After leaving Vienna, we drove to Munich, but before we arrived, we had a pit stop to make. You see, when you tour Europe with more than 50 music-loving college men, you get used to some strange things. One such thing is the bus’s tendency to spontaneously break into song. For example, on our way to Vienna a few days earlier, the Austrian border brought out a lengthy overture of The Sound of Music from the ranks of Clubbers. Thus, we would have been remiss if we didn’t at least stop by Salzburg during our time in Austria.
In total, we ended up spending two hours there, which gave us plenty of time to explore and eat dinner. While I didn’t make it to the town’s amazing castle (It would have cost me 8 euro, and I only had one hour—do I look like I’m made of money?), I did get a chance to check out several beautiful churches. Still, it wasn’t until we were walking back to the bus, preparing to move on to Munich, that I discovered Salzburg’s real treat:
In the middle of Salzburg is a road named Linzergasse. Gasse is German for ‘alley’, so the name translates to Linzer Alley. This might seem pretty inconsequential to you, but your last name isn’t Linczer. So for me, a member of the ever-growing Linczer clan, it was pretty darn exciting to see the family name pop up in Austria. Though we’ve picked up a ‘c’ since crossing the Atlantic, our family records confirm that these Austrian Linzer’s are indeed our kin. With this in mind, it was very cool to see the marks my ancestors made on the world, even if it was just an alley and the Linzer torte. Slowly but surely, guys. We’re taking over.
We pulled in to our Munich hotel on Thursday evening, and immediately began exploring. A few of the other rising sophomores and I stumbled into several breathtaking churches (If you haven’t noticed by now, there are incredible churches all around Europe. They must have perfected making them quite a while ago. Either that, or they’re really pumping them out quickly.), before moving on to the original Hofbrauhaus. The Hofbrauhaus was the perfect embodiment of a Germany stereotyped to comedic proportions. There was a classical Bavarian band playing. Several men were wearing Lederhosen. Almost every single person speaking German was blonde. To top it all off, they served beer in massive steins, each of which held an entire liter of liquid. Needless to say, we were thrilled. All in all, it was an extremely fun atmosphere, and made for a great way to take a break from the past few days of concerts.
The next morning, we tried to make it to as much of the city as we could. We saw the 1972 Olympiapark, the architecture of which reminded us all of a certain “center” on campus whose name rhymes with the word “reppin’”. We met up with Glee Club alum Scott Enerson, an ’03 grad. We explored the English Garden, ate sausages, and, following a concert at the beautiful Ludwigskirche, tasted some more great German beer. Did I say “some more?” I should probably clarify. We tasted a LOT more great German beer. Who can blame us? As a law-abiding citizen who unfortunately won’t turn 21 for a few more years, I knew that we only had 3 days in Munich, and only a week and a half left in Europe, so I made sure to drink my fill.
Satisfied with our concert and rejuvenated by German pubs, we made a very important trip the next morning out to the Dachau concentration camp. A reminder of a truly horrible time in German and European history, the Dachau camp was a sobering reminder of what humanity can do, and a lesson in how such terrible acts such as those done in concentration camps can be hidden for so long. As Fr. Driscoll, our Tour Chaplain, led us in Mass in a chapel just outside the gates of the memorial, I couldn’t help but think about the Christian ideals of forgiveness and mercy. How hard it must have been for survivors to forgive their tormentors later in life. Forgiveness in one’s own life seems a whole lot easier when confronted with how severe of wrongs others have had perpetrated on them. It was a very sobering trip, but as we drove away from the infamous gates reading “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work makes you free), I thought of how far humanity has come in these past 80 years. Even so, the camp serves as a reminder to always be watchful. Never again should humanity let itself commit an atrocity like the Holocaust.
After that somber trip, we travelled back into Munich, and enjoyed a relaxing Sunday afternoon with no commitments to worry us. I personally caught up on sleep, waking up just enough to walk around the city a bit more. Feeling refreshed, I prepared myself for the last three countries of our trip, knowing that, in the morning, Switzerland awaited.
John Linczer is a rising sophomore from South Bend, Indiana studying pre-med and either history or political science. He hasn’t figured that second part out just yet. He enjoys spending time with his two youngest brothers and the rest of his 9 siblings. If you’d like to contact John, you can email him at email@example.com.
This is the seventh post in a twelve part series chronicling the Glee Club’s recent tour of Europe. If you’d like to read more, check out T.J. Dean’s account of our time in Zurich!
To see more photos of Munich, head over to our Flickr Album!