As a show of moral conviction, I was seriously thinking about a visit to the concentration camp here, to balance out my weekend of beer and excess. 15 years ago, on my first trip to Munich, my girlfriend wanted to make this trip, but I couldn’t understand why we would waste precious vacation time in a concentration camp.
I got up Saturday morning feeling clear-headed, had the continental breakfast, and headed south by foot on Goethestrasse. I was working up the stomach to go to Dachau, which I knew would be a solemn affair. It was about 8:30, and I was amazed at the volume of party-goers headed west, in the direction of the festival. Not only were they perfectly outfitted in their Bavarian garb, they looked fresh and well-rested, laughing and talking on their cell phones. I decided to follow them to the festival, and just have a look before heading up to the meeting place for the tour.
Once inside the festival, I changed my plans and got in line at a beer tent. I bought a hat, and waited in the crowd. There is no line for the tents: instead, it’s just a block of people behind a rope. The security guys lift the rope, admit a spurt of bodies, and then lower the rope. This happens on a three or four minute cadence, and the block of people shifts like a blob.
I got in after 15 minutes or so, and entered the beer hall. I estimate there were hundreds of people in there, at 9 a.m., and no seats to be had. Apparently, they let people in from multiple entrance points, and so by the time I got in, it was almost full already, at 9 a.m. I walked through, snapped some pictures, and exited the other side, resolved to go to Dachau.
On my way out, I saw another tent where people were drinking outside. It was sunny, a nice morning, and having a big beer was still appealing. So I stopped in there, had a liter, half a pretzel, and hurried up to the train station to meet the tour to Dachau.