Sunday, July 31, 2011


Dechau was just north of Munich, about an hour's drive from Edelweiss.  Our visit there was very sad and solemn.  And we happened to be there on a very cold and rainy day--which mirrored every emotion that we felt.  Our tour lasted about three hours, and the majority of the tour took place outside.  Because it was so cold, our tour guide continually tried to rush through our outside segments, so that we could return inside and be more comfortable.  While we appreciated her consideration, the situation made the thought of all of those prisoners, being practically naked and out in the cold during the winter-months, even more heart-breaking. 

These building were administrative buildings; they contained the offices of the Nazi officers, as well as the rooms where the prisoners were recorded, received a number and traded their clothing and personal belongings for a prison uniform.
Below are replicas of the barracks.  Originally, there were 30 rows of barracks behind these two. 

The wood beams outline the spots where the original foundations were laid.

This is the desk where the prisoners initially checked in.  

This is our outstanding tour-guide, sharing with us how the numerous camps came into existence.  We were amazed at the vast number of prisoners recorded on the map.

A little while later, we walked to the crematorium.

These openings are where they inserted the gas into the showers.

And this is the other side of the openings.

This picture makes me think of this book. 

The memorial contains numerous pieces of artwork, created in memory of the countless prisoners. 

This memorial represents the numerous people that were held in the concentration camps.  The triangles represent the badges that were used to label them.

Visiting Dechau prompted us to watch Band of Brothers, which we are currently viewing via Netflixs.

Engraved in the main-gate is the phrase Arbeit Macht Frei, which translated means work sets you free.

So sad.  We learned so much,  but we left with heavy hearts.

Touring the Town

We were scheduled to take a tour of Munich on Tuesday, but it was canceled due to inclement weather.  We were excited to have some down time, and decided to spend the day exploring Garmisch-Parkenstein...on a tandem bicycle. 

Around lunchtime, we rode right into a rain-storm.  Luckily, we found a shelter...and a seafood buffet.

The calm after the storm.

We found this just outside of the Artillery Training Center...

We decided to stop at this German restaurant for dinner.  Our experience was complete with music and German folk-dancing. 

The German fare really was delicious--but it was oh-so-heavy.  

Isn't he sweet???  He worked hard to keep us entertained.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dinner in Garmisch Parkenstein

Our evening in Garmisch P was full of delicious food, breath-taking scenery, and relaxation; which was just exactly what the doctor ordered after our adventures in Paris.

We dinned, al fresco, on the second level of this building. 

We'd heard that the Italian food in Germany is awesome.  We weren't disappointed. 

And this was the view from our table...

Life was good, and we felt very blessed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

en route to Edelweiss

We traveled to Munich via Stuttgart.  When we arrived in Stuttgart, we had eight minutes to find, and board, our connecting train.  We were a bit nervous--fully aware that the only help we were guaranteed to receive would be harshly delivered in German...

But we found our train with two minutes to spare.  We spent one and a half of those minutes walking down the side of the train, looking for our assigned car.

Still walking, I told Jamie that I thought it was time for us to get onto the car.

"But this isn't our car...we're supposed to get on way down there..."

"We have to get on," I said--jumping on and then begging him to follow me.  Like clockwork,  I had just witnessed all of the last-minute-boarders mount the train simultaneously: a businessman putting out his cigarette after taking one last smoke, multiple couples hugging and kissing until the very last second, and a frazzled woman running to the train and climbing aboard.

And three seconds after the two of us had both feet on the train, we were off.  And we continued to walk down the moving train until we found our seats... 

Thought:  Isn't it crazy that they don't check for tickets before you board the train???

When we arrived in Munich, we picked up our rental car.

And then, we used our previously printed out Google Maps to try to find our way out of the city.  FYI:  Map Quest and Google Maps, while a great help in the US, didn't really save the day in Munich.  The street signs were hard to find, and many streets weren't labeled...and we failed to mentally plan for the challenge of calculating distance in kilometers versus miles.  Throw all of that into a mixing bowl with the itty-bitty roads, a stick-shift car, and wild-n-crazy drivers who love honking their horns, and this is what you get...

Actually, I took this picture of myself, as my husband--who with his amazing ability to navigate through city traffic (while depending on me, my iPhone, and the sun, for cardinal directions) somehow found the Autobahn--was cruising along at approximately 180 kilometers per hour.

And yes, people were still passing us.  (I know that's hard to believe since every picture I happened to take is of our car in the left-hand-lane...but I give you my word.) 

Yes, it was scary.  

I'm so glad that I have these pictures, so that now I can revel in the beautiful scenery.  At the time, my only thought was on the door...which was shaking so much that I was convinced it was going to fly right off of our Chevy Cruise.   

Yes, Jamie was bitter that his long-anticipated drive on the Autobahn was in a Chevy Cruise. 

He said, "Well, I guess next time I'll just have to make sure that we rent a Porsche or an Audi."

I said, "Where are you and what have you done with my know--the one from Brussels and Paris...the one with the 'I-hate-to-travel attitude'?!?"

I like to harp on Jamie's 12 minutes of bad-attitude.  It makes me feel better about myself. 

But forget all of that.  Isn't this just breath-taking???

This is Edelweiss

When Jamie (and I) made the decision to stay in the military, we made a pact to always strive to focus on the countless good things that accompany military life.  So whenever deployment time rolls around again, I'll be looking at these pictures at least once every five minutes... 

Here are some pictures of the inside of our American-sized room. 

And Jamie said, "Yes!!!  We're not in Europe anymore..."

And after a few minutes of relishing our surroundings, we were off to explore the little town of Garmisch-Parkenstein.