The first couple days of the 2013 Eurotrip was a rollercoaster trip from the sweet highs of Salzburg and the Hohensalzburg Castle to the humbling lows of the Dachau Concentration Camp.
On arrival to Munich after what felt like a day’s worth of travel, tired bodies straggled through the Eurorail with optimistic glow and lots of luggage. 2 adjoining twin beds created a better connectivity than the hotel WiFi. Yet, following a quick check-in, walking through Mariensplatz in the city center was just the start of a journey through one unforgettable experience in Munich. …
A good early breakfast day and a 2-hour Autobahn glide opened our eyes to Bavarian paradise. Now in Austria only on our second day, Mozart’s birthplace, Furst’s chocolate innovation, beautiful gardens, and almost a century old large fortress were just some of the things we saw in the town of Salzburg.
The charm of the old town unfortunately can never be transcribed; one genuinely has to be there to experience it. We had the opportunity to explore independently, some tried out the local beer and food, while others shopped or continued to soak in as much of the sights and culture one could in 4 hours. The most popular souvenir was Furst’s Mozartkugeln chocolate ball, the first and original pistachio and nougat match in a dark chocolate heaven.
Deeper into Austria, our next stop was Schloss Eggenberg, a castle with centuries of specialty brews that easily captured the essence of the Austrian countryside in each sip. Following an in-depth walk through the brewing, fermenting and maturing process at the microbrewery, we were invited to generous tastings, including the once a year brewed and blessed specialty – Samiclaus. Our host Karl Stohr, an eighth generation family member, showed his true love and passion for Eggenberger beer, and it didn’t take long to fall in love with this well crafter beer too. While most celebrated blissfully with what we brought back from the brewery, and while others dared to enjoy a weekend like celebration into the wee hours of the morning with locals as the next day was a national holiday, no one realized how sobering the experience at Dachau was going to be.
Dachau, the first Third Reich concentration camp, built only six weeks after Hitler’s rise to Chancellor, brought to light some of the worst travesties to humankind ever committed. While most of the pain was felt through reconstructed barracks rooms, roll call square and the crematorium tour with a patient and detailed tour guide, the visuals of the video that followed brought chills down our spines and we somberly shuffled back by transit to our hotel where we all benefited from a few hours solitary contemplation in our rooms.
That evening a half hour celebration in Marienplatz square with German infused reggae music and local Heller beer was followed by a dinner and liter steins of Weissbier at the famous Hofbrauhaus. Stronger bonds were formed within our group that night and we all had a true appreciation of the sights and sounds o f Bavaria and Austria thus far.
Human Ingenuity was at full display at BMW world the next day. A modern architectural wonder, this place included sections for electric concept cars, driving simulators, and BMWgroup brands – Mini and Rolls Royce.
Customers have private appointments to inspect their new rides inside out and drive them right out of this facility. A private 2 hour plant tour walked us through the 40 hour 4 stage process of steel pressing, body modularization and framing, painting and final assembly. High levels of automation and optimization were on display during this tour as we observed the live production process.
Liter steins of Augustiner brewery 8 century old beer in an underground chamber completed the night for most with smiles from ear to ear. Some others continued to Au Room (Gold Room) a small private bar with Michael Mueller (Munich local and owner of Soul Goods) to try some award winning exquisite cocktails to cap off the night in style!
The sound of the alarm woke up some groggy minds Friday morning and a brisk walk to TUM University in the fresh cool morning air after breakfast brought us to a cozy seminar room where Peter instructed us on Corporate Governance in Europe and Emotional Goals in family firms. A cafeteria lunch followed by rooftop coffees and cappuccino with breathtaking views of the city was truly memorable. Michael Mueller of Soul Goods then gave us a talk about Starting a venture in Germany through his experience creating and growing his specialty t-shirt and apparel store. The highlight was his final advice of creativity, adaptability and innovation through Pavol’s experiment on Classic Conditioning and participative engaged leadership through the story of baboons and sweet potatoes. Thanks Michael, for our wonderful high quality custom ‘European Study Tour 2013’ t-shirts!
Dinner at Park Cafe gave us one last opportunity to enjoy Bavarian cuisine in Munich, the favorite being ‘The Original Weinerschnitzel’. Goodnight Munich, thankyou for the memories, now off to Neuschwanstein and Strasbourg.