We packed up and left our apartment around 9:30 am and via the metro headed to the main train station in Munich. Since our group train ticket that would take us into the Czech Republic was good all day, we used it to stop in Dachau, a small city outside of Munich were a large concentration camp was once located. The train station was small and didn’t have very large lockers, so Josh (he had been there 2 times before) waited with the bags while Sarah, Dustin and I walked from the train station to the concentration camp and museum.
Visiting this museum was sobering, with all the european history we’ve learned on this trip, some of which dated back to the days of Christ, it’s hard to believe that this kind of human torture was less than 100 years ago. Our grandparents were alive in the 1940’s when people were being tortured in this horrific way. The museum had a lot of information to read, we walked through the area that was once the shower stalls, then kitchen, we saw the courtyard outside that was the “roll call” area, and we saw the sleeping quarters and bathrooms.
One historical picture that stuck out to me amongst the darkness was a picture of the prisoners cheering when the American’s arrived to liberate the camp. It makes me thankful for the men and women in our country that together with our allies fought for freedom and human rights. It also amazes me the hope the prisoners had, many in our Savior, despite the grave circumstances.
The hope many of the prisoners had is described in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV), “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” and Romans 5:2-5 (ESV), “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I hope these verses can be encouragement to those dealing with trials today.
I’m not sure how to transition to the rest of our day…but here it goes. We took the bus back to the train station because it turned out to be at least a 30 minute walk. We figured out we had about 40 minutes until the train arrived we needed to take on our trek towards Prague. Before boarding we grabbed döner kebab sandwiches from a vendor. When I think of a kebab, I think of stick with meat and veggies, well apparently that’s not quite the Eastern European version. It’s really a huge Turkish sandwich with chicken, lettuce, onions, and sauce. It might have been the best thing we’ve had on this trip yet, it was super messy, so I was glad I was eating it on the train station platform vs. inside the train.
When planning this trip, I think we expected it to be a bit shorter of a ride to Prague, the direct train takes around 5 hours from Munich and so does the bus. But the bus was around 60 EUR pp, and the direct train was over 100 EUR pp. So we found on a trip-advisor forum, that we could take a train from Munich or Dachau to Plzeň, Czech Republic, then to Prague. The route for Dachau to Plzeň required a transfer in Nuremberg, Germany, and Cheb, Czech Republic and the train stopped at other places along the way, so it took around 8 hours to get to Prague from Munich, but it only cost around 50 EUR total vs. the per person prices, so we saved over 200 dollars. We passed the time on the second half of the trip paying Euchre. The first picture is Dustin on the first train sitting with all our luggage, and then the sunset view on the train in the Czech Rebpulic.
We arrived in Prague at 9:50pm, and our host from the air bnb apartment was supposed to meet us at 10pm outside the apartment, so we quickly found the metro. Unfortunately the metro ticket machines did not take credit cards and the Czech Republic is not on the EUR, so we had to get Czech crowns from an ATM. Then the machines only took coins and of course the ATM gave us bills, so then we were on a hunt to make change. Every vending machine only took coins and all the vendors in the metro were closed. The boys when out of the station just a bit and found a stand to make change. Then we were able to buy our tickets. Without phone service or wifi we really had no way to contact our host to let him know we were going to be late. That is the only major annoyance of using airbnb is that there isn’t a 24 hour front desk like a hotel, although some places had password protected lock boxes.
We arrived at our building at almost 11pm and our host wasn’t there. Sarah and Josh waited by the building while Dustin and I set out to find wifi or a phone. Skype has been a life saver twice on this trip. I had minutes left over and it allows you to call very inexpensively over wifi. If you have a smart phone and are traveling abroad without phone service, I highly recommend putting some money on your Skype account! At the second hotel we stopped at to try to buy wifi minutes, the man at the desk gave us the password for free. We were able to get in touch with our host and he was at the door in 10 minutes. It was a long day of traveling, but we saw some beautiful countryside in the process & we couldn’t have had the full European experience without a train ride for one leg of the trip!