Monday, 13 September 2010

First Days in Bavaria and The Day of Bureaucracy

My first days here in Dachau have gone slowly enough. The weekend saw some gorgeous weather, wonderful as we visited the town of Dachau and then of course Munich (photos to follow!). Both had street parties on with some fantastic live music, including a Lederhosen-clad rock group covering the Monkees. The amount of Lederhosen at these events is actually quite surprising. During the seminar we discussed the stereotypes we bring to different countries and how they often turn out not to be true, but in this case I cannot deny it- the Bavarians love their Lederhosen. They even sell them in C&A, which went bust in the UK about a decade ago but here clearly survives on the back of sales of cost effective leather trousers for all occasions.

I digress. Monday arrived with a change in the weather, probably because nature recognised today would be the day of German bureaucracy. If there is one sound that sums up Germany, it is the sound of computer keys tapping away, followed by the 'thump' of a well-inked stamp. Though things went quickly, sorting a bank account and registering as a citizen of the town in one day is enough to try anyone's patience.

Luckily, the day was saved by our Ansprecher (mentor), Klaus. Deacon Klaus Schultz works for the Church of Reconciliation and is responsible for our welfare while we are working in Dachau. This morning he took us to see the Church, which meant seeing the memorial site for the first time. It was smaller than I had imagined it, but then again how can you imagine such a place. The ground was sodden as we headed past the Jewish memorial and the Catholic Chapel to our new office, where we discussed the work to be done. I will have a full tour of the site on Thursday, so I'm reluctant to give any first impressions until then. The last few days have been for settling in to life in Dachau town; next will be the challenge of working with the memorial site.

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