Because the cheapest flight can sometimes mean the most roundabout journey, Tommy and I got to see Dusseldorf, a city we probably never would’ve thought to visit otherwise. We spent a couple days visiting museums and fighting off the germs that had latched on during our flights. Then a day trip to Cologne, and next it was off to Munich for Oktoberfest! … where our hunt for a reasonably-priced hotel led us to the nearby town of Dachau. Our week in Germany was full of history, food, art, cars, and of course – beer!
In Dusseldorf, we took advantage of their tourism card, which granted free public transportation and free or discounted museum passes. It was nice not to worry about figuring out tickets for every random subway, bus, and tram we took, and it encouraged us to visit some places we might otherwise have skipped. The weird thing was that no one ever checked our tickets on any of the public transport we took! They seemed pretty trusting. 👀 🤷
Anyways, first up was Carlsplatz Market! It was fun to check out the produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, and restaurants. Tommy had a steak sandwich, of which he immensely approved. He’s started to wonder if he likes German food so much because of his heritage, but I’m pretty sure all carnivores like German food. 😉
Next, we visited the Kunstmuseum, a medium-sized international art museum. It had some interesting pieces, but our standards for art museums are pretty high at this point so it wasn’t anything super thrilling. Our favorites were the modern/contemporary sections and the museum’s huge stained class. There was one piece made up of a bunch of early-2000s TVs mounted on the ceiling playing technicolored animations and videos of fish in some sort of pattern. I loved that the museum had a bench for visitors to lay on while watching it!
We also took advantage of the free admission to Kunst im Tunnel (Art in the Tunnel), a small underground contemporary art museum. It had a pretty, uhh, unique exhibit when we were there, but the museum itself has a nice layout.
Walking to these museums took us along the Rhein River, which was pretty despite the cloudy day! We walked to MedienHafen (the commercial area) to check out the architecture. There were a couple cool buildings, but we weren’t really sure if we were missing some nearby. Tommy was surprised to find out we had walked all the way over there and weren’t actually planning on going in any of the buildings… oops, communication!
Probably our favorite part of Dusseldorf was the Classic Remise, a service center and dealership for classic and collector cars. There were some ***expensive*** cars in there, both old and new!
On our last day in Dusseldorf, I convinced Tommy to take a day trip to Cologne to see the cathedral. It was completely gorgeous!
The inside was difficult to take photos of because it was so dark, but that just lent to the reverent air. We were able to do part of a guided tour before our train left, which was pretty interesting. We learned that many of the stained-glass windows were moved to bomb shelters during the war, and that while many of the windows are hundreds of years old, there is actually one that was added in 2007! I liked the Gerhard Richter window, but Tommy wasn’t so sure it fit in.
The whole church was so intricate! There were so many details everywhere, I can’t imagine the time it must have taken to build it. Definitely one of my favorite buildings to date. Gotta love Gothic architecture!
Next up was Munich, but technically Dachau since that’s where we were staying. Tommy’s dad Mike was in town for work, so we were lucky enough to spend a few days with him. The first day we visited Mike’s friend’s video game home-museum (sorry, I didn’t take photos – very cool though!) and the Dachau Concentration Camp. I had been to the camp before in 2013, but hadn’t spent a lot of time in the museum. It was really interesting to go through that section more slowly and learn about the history leading up to the camp. The camp itself is really chilling, especially the gas chambers (in this camp, only used on a small number of people) and the crematorium. Just the sheer size of the entire compound is really sobering as well. It really reminds you to keep an eye on politics and the actions of countries around the world – it definitely made me more concerned about how Uighur “re-education” camps in China could progress. It was really tragic to see how something so terrible could happen without the knowledge of many and with the consent of those who knew about it.
We spent our remaining 2 days in Germany exploring Munich itself. We arrived at Oktoberfest around 11 AM on Monday, which meant we were able to briefly stop in several of the “tents” before picking one to settle in. Later in the day, many of the tents fill up and you have to wait in line to get in, so it was nice to be there early enough to see the interiors. Each one has a different theme, but similar style. We were pretty surprised by the structure of the so-called “tents” – they are actually big wooden buildings (holding 2,900 to 10,000 people, depending on the tent) that are constructed and taken down every year!
We hung out in the Spatenbrau tent, which is known for their rotisserie cow (yes, you read that right). They even have a sign with the cow’s name and home! Tommy said the sandwich was delicious. 😊 We stayed there until about 5 PM, enjoying a couple maß of beer and the music of the band. Oktoberfest was actually much tamer than I expected, probably because we were there during the day on a weekday – but there were definitely still a pretty impressive amount of people there! We had a great time chatting, eating, and people-watching from our table. We also took a quick stroll through the grounds to check out the amusement park rides and food stands. The rollercoasters looked like a recipe for late-night mistakes – yikes!
After Oktoberfest, we went to Marienplatz Square and checked out the view from the Rathaus tower. We missed the Glockenspiel show, but the building itself is still impressive! We had a delicious dinner at the nearby Hofbrauhaus, a 3-floor, 16th century beer hall.
On our final day in Munich, Tommy and I checked out the BMW Museum. It’s pretty cool architecturally, and they have some interesting car displays. I’m sure Tommy or our BMW-owning friend Cam would know more of what to say about it, but that’s about all I’ve got on the subject!
That night we went to the the Viktualienmarkt. The flowers were so pretty! I ate schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle) – delicious! Definitely a must try for anyone in Germany. The market also had Oktoberfest-size beers at a cheaper price. 😊 We had a relaxing evening eating and people-watching.
That concludes our week in Germany! Up next was Paris – prepare for lots of art. 😉 After that post we’ll finally be caught up on our September travels and can start talking about Romania and VIPKID! Lots of love to everyone back home and happy belated Halloween! 🧛 💕