November

I have to be honest with you guys. This time, I don’t have any incredible story of an amazing adventure to tell you about. I have, of course, done other things than just attended my lessons over here. I’ll try to write about some of the things that I’ve been doing here since the last post. I’m also running out of space in my blog, so from here on (and also in the previous post), I’ll be posting the photos only as links to the photo server, since the pictures are mainly responsible for the used up space.

Dad’s visit

My dad was here to visit me for last weekend, and we managed to pull off a very nice and thorough sight-seeing schedule of Munich’s most famous sites.

The main event of Friday was a factory tour at the BMW factory in Munich, in which I had reserved places for us the previous day. The tour started at the BMW-World, right next to the head office of BMW (Bayerische Motor Werk), from where we crossed the street to the big factory. BMW had initially built its factory on the outskirts of the city, in order to be close to the working folk but still far enough for the traffic not to affect its own material transportation (more than a thousand trucks a day!). Now however, the city had grown to and past the factory, which must impose some logistical problems for them. One of these problems was of course space. Since they couldn’t exactly demolish the surrounding city when demand rose, they’d expanded the factory upwards, with the production lines lying in many stories.

The factory is really a working manufacturing plant, that manufactures, from scratch, 100% of a couple of models of BMW. Since I’d already been in a guided tour in a big car factory (VW in Wolfsburg), I was already kind of used to the big robots used for various building tasks, of one which was the welding of body parts together. My dad though, who hadn’t seen these industrial robots that much before, was at-least-to-say excited about them ūüėõ Combined with the fact that Terminator is one of his favorite movies, you can imagine how excited he was to be walking in the middle of the limb-ripping machines that hadn’t yet decided to start an up-rise against mankind. After the very good tour (if you want to go there, remember to book it at least one day in advance!) we went to my normal neighborhood bar/restaurant for a good dinner.

On the next day, Saturday, we went to visit the concentration camp of Dachau, which is right here in Munich. Although I had heard a fair deal of what all happened in the concentration and extermination camps, it was quite different to actually visit the site and see the places for yourself. At the memorial site, we attended a really good guided tour, that was organized by the museum. For me, the best part of the visit to Dachau was listening to our tour guide who, in addition to being a native German, was a retired history teacher. Since our guide had lived a fair part of his life right after WW2, and his parents had actively taken part in WW2, he could tell us about things that you probably don’t find in too many books: what people were thinking then, how they relate to the issues now and how it all could really have happened. I also learned a fair bit about Germany in the beginning of WW2, how things really started and especially the role of Dachau as a concentration camp in Germany.

Dachau was the first concentration camp (not an extermination camp!) in Germany. A work camp. Especially in the beginning, only political prisoners were sent there. Later of course, also normal Germans were sent there when the racial profiling had gotten up to scale. The camp served two purposes: firstly, it acted as a starting point for the ‘career’ of the prisoners. Once you were deemed as a sub-human (for political, racial or made-up reasons), you were always first sent to Dachau. From there, your fate was decided and you were either sent away to a different concentration- or extermination camp, or you stayed there to work. The second purpose of the camp was indeed a work camp, with hundreds of sub-camps located in the greater Munch area, where the prisoners were forced to work in not-so-nice conditions. You could also buy the labor of the prisoners for a very cheap price, which lead to many local industries buying the slave-labor of the prisoners, one of which was BMW. Of course you all know, that many died in these concentration camps, including Dachau. Though not actively mass-murdered, the prisoners died of massive amounts due to diseases, working conditions, hunger and bad living conditions. About 200 each day at Dachau.

After freezing our butts off in the windy camp, we took the S-bahn back to the city center and went to Hofbr√§uhaus to eat. Though being the ‘number one restaurant to visit in Munich’, the amount of tourists was bearable and we easily got a table right away. The atmosphere was totally great and mirrored, to my surprise, quite well that of the Oktoberfest. With he traditional German music echoing through the dome-shaped ceiling, coupled to our Wiesn-hendls and kartoffel salat (oktoberfest chicken and potato salad), we really enjoyed our meals at the Hofbr√§uhaus.

On Sunday, educated from my last attempt (with my friend), we left for the Deutsches Museum (THE technological museum of Germany) fairly early in the morning. This time, the ticket lines were not 40 minutes, and we also got into the museum :). We’d reserved the whole day to take in all the interesting things they had on display. Dad was intrigued by the large IT-display, and I also found my field of interest, microelectronics and nanofabrication, well present in the museum. All-in-all, I can warmly recommend the museum to everyone!

Hiking in the mountains – Kramerspitze

Yesterday I went to the mountains again, this time to Kramerspize, right next to the Wank and Zugspitze in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We’d asked beforehand from the DAV (the mountain information organization in Germany) about our route, if it will be safe for us and what equipment we’ll need for the trip. Since part of our path on the ridge of the mountain was on the shadow side, the snow that had fallen there two weeks ago was still presumably there, making the path really icy and thereby potentially partially exiting (=dangerous). So, we rented crampons and took them along. On the top, the path was indeed snowy, but not all the way. Consequently, like everyone else there, we didn’t use the crampons at all and their presence (=weight) served only to add to the exercise -point of the hike.

I’ve been watching Star Gate SG-1 here in the evenings, which my friend brought along with him on a hard drive when he visited me. Previously, when Enni was doing her exchange in Austria, I watched the first five or six seasons of the TV-show. Now, I regret to say, that the series gets a lot worse towards the end. Season 8 still is OK, but season 9 is already starting to lose it big time. I don’t know yet if I even want to watch the rest of it :(.

I also was bored on Friday, so I rode my bike to school (16,2 km / direction). I was surprised by the fact, that my school isn’t actually part of the city of Munich. On the way I crossed fields and forests before I arrived at the small town of Garching. On the outskirts of this small town you could then find our colossal university and research complex..
OK, that’s all I have for now. Thanks for reading!

pictures are, as always, here: http://sonkeri.1g.fi/kuvat/Timo+Kerola/

I’ve done some re-arranging of the photos there, and the photos related to this post can be found from the sub-folder titled “November”. It should be located at the top of the site. If however, you can’t find it, you can use this link directly: http://sonkeri.1g.fi/kuvat/Timo+Kerola/November/

-Timo