In the early hours of the morning on July 10, a group of 35 very tired students embarked from Heathrow Terminal 2 on their history trip to Munich. For many of us, it was the first residential overseas trip we’d been on.
The trip began in central Munich for an educational walking tour through the city’s major sites including the impressive mechanical clock, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, Munich’s historical marketplace, the Residenz Museum (historic palace) and the German National Theatre before moving onto Munich’s churches and impressive cathedral. The tour was delivered by two excellent tour guides, who did a fantastic job keeping the attention of some very tired students who were still recovering from the early start.
The next day we went on an educational and emotionally striking experience to Dachau concentration camp. It was a sobering and important tour, delivered by a group of excellent tour guides, who truly helped to communicate information and understanding about the harrowing events that took place here.
Later in the day, after a portion of free time back in central Munich, we headed to the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds museum. This tour helped many of us with our coursework by generating possible ideas with regards to the question of Nazi popularity. Later in the evening we went to a traditional Bavarian beer hall in Munich (the Hofbräuhaus), and we were treated to a three-course meal, which not only in it’s own right was good, but by contrast to the previous night’s food at the hostel it tasted extraordinary.
On our third day we travelled far to reach the Eagle’s Nest (Hitler’s mountaintop retreat), and we were taken on a tour which showed the pure scale of this construction at the top of the rocky summit of the Kehlstein. We gazed at the impressive views around the mountain top, and looked at the vast amount of information surrounding its construction and Hitler’s plans for it. Some of us even ventured up the path to the mountain’s peak for the viewpoint.
The final day involved a visit to Munich’s Jewish Museum where we learnt about the daily life of the city’s Jewish community through the ages, until it was destroyed in the 1930s by Nazi persecution. Their story was told through artefacts and first-hand testimony from people who lived through the Nazi era and gave us an even greater sense of how ordinary people had to face huge difficulties in those days. We arrived back at Munich Airport in good time to check in, but there was one last sting in the tail for us: the queue for ‘all others’ at Passport Control was so long that we almost didn’t make our flight back to London. Our teacher, John, had to beg the airline to hold the flight so we could all get through. Despite that final hitch, we arrived back at Heathrow tired yet very happy after a trip that managed to be both memorable and educational.
Find out more about studying History at Esher Sixth Form College