After the first week of studies in Bregenz, Austria, a group of about 15 students and I decided to explore Munich and Berlin. My very first piece of advice is to travel with smaller groups. We had an amazing experience but quickly realized it is easier to travel in groups of 4 or 5.
First, we took a train to Munich. I have a Eurail pass which makes taking trains very simple. We arrived in Munich around 12pm and wanted to explore the city. Our journey started on the outside of the city. We took a bus to Dachau, the first concentration camp during WWII. This was an experience I would not have wanted to miss, and something that is hard to put into words. It was a very emotional few hours. We learn about concentration camps in school. We see pictures and old blurry videos, but nothing can prepare you for what you feel when you enter. It was so horrible to think that so many people had suffered where I was standing at that moment.
Once concluding our experience at Dachau, we traveled back to the main part of the city in Munich. I saw a beautiful glockenspiel and climbed almost 400 steps to the top of St. Peters Church. I enjoyed this view because it allowed us to see a good portion of the city that we would not otherwise see due to time. I wish I had more time to explore Munich because there was so much more to see. After finding some dinner and walking through an amazing park, we boarded a night train to Berlin.
I really enjoyed the night train. I think this is very efficient and makes it easier to see more sights during the day. We arrived in Berlin at 8am on Saturday morning. There were many cool museums and churches that we saw but the main event of the day was the UEFA Championship match. It was amazing to watch the biggest game in Europe in the city where it was being held. The match was between Barcelona and Juventus. Everyone in the city was wearing soccer jerseys and chanting and cheering throughout the streets. We made our way to a giant festival for the match. It was incredible to see all of the energy in the people and how many cultures had come together to watch. There were many Americans present but the majority were Italian, Spanish, or German. Barcelona won the match 3-1!
The next morning we took a train back to Bregenz to start our second week of classes!