So there has been no blog post for two whole weeks. Lately Christmas prep has got in the way, but before that I was in Stuttgart. Naturally this means that this week’s blog post is all about Stuttgart. So sit down comfortably and prepare to hear about a city that has a car obsession and a pig museum.
In the past couple of months, I’ve found myself missing Germany. I lived out there for 9 months (which you can read all about here) and although I enjoyed it, I was very happy to be back in the UK by the end of it. So the fact that I was missing Germany was somewhat of a shock. I also found myself craving German Christmas markets. The Birmingham one is good but it’s just not the same.
As luck would have it, I have a friend out in Stuttgart, doing their year abroad. Helen’s great, I was missing Germany and Christmas markets open in December. Perfect combination of excuses to go gallivanting off to Stuttgart for four days at the start of December.
Look at Helen being excited about a mmetre of chocolate
My flight was at 7.10, which meant I got up at the hellishly early time of 4am. Don’t do it. Just don’t. I was so tired that I forgot tea was hot. I FORGOT TEA WAS HOT. That’s like forgetting the sky is blue, guys. But, sleep deprived though I was, I made it to Stuttgart for 10am. With a hotel room that I couldn’t get into until 3pm. Such planning ahead.
In the end, I went to my hotel anyway, and beginning in German, asked if I could leave my suitcase there until the room was ready. They said sure, no problem, and asked me my name. And promptly switched back into English.
I know this may come as a shock, but after 9 months in Germany, I can speak German. My grammar can be shaky and my vocab has diminished somewhat, but I can speak German. And as it turned out the receptionist’s English wasn’t as great as you would have thought. But no matter. I left my suitcase and went to explore Stuttgart.
It’s a decent looking city. Looks like most German cities, so it’s nice but not beautiful. As cities tend to be. I wandered down what I later found out is the most popular shopping street in Germany. And yes, I ended up being part of that statistic.
Laden down with new clothes, I wandered round a pool that’s in the heart of Stuttgart before beginning to wander back to the hotel. Earlier I’d seen a few stalls of a Christmas market and been disappointed in how small it was. Oh how wrong I was. It turned out that the Christmas market went on for miles and so it was through there that I made my way home.
German Christmas markets are great. It’s difficult to explain what it is about them, and I think it’s a combination of the atmosphere and just how much food and drink there is. And that’s before you even get to the knick-knacks, ornaments and all the other stuff that is sold there.
I ❤ German markets
So eventually I ended up back at my hotel, where I fell asleep because I’d been up at 4. And then about ten minutes before Helen was due to meet me, I woke up. You’d think that would be an issue, but seeing as I told Helen the wrong hotel, it wasn’t actually a problem. (I’d like to clarify that I accidentally told her the wrong hotel. I am not that cruel.)
When Helen and I had finally found each other, we went to the Christmas market to thoroughly explore and sample the Glühwein. It was an excellent night but I was back at my hotel by 9 and asleep by 10, because, as I believe I have mentioned once or twice, I had been up at 4 am.
The next day I headed back to Königstrasse to do some much needed shopping in the shops that I missed most from Germany (New Yorker, why do you not sell online? Why?). And then, because I felt like I needed to be at least a little bit cultural, I went to the Art Museum.
Can’t ignore an exhibition called I Got Rhythm
They had a jazz in art exhibition on, which was great. But the coolest thing about it was that the audio guide played you songs that had inspired various paintings in the exhibition. Looking at art, listening to jazz – nothing could be better. Well, except for the part where I had to explain to an elderly couple how to use the audio guide auf Deutsch. That was kind of stressful.
Culture successfully absorbed, I wandered back through the Christmas market to my hotel (yes, this happened an awful lot) and then, after watching How I Met Your Mother in German, I met up with Helen to go to a concert.
We were seeing Parov Stelar supported by Eugene the Cat. It was a really great gig and we nearly missed the last train because we were buying merch. Hopefully there’ll be a full blog post dedicated to that evening soon.
Give me a gig with a brass section any day.
On the Saturday, we met at a reasonable time because we were going to Tübingen. Tübingen is about an hour from Stuttgart, is very pretty, but most importantly, has a chocolate festival in the first week of December.
There was so much chocolate. From artisan truffles to chocolate sculptures to metre long cases of Ritter Sport, it was amazing. I bought a chocolate that looked like a conker, because it looked so much like a conker. And it was super delicious.
After we’d successfully chocolated ourselves out, we returned to Stuttgart for the evening. We ate at a burger place that gave us free satsumas when we left, and then we headed back to the Christmas market. Because where else would you go on a Saturday evening in a thriving German city?
Sunday was a very chilled day, because of the Glühwein from the night before and because I was leaving in the evening. So we went to the pig museum. It has over 50 000 pig figurines, divided into different categorgies like “The Divine Pig” or “Pigs around the World” or “Fictional Pigs”. It is an odd experience and well worth the five euros entry, just for the bizarre factor.
This pig shaped tram was terrifying.
I had a really great time in Stuttgart, which, it has to be said, is mostly down to Helen and the fact that I am very happy exploring Germany by myself while my friends are at work. I didn’t make it to the Porsche museum but seeing as everything was sponsored by either Porsche or Mercedes-Benz, including the art gallery and exhibits, and the fact that every tenth car was a Porsche or Mercedes, I feel like I got my monies worth from the city of cars.
Stuttgart’s not am obvious tourist destination, but the Christmas market was fabulous. The city itself is headed towards hipsterdom, though it’s got a ways to go before it can rival Dresden. But I enjoyed it. And managed to understand the local dialect, so result.