As I have never been to Europe, I come with a very open mind. I even refrained from googling the facts and images of the cities in order to keep a blank slate. I have watched many an episode of House Hunters International on HGTV, but aside from this television addiction, I have no information to bias my observations.
With this established, I must start by reflecting upon my view on Munich, Germany after experiencing it. First of all, my first impression was that it felt a lot like Chicago. Munich is one of the biggest cities in Germany, and it is apparent. It also feels very “Americanized.” Moreover, the amount of people weaving through the streets is almost indescribable. Staying to the right of the street clearly does not exist in Munich, and as a small town girl, this gave me much anxiety. The streets were beautiful, but I felt like they were hidden by the mass amount of people.
Nonetheless, there is clear upheld traditional parts of the city. The most obvious and the most extravagant, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, is a beautiful centerpiece to the city. It truly brings “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” to life! J Which leads me to the fascinating fun fact that there is a Purity Law for beer in Germany, requiring only four ingredients. This makes the beer very smooth and enjoyable, the citizens seem to drink it with every meal, including breakfast! I also enjoyed a few chapters of Pride and Prejudice in a beautiful garden. Lastly, I felt very moved in the presence of the two huge lions where Hitler once gave speeches in Munich. The buildings impressive stature clearly enhanced his message.
Specifically, I want to mention my favorite event in Munich. Call me a law school nerd, but the meeting with the Appellate judge in the Palace of Justice was by far my happiest moment. We were able to be in the actual courtroom Sophie Scholl, the judge was an invaluable source information about Munich’s prosecution process. Although I love the United States and its adversarial system, I could not help but truly appreciate the desire for true justice this judge described. Prosecutors are not judged by the amount of guilty verdicts they obtain. Quite the contrary, it seems that the two sides work together to present the true, fair story, instead of the game-like process, full of evidentiary rules, that we use in the United States. Although both systems have their positives and negatives, I appreciated greatly to hear about this process from such a distinct figure.
Lastly, when leaving Munich, we travelled to Dachau, the memorial of the largest concentration camp during the Holocaust. I am attaching some pictures as seeing the site is what evokes the most emotion. It was at this point in the trip that I realized I chose the right destination for my Spring Break. The educational value of seeing this memorial is impossible to put into words. I feel as though I have learned nothing more thoroughly than what I have learned so far on this trip.