Year 11 Trip to Munich!

Published on 15 May 2017

Year 11 Trip to Munich!

At the end of the spring term, 51 Year 11 students ventured to Munich. After a slightly delayed start, the Vandyke crew, many sporting the trip hoody with individualised names on the back, boarded safely and arrived in Munich on schedule.

After settling into the hostel, we left for the city centre for our tour of Munich. After being expertly guided on the German U-Bahns by Mrs Akers-Jarvis, students were split into two groups and enjoyed a two hour guided tour.  Students learnt about the growth of the city and also saw certain events that took place in Munich, which related to the rise and reign of Hitler and the Nazis. In particular,   students visited the street where Hitler first tried to seize power in 1923, they saw the balcony room from which Hitler ordered the night of violence against the Jews in 1938, known as Kristallnacht, and visited the HofbräuhausBeer hall where Hitler regularly made political speeches. After the engaging tour with two excellent guides, it was back to the hostel for a relaxing dinner and an early night after a long and tiring day.

Day two started with an early breakfast before venturing out to Dachau Concentration Camp. Today its function is as a museum and memorial to the lives lost there during the  Holocaust. Dachau was first used to house political prisoners to the Nazis after Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933. Here inmates would be re-educated to the Nazi ideals and released only if no longer a threat to the regime. The camp itself remains largely similar to how it would have looked during the 1930s and 40s. The old German offices have been turned into a museum about the Holocaust, which provided students with a fascinating insight into the Final Solution. The camp also has former barracks (living quarters) still intact, where students gained an appreciation of the horrors Jews and other enemies to the Nazis were subjected to. Its main feature is the memorial to the lives lost there, not through the use of Zyklon B gas, but due to malnutrition, disease, overwork or execution. A sombre experience, but one that made students reflect and gain a deeper understanding of the atrocity that is the Holocaust.

Munich Olympic Park was the next venue. Its stunning grounds and stadiums were enjoyed by all. In particular, the Olympic Tower  provided spectacular views of the whole city. After an hour’s free time to wander the grounds and take it all in, it was off to the Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall for some much needed dinner. The traditional Oompa band accompanied dinner and provided students with an insight into the culture of the German beer halls. This was a particularly enjoyable evening due to the splendour of the building and entertainment provided.

Day three was a particularly early start in order to get to Nuremberg where the day’s activities took place. After a quick, bleary eyed breakfast, the 2 hour journey began, this was particularly quiet! Around 10am we arrived at the Nuremberg rally grounds, the largest auditorium of which has since been turned into a museum. Here students had an hour’s audio tour where the rise and reign of Hitler was displayed in a very engaging and accessible manner. This was a particularly excellent museum which left students wanting more! Following this was a guided tour of the rally grounds, buildings which still stand today in order for people to learn about the role of propaganda and rallies in furthering the Nazis’ image and appeal during the 1930s. Lunch was then enjoyed in the fabulous Nuremberg city centre, which still has its medieval style. Amazing markets and local businesses provided a variety of options for students to enjoy for lunch (although there was a McDonald’s as well!). After the long coach journey back, made worse by some weekend traffic, it was off to the Hard Rock Café for dinner with burger and chips providing an excellent, no nonsense meal!

The morning of the final day staff and students had time for some shopping and perusing of the centre of Munich, with many venturing up the Church of St Peter  tower to enjoy splendid views of the old Germanic city. After some nice local lunch it was back to the Hostel and onto the buses for a very easy and pleasant journey home.

Overall it was a wonderful experience for staff and students, with students’ understanding having been enriched alongside some excellent memories. The students were a credit to Vandyke and themselves and were a pleasure to be around for the 4 days. The 51 laughed, cried and learnt their way around the wonderful city of Munich and many were devastated to leave. Thank you to all the staff and students who made this year’s trip possible and so thoroughly enjoyable. Krakow 2018 here we come!

Mr Bodo

History Department