Traveling being a major part of my life, I constantly try to absorb the vivid colors of nature as much as I can. Blue skies, green meadows, tranquil waterfalls, rapid rivers and majestic mountains are always a big yes for me. Recently, I found all of these together on my hike through Partnachklamm in Germany.
Partnachklamm also known as Partnach Gorge is located in Garmisch – Partenkirchen and is one hour away from the city of Munich by rail. This mountainous region is a part of massive Bavarian Alps and is a year round holiday destination. You can easily spend a day hiking at Partnachklamm, exploring the caves and the waterfalls or enjoying the breathtaking views of river Partnach. The scenic view spilling the shades of magical greens, blue and black is totally worth the effort and will help you escape the hustle of the busy city life.
The Partnach Gorge is a starting point for many hiking routes and costs 5 Euros as an entry charge per person. If you have a larger appetite for hiking you can chose from many more hiking trails available in different levels of difficulty to suit everyone. Although walking and hiking is probably the focus for you, renting a bike or using a romantic horse drawn carriage is also a good idea to reach the beginning of Partnach Gorge. Hiking can make you hungry and tired. To keep you going, there are several eating and resting options available on the way. However, if you like you can carry a snack and have it on the banks of the Partnach River. (Please do not litter)
On the way back definitely make a stop at the famous cliff side beer garden and toast with some new friends. Summer or winter, Gorge’s beauty is worthy of a visit. Don’t forget to carry a light jacket, a good pair of walking/hiking shoes and a bottle of drinking water.
After so many visits to Munich, finally today I was able to screw up some courage and visited this academy of violence and terror. Not far from the city, it takes less than 20 minutes from Ostbahnhof to reach Dachau.
Documented facts tell us that it all started on March 22, 1933, a few weeks after Adolf Hitler was appointed as a Chancellor of Germany, the first Nazi concentration camp for political prisoners was set up in Dachau. Located just outside Munich in southern Germany this camp received its first group of detainees which were few socialists & communists. The very first commandant for this camp was Hilmar Wäckerle an official in the “Schutzstaffel” (a Nazi paramilitary organization commonly known as the SS)
Main camp gate
Record shows that since the beginning, camp detainees were subjected to very harsh treatment. Prisoners were executed by streaming lethal gasses from showerheads and were forced to end their lives. The immense pain they suffered could be felt even now when you see the nail marks on the walls of the room where they were executed. It eventually evolved into a death camp where thousands of Jews died from malnutrition, disease and overwork or were tortured to death. In addition to Jews, the camp’s prisoners included members of other groups Hitler considered unfit for the new Germany, including artists, intellectuals, the physically and mentally handicapped and homosexuals.
The gas chamber used to murder individual prisoners & small groups using poison gas.
An old sketch by one of the prisoner showing how at midday an entire chain of destroyed individuals returned lying unconscious on wheelbarrows. they were the ones who broke down from hunger, agony & cold.
Whipping trestle with bull whip
There was no way to stop it at that time as an official order was issued stating that Dachau and all other concentration camps were not to be subjected to German law as it applied to other German citizens. SS administrators alone would run the camps and decide punishments as they find suitable.
In June 1933, Theodor Eicke replaced Wäckerle as Dachau’s second commandant. Eicke immediately released a set of regulations for the camp’s daily operation. Prisoners found guilty of rule breaking were to be brutally beaten. Those who planned to escape or support any kind of political views were to be executed on the spot. Prisoners would not be allowed to defend themselves or protest this treatment. His regulations served as a master plan for all the concentration camps in Germany.
With the beginning of World War II, some able-bodied Dachau prisoners were used as labor to manufacture weapons and other materials for Germany’s war efforts. Additionally, some Dachau prisoners were subjected to brutal medical experiments by German physicians, which included high-altitude experiments using a decompression chamber, malaria and tuberculosis experiments, hypothermia experiments, and experiments testing new medications. Hundreds of prisoners died or were permanently disabled as a result of these experiments. In the twelve years of its existence over 200.000 people from all over Europe were imprisoned here and in the various other subsidiary camps. Also, figures prove that around 45,000 were murdered.
Mosquito bites were one of the methods used to infect prisoners with malaria. for this purpose a cage holding mosquitos was attached to the body of the test subjects.
On April 29 1945, American troops liberated the survivors. Just prior to the liberation of Dachau by the forces, the SS ordered approximately 7,000 prisoners to embark on a six-day-long death march to Tegernsee, located to the south. Those unable to maintain a steady marching pace were shot by SS guards. Other marchers died from starvation or physical exhaustion. When the United States military entered Dachau, they found thousands of mostly skeleton looking, undernourished prisoners. The U.S. soldiers also discovered several dozen train cars loaded with rotting corpses. A memorial site was created on the grounds of the former Dachau concentration camp in 1965. Today, visitors can tour some of the camp’s historic buildings and access a library and special exhibitions containing materials related to Dachau’s history.
Although it was a sad place, it was definitely a good place to see. Those people had a lust for cruelty. My tour guide told me that the numbers of people who died there were inaccurate, because Jews, Gypsies and old or weak prisoners were not counted in the death toll because they were not considered people.
Baracks – living and sleeping quarters 1944
Also, the killing was done for sport. Guards could invent any excuse to shoot someone. The most sickening thing was when a guard would take a prisoner to the camp boundary and throw their hat over the border. Should the prisoner fetch, they would be shot dead. Should they not fetch, they would be beaten either until dead, or until they would crawl over the border hoping to be shot dead.
Food has always been a major part of German culture. Even the well-known German fairy tale makes reference to food, remember?Hansel and Gretel! German food is more varied than you might think. In fact Germany today has the most international range of food in Europe.
Millions of foreigners living here have brought their cuisine with them and have made important contributions to the overall culinary development. Practically you can find each and every cuisine in Germany: Asian to Mediterranean, Turkish to African, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Moroccan and Italian, to name a few.
Local cultures have a passion for their own food and flavors that cannot be found anywhere else and also which makes them different. But how interesting it would be if you get to visit a relaxing place where you could get a glimpse of two cultures merging together.
While in Munich this time, I visited Diamond’s Restrobar & Lounge. Situated centrally at Orleansplatz 3, it’s just a 2 minutes walk from the Ostbahnhof. Fortunately, there are several places in Munich where you can indulge, along with a meal, coffee, or dessert but this place was somewhere different. It was more like getting both German-Turkish cultures together. The place is big enough for a large crowd, well managed and decorated combined with different genre of world music spinned by the in house DJ Cüneyt.
Diamond Lounge is an all-day dining experience. Grab a coffee and cake in the morning, a quick bite at lunch or socialize till late in the evenings. It also brings together the warmth of Turkish hospitality and cuisine with the atmosphere of a high on life bar. Enjoy the soothing flavored vapor from a shisha as you relax with friends or grab a meal of shared dishes inspired by the cuisine of the Middle East. The restaurant has comfortable seating for up to 300 plus people and serves mostly everything ranging between breakfasts to late night snacks.
It is a delightful experience in every sense of the term, if you are looking for an unusual place to eat out alone or in a group. Advance reservation recommended as this place is mostly packed at the weekends.
Beer is one of the oldest drinks produced by humans. Historians believe that the grain was first fermented to produce beer, almost 2000 years before it was used for baking breads as a staple. Beer not only being used for celebrating events but was also used as a payment or as gifts at that time.
While I was in Bavaria’s capital city, I got an opportunity to meet Mr. Christian Vogler. The landlord of the oldest and the finest beer garden in Munich. He is an internationally known chef by profession and said to have been a master of the legacy Augustiner – Keller (in Hackerbrucke) since April 2010.
It was brought into existence in 1812 after the official order by King Max Joseph I was passed, that these gardens could be places where both beer and food could be served. Since then this award winning place has lived to the reputation of serving freshly tapped beer and other Bavarian delicacies keeping the tradition alive and following high standards of service.
This place is also very much recognized amongst the locals and the tourists for its unique atmosphere. The first thing which you might notice here is the multiple seating options starting from the terrace to the unique vaults or if you like your lager under the shade in the open air then finding that perfect seat under one of the many chestnut trees should not be a problem. These trees were planted years ago so that the shade they provide could cool the ground and prevent the beer in the ice cellar from getting warm in summers.
The beer at Augustiner is served straight out of wooden barrels and the strike of a bell marks the announcement of the opening of each new barrel.
Along with the selection of international specialties, light snacks and vegetarian dishes their beer selection is amazing as well. Majorly you can choose from Augustiner Edelstoff, Augustiner Weissbier, Augustiner Pils, Augustiner Dunkel or Augustiner Heller Bock. If you visit this place during the Oktoberfest you will also find Augustiner Oktoberfestbier and Augustiner Maximator two additional types of beer especially brewed for the festival time and cold weather.
It also fascinates me that being the smallest brewery in Munich 70% of population drinks Augustiner and all this is without any publicity as the management believes that there publicity is the quality. So if you are in Munich and looking for a casual place that works for dates, hanging out with friends or just grabbing a beer this place is to be!!