Dachau

I’m in München. But it’s Dachau that’s killing me.

My intention was to go there to see Iron & Wine, one of my very favorite bands, if you could call him a band. While there, I wanted to see the concentration camp. So I checked into my hostel, gathered myself, and headed north on the S2 train.

The camp was intense. It’s not a museum. It’s the camp, restored and rebuilt in some cases, but it’s the place. I got there late, around 3:45, so I only had 75 minutes to walk around. But with the sun setting and me just ambling around, it was a heavy experience. I finally finished up after the official closing time. I headed back to the main gate and had a two-second mild panic when the gates were closed. For God’s sake don’t lock me in here! But it wasn’t locked, and I slipped back out into 2008 Germany.

Next up was finding the Iron & Wine concert. I intentionally didn’t research where and when the show was, because I wanted some serendipity to occur. I felt like if I were to see the show, I’d have to deserve it through my own sense of will. I saw it as kind of an adventure, a treasure hunt. Plus, I figured I had plenty of time.

I hopped on a bus and headed for the center of town. Once I got there, I walked around looking for posters or a record store — something to clue me in. After a few minutes, I went up to a bar that advertised live music. I found an old woman smoking a cigarette. “Sprechen sie English?” “Yes,” she said. “If the smoke bothers you and you’re looking for the ‘American section’ it’s downstairs.” “No, no… I’m looking for the venue for the Iron & Wine concert.” “I don’t know. Check the Irish Pub.”

On the way down I saw a music rag. There was a story on Iron & Wine and it mentioned the venue, a church whose name I can’t remember. So I asked a random girl on the street: “Entschuldigung sie bitte, wo is die (whatever church)?” “Ich bin nicht aus Dachau…” she started, but then pointed at the building behind her.

I walked to the front of the church and it had an Iron & Wine sign with an arrow pointing to another door. I went there and it was open. Inside was a beautiful, small church, illuminated only by candles. And there was Sam and, I assume, his sister, doing soundcheck. The song was something off Shepherd’s Dog. I walked forward but a guy stopped me, shook his head, and held up seven fingers (the start time, maybe?). I still didn’t know how to get tickets or how much they were.

I went around to another door and talked to a man there. I didn’t even bother with the Deutsch at this point. “Excuse me, where can I buy tickets?” He said, “it’s sold out.” I couldn’t even accept these words, not after all this effort and success in finding the place in a city I didn’t have any knowledge of. “Oh, no” I said. “Really?” I sort of peaked my head in. “Yes,” he said. “Sorry.” Outside I saw some Germans and I talked to them a bit. They were also upset it was sold out. I said “I came all the way from Salzburg for this.” They were sympathetic, but were in the same pickle as me. No way to see the show.

I went into a pub across the street, had a nice meal of Schnitzel and fried potatoes, and a genuine Löwenbrau (lervenbreu), and was waited on by one of those stereotypical girls with the boobs and the outfit. That was cool, and I practiced a little more German. But I was defeated. I caught the 6:55 bus back to the S-bahn and headed back to the hostel to drown my sorrows in a beer.

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3 Responses to “Dachau”

  1. Sorry you missed the show, brother, but it sounds like a nice adventure nonetheless, minus the part where you almost got locked in a concentration camp. I played a show at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh on sunday. I think you’ve been there. I wish you could have joined me!

  2. I haven’t been there, but glad to hear you’re playing! Talk to you soon, brother…

  3. It’s all about karma – even the girl – you weren’t meant to see it.

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