Another side of Dachau and Olympics Old and New

Seriously, we love the fact Dachau grips onto its traditions. Nippers and the aged alike wore this kit.

Dave the motorhome is parked in the shadow of the 1972 Munich Olympics stadium (N48.17035 E11.53923). It’s an official motorhome parking spot (no services) and comes in at €15 a night.

Last night we followed the flow of lederhosen and dirndl. Around the corner from our impossible-to-park-in motorhome parking spot in Dachau, a full on festival was in swing – the Volksfest. Even before we’d arrived, Ju had gained a rose, a young chap bestowing it upon her as we walked around a corner. That set the scene, it was a friendly, family affair. Rides flew. Lasses in the dirdnl squealed as they spun and were soaked by jets of water. The bloke running the ride genuinely, unsurprisingly, seemed to be loving it as he sang out an uncomprehensible commentary. More than can be said for the Donkey Derby woman, a stone-cold lass she was.

The huge beer halls in Bavarian festivals amaze me. Here for a week, they must take easily that long to be built up and to take down. Depending on your propensity for festivity, there was a range of halls on offer, from ‘a quiet half after work’ to ‘ten Maß, some table top prancing and a stagger home’. A Maß, unbeknown to me, being the Bavarian for a litre glass. The bloke running the swinging boats showed off by spinning the thing over the bar numerous times; I tried once at the Oktoberfest, no dice, maybe those 3 Maß I had first didn’t help?

The name Dachua meant one thing to me: concentration camp. Not any more. The festivities swung, and the town, at least half of whom wore traditional dress, swung with them. But for a few surly-looking bouncers, the place was a picture of hospitality, fun, families, and more fun. We wondered how it must be to live in a town whose name is associated with evil, not easy we guess.

Despite being within meters of a train track we slept like King and Queen last night, heading to a Fiat dealer Helge had found to us this morning. They tracked down the part we need for the speedo; the usual mix of our bad German and their good English coming to the fore. There’s a holiday here on Wednesday so we either need to collect it tomorrow (Dachau is only 20 mins from here) or on Thurs as we head north.

The drive here resulted in a mild panic as we entered the Umweltzone. Ah, oops. A number of German cities have chosen to protect the air quality on their centres by restricting access to vehicles with poor emissions; Dave practically spews out coal and isn’t allow in, on pain of, erm, we don’t know. Twisting about a bit, nipping across a few lanes here and there, we got back out again and parked up under the stretched rubber-metal of the Munich Olympic stadium.

The London 2012 Olympics ended last night. We missed it all, but we got an impression from afar of a resounding, warming success. Sat here the feeling is amplified. This stadium, as old as we are, represents the games to us, and appears strung up by Hercules himself. In the second week of the 1972 games, some unspeakable individuals kidnapped Israeli athletes, kicking off events which resulted in the deaths of all the Israelis and most of the kidnappers, the Munich Massacre. The remaining 3 kidnappers were released when a German airline was hijacked, prompting the Israelis to launch clandestine operations to find them and kill they. They foud two, the other is thought to be hiding in Africa, somewhere, with his family.

Walking the Olympic park, it feel alive. Grassy areas are split apart with pathways, cyclists and walkers abound. We sat and watched a band playing in an arena, for free, as people around drank a few beers. The backdrop of the stadium remains spectacular, the ramp of green seats making it look as though it’s a natural affair, with the metal roof stretched over it as an afterthought. The ticket offices, however, are purely 1970s. A hill in the Olympic park looks out over the city, even in the waning light the distant Alps are just visible. Low-rise is order of the day in Munich.

€10-odd got us both all-day tickets on the public transport network and we hit the city, Charlie in tow. Helge had given us a walking tour which proved perfect. The churches, town hall and food market all happily wandered. With a couple of Maß of wheat beer in me, I must confess my favourite place was the beer garden in the English Garden. Bavaria does the liquid to perfection, not just the taste, but the ambience. Sat among families, groups of young med, elderly folks and an eclectic mix of locals and foreigners, the beer and whacking great hunk of meat known as the Schweinshaxe had me in fits of fantasy. “Time to move to Munich” I declared after my 4th pint of beer, Ju ushered me onto the bus out of there.

Cheers, Jay


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