Sunday, 23 September 2012

Munich & Gut Aiderbichl

By Sanne

Our next stop was Munich where we were to visit Kevin, a guy we met in Thailand back in December last year. He was at the time studying in Singapore and was doing a trip around Thailand, Laos and Cambodia during his break from uni. Then when he finished his studies in Singapore earlier this year he packed up his motorbike and rode all the way back to Germany! We just missed each other in Pakistan so he insisted we come see him at his home in Munich when we got to that part of the world - which we did.

It was great to see him again and to exchange stories of our adventures on the road - especially his ordeal of getting his bike across the landslide lake in northern Pakistan - a mission we deemed too risky but one he had no choice to avoid as he had to get to the Chinese border. Although we were disappointed to learn that we were two weeks early for October Fest (and Mark seriously considering whether he should come back on a flight) we still had a good time here. Well, we went to the Dachau concentration camp which of course was very depressing...Well, what can you say? It's a black mark on the history of Europe and a terrifying example of what evil human kind are capable of committing.

Kevin also took us to see "The Wave" which apparently is a very popular contraption with surfers coming from all over the world to surf this stationary wave in an ice cold river in the city centre. He also took us to some motorcycle stores where Mark bought a new rain jacket and we both bought some inner gloves (the Northern European weather is pretty cold!)

After Munich we went east into Austria where we visited a farm animal sanctuary outside Salzburg called Gut Aiderbichl. It is located on a really beautiful property with green rolling hills. Here an Austrian man, Michael Aufhauser has created a sanctuary for rescued animals providing them with the love and care they never knew. It is my dream to create something similar one day so I was very curious to visit this one. It was an amazing experience to see farm animals walk around freely and be free to just BE without the fear of slaughter and mistreatment. I think it's safe to say that in the world we live in today, the majority of farm animals never get the chance to experience this. It is also a great opportunity for children to meet a farm animal as most children (and adults alike) will never in their lifetime get to interact with a farm animal. How easy is it then to disassociate with the animal on your plate? One animal that especially caught my eye was a little dairy calf who had (as all dairy calves) been taken away from his mother not long after birth and taken to the sales yards to be sold for slaughter. A waste product of the dairy industry he stood alone and scared in the sales yard where he was bought by his rescuers who took him to Gut Aiderbichl. When I saw him he stood alone in a little grassy enclosure and looked so vulnerable and confused. In the natural world he would have suckled from his mother for several months even up to a year. For me he was not a piece of meat, but simply a baby without his mother.

After Gut Aiderbichl we went to a nearby forest to look for a place to camp. While cooking some dinner a young family came past and started talking to us. We hadn't spoken more than literally five minutes before they said: "We know this might be a bit fast but do you guys want to come back and stay at our house tonight?" The thought of a bed and a warm shower sounded too good to turn down and they seemed like really nice people. They were Klaus and Rachael and their two children. Klaus is from Austria and Rachael is from Israel and they just moved back to Austria after living in a Kibbutz in Israel for many years. It was amazing to have complete strangers invite us into their home just like that. It has happened many times now but it still warms my heart every time :)

The message that greeted prisoners upon arriving at Dachau:
Arbeit Macht Frei = Work makes you free

The Wave

Kevin and Mark

In front of Kevin's apartment in Munich

Gut Aiderbichl

This fella used to be an act in a circus

The little dairy calf

This content pig was enjoying a few rays of sunshine

And I found myself a new friend (then he started eating my pants!)

Did you know that pigs are more intelligent than dogs?

This little polar fox was going to end up as part of a fur coat before he was rescued

Mark also found some new friends

Such beautiful animals are deers

Lots of rescued donkeys here, especially from Greece

I think this goat saw itself as a cow!


Cooking up a storm in the forest

Klaus, Rachael and their two children whose names I'm really sorry I can't remember!


  1. I loved Munich when I was there 20 years ago - glad you are enjoying yourselves and meeting up with friends! :)

  2. It was nice having you both here in Munich. A pity that you couldn't stay longer!
    Regarding Oktoberfest: Nic, the Aussie I was riding with in India, will be visiting next weekend. So get yourselves flight tickets and come over; bring Frank along. Would be a nice little overlander meeting at the Oktoberfest.