all of you about croatia, my trip back to munich, my 4-day trip home to the states, and now that summer has begun, all of my little day trips around Normandy. Whew! I am not working as much, and have internet in the building where I am living for the next couple of weeks. Here's hoping I can get some blogging done.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Its nice to hear some people are still proud to be American. We are the only group on the planet who apologizes for where we are from, and I personally get very, very tired of it, too.

(I love Falcor!)

4:11 PM  
Blogger European said...

I saw the film studios during the "season" and stood in line forever. But I was only 11 and got to ride Falcor. Wheeee!
As far as Neuschwanstein goes, I wasn't terribly impressed with it either. The walk up the hill was good though, because we'd been visiting Hohenschwangau before and were basically frozen solid. The walk got the blood flowing back to our extremities.

PS: I don't think that Americans are the only group to apologize for who they are/where they are from.

4:55 AM  

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