July 18, 2013
Distance: 26.8 miles Climbing: 2696.9 ft
We woke up and used the kitchen at the campground to make a huge breakfast including some of the leftovers from our biergarten feast the day before. Sauerkraut actually goes pretty well with fried eggs and potatoes! After enjoying ourselves thoroughly in Munich we were ready to head to the country, so we made a plan to roughly head west towards Stuttgart. We dallied a little on the way out of town, stopping for a while at a grocery store stocking up on some ingredients for dinner.
We had done some research in the library of the campground and realized that we were quite near Dachau. We made a little detour to the north in order to visit the notorious prison camp located near the city.
As expected, it was a somber experience. The main gate building was intact as were several of the guard towers which dominated the grounds. All of the camp structures where the prisoners lived were razed after the war, but the foundations were left intact in two long columns. At one end of the yard was the former maintenance building which now houses a museum which provided an overview of the concentration/death camp system and specifically what life was like at Dachau. Specific emphasis was placed on the way that camp life degraded from relatively clean and humane conditions before the war, worsening when war was declared to the disgusting environment that existed as the Allies closed on Germany and ultimately liberated the camp in 1945.
The other end of the yard was dominated by memorials erected for those who were imprisoned and murdered at the camp, each representing a specific religion.
A road led across a small canal and through the main fence, which bounded the west side of the yard. In a small wooded area along the road, two innocuous-looking buildings were the most disturbing parts of the whole complex. In these buildings, thousands of innocent people were murdered and disposed of. Walking though the holding rooms, the “showers” and the oven rooms carried a similar weight that we felt when we visited the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh. What was most striking, to me at least, was how “normal” everything looked. My mind’s eye had pictured a grotesque killing factory equal in appearance to the nature of the acts committed there, but instead they were just small, simple buildings. Their disarming appearance made them seem even more sinister.
When done at the camp, we reset our course to the west and headed towards a campground marked on the GPS. The riding was fine, but not extraordinary. We passed through lots of fields of barley. When we got to the campground it turned out to be a parking lot for RV’s with not a blade of grass in sight. It was probably the most depressing campsite ever, wedged up against the autobahn to boot! We made a quick reverse and ducked into some woods we had seen shortly before. The area seemed to be logged periodically, so there were some old roads crisscrossing that we followed until we found a nice spot in some tall straight conifers.
We pulled out the ingredients for a new camp stove creation: Eggplant Parmesan! It actually worked pretty well. Jenny breaded while I fried the eggplant, we made up a garlicy tomato sauce, then put it all together with a bunch of mozzarella and parmesan. A perfect meal for hungry cycle tourists.
Thanks for sharing the photos of the camps. Honestly, not what I expected either.
It was nice to finally know what I had read and learned about for so long.