I mentioned in the last post that we were finally following up on invites and getting out to explore and we were invited to Stuttgart by a lovely lady called Hanna who was from Stuttgart. We met Hanna back in London 2 years ago - she had followed our blog and sent us a message (via our Facebook page I think) saying she was coming to London and would we like to meet for a drink. So on a very rainy night we met in a bar in Hammersmith and despite the language barrier we got on great. We got to hang out again when Hanna came to visit us in Birmingham while on a trip to the UK to visit friends and so when she invited us to Stuttgart before she left for her world tour we did everything we could to make it happen.
We had hoped to head over for her leaving party but unfortunately work commitments meant we couldn't make the dates work. Easter tied in with Laura's brothers birthday though so we agreed we'd fly over Friday morning and back on Sunday night. Conveniently Birmingham did direct flights to Stuttgart and it only took 1 hour 20!
As an extra bonus our flight to Stuttgart was only quarter full so it was like we had our own private flight. Laura and I passed out for most of it - well a 4am start has that effect - but on arrival we were good to go. Hanna met us at the airport and took us back to her flat. After a diet coke kick we made our plans and decided to make the most of the beautiful sunshine and explore the city.
Stuttgart is Germany's 6th largest city and is capital of the Baden-Wurttemberg region, it is famous for it's automobile history especially Mercede-Benz and Porsche who both have museums in the city. It is also known as being a visitor friendly city in general- they male being a tourist easy. Plus those clever Germans are so good at speaking English that you find yourself reluctantly turning off the translation app and speaking the mother tongue. Well German was never a strong point of mine even when I was taking a GCSE in it.
With our trip advisor list on our phone, Hanna's local knowledge and Laura's brother request to find and drink a beer boot we set off. The metro ran us straight into the centre in 10 minutes and before we knew it we were in full tourist mode. Selfie stick in hand we made the most of the quiet streets and beautiful weather. Turns our Easter Friday most things close in the Catholic city so we had the place (almost) to ourselves.
We saw the old castle and new palace, the Schlossplatz (which was where Laura spent the 2006 world cup), Kunst museum, Staats theatre, Schillerplatz, we went up the main station (Hauptbahnof) to see over the city and the Mercedes-Benz arena (well we drove past it).
Best of all Hanna knew a central pub that did the all important boot of beer so we headed there for a late lunch. We sampled a local specialty called 'cheating on god' - so called because monks were forbidden from eating meat of Fridays so they hid in in a ravioli type dish so god wouldn't see it! It was SO good though - as an atheist I did feel like I was cheating so much as indulging!
|My feelings on beer may be obvious!|
After being fed and watered - well intoxicated - turns out they charge more for tap water than for beer or soft drinks in Stuttgart!- we headed to Wilhelma the city's botanical gardens and zoo. The gardens were beautiful you could walk through indoor rain forests with birds and butterflies flying around, admire the waterfall and in our case learn new names for plants - turns out daffodils are Easter Bells in Germany!
Wilhelma also had a massive aquarium and selection of wild birds that seem to fly in and out as they pleased. The flamingos seemed pleased to stay put and entertain us though which we appreciated as the boot of beer meant we lost Jason for almost an hour trying to find the bathroom!
We weren't comfortable seeing the larger animals in captivity so called it a day rather than see lions, tigers, monkeys etc in cages.
On Saturday we got to enjoy a very traditional German experience thanks to Hanna's family. We drove to her parents house and were treated to a traditional meal of 2 types of sausages, bacon joint, spatzle and lentils. It was delicious! At the end of the meal we were invited to participate in sharing schnapps. They had homemade versions and they were SO GOOD. Laura and I favoured the bratsapple and without knowing how strong it was got rather merry!
Our hosts were wonderful and spoke such good English that it was like hanging out with family - we got to experience flying a drone (they can go a mile upwards you know - although not advisable when drunk) and got to see a beautiful part of the country. It was like a traditional alpine village or German market everywhere we looked and we were so glad we got to experience it.
On our trip back to the city we got to really see how hilly Stuttgart is. It makes for gorgeous scenery and the vineyards that pop up holding on to the hill add to the pretty views.
Saturday night was spent relaxing in Hanna's flat before heading out to enjoy the city nightlife and extra strong cocktails. Watching the sunrise at 6am and hearing the bells ring through the street was a great way to end the night.
Our Sunday flew by - mainly as it didn't start to 1pm - but we still got to explore a museum, enjoy a schnitzel and see a guy get out of his house on a rollercoaster! Well why not when you live on a hill. We also got to use the selfie stick to capture the views over the city!
It was a jam-packed weekend and we slept the whole of Monday once we arrived home. We had such a great weekend and were so lucky Hanna had asked us over. We would definitely recommend Stuttgart for a mini break !