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Monday, September 26, 2005

Day 15: Vienna - Mauthausen - Mondsee (Austria) - Munich (Germany)

There were many concentration camps throughout Europe and Mauthausen was one of the them. When Nazi attacked its neighbours, the politicians, educated and powerful people who they suspected could be dangerous were sent to the camps. In Mauthausen, the prisoners of war (POW) were not only from Austria, but from all other countries as well, with the Jews as the majority.

Their work in the camp was to carry big rocks from a quarry at the bottom of the hill up to the camp. These rocks could weigh up to 50 kg. Furthermore, there were 186 steps to reach the quarry, which was infamously known as "186 stairs of death". Sometimes these people were not given food for days, and they were made to stand in front of the barracks in winter for hours.

Most of them didn't get to live past a few weeks. Often, the POWs were sent to the gas chambers (poisonous gas in a sealed room) to be executed. When the camp was liberated at the end of WWII, total victims were up to 150,000.

The barracks

Countries built memorial for the POWs

Mauthausen quarry

The church wedding of Maria and Mr. von Trapp in The Sound of Music was shot in this little town's cathedral.

The cathedral

Mondsee, a charming little town

Munich (Munchen)
That night we had our merry drinking party at the biggest beer festival in Germany, the OKTOBERFEST. After checked-in to the hotel, the majority of us straight away went to the showground, and the rest were heading to the city center, including me.

Munich is the second city that I feel like to stay permanently (the first one is Vienna). It is clean, neat, and not very crowded. Bicycle is their most common transportation, even people in suits are riding them. They also have their own bicycle lane.

Old city gate Isartor

The famous beer hall

Bicycle for six (was featured in Amazing Race)

Lion Queen and I



Residenz museum


Lavenders everywhere

After the sightseeing, we took a train to Theresienwiese ground where the Oktoberfest was. The train was surprisingly new, not like those in other cities that we had visited so far.

Luckily we were given a map, so it was easier for us to navigate through the place. There were souvenirs kiosks, beerhalls, food kiosks, roller coaster, ferris wheel, and game kiosks. The Germans were wearing their traditional costumes, at first I thought they were the people working there, but actually they were also visitors like us. :)

First we were going to get some food. After browsing some of the food stalls, we decided to have a sausage with bread roll. I couldn't remember what kind of sausage that was, but it was very long, even longer than the bread and it was spicy. I forgot to take the photo again, too delicious.. :P Next we had a half chicken. This was even better... very yummy. Next, was the pork knuckle, hmm.. didn't like it, too much fats. Finally, I was full. (note: I didn't eat all these on my own :P)

Check out the crowd

These roasted chicken were yummy

All the rides..

Next we were heading to Augustiner beerhall. There were even more people here!! Many stood on the tables and danced accompanied by the live band. We could only get a beer if we find seats. After circling the hall for a few times, we gave up. Then we notice there were some empty tables outdoor too. So finally, we could order. The beer cost Euro 7 (SGD 14) each. Each glass could hold about 1 litre.

See my fingers.. this is heavy...

Back on the bus.. everybody is having a good time

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