Willkommen Sie meinen Blog

Welcome to my Blog, I'm glad you stopped by. I thought a little introduction was in order after I reviewed some Blogs of others and didn't have a clue what it was their Blog was about even after reading the last several posts. Not that it matters, if you like what I write, read on, if not, no harm no foul.

I began writing again after one of my grad classes last summer inspired me to do so. It was a class on the world famous author, Stephen King and it was incredible. In 2011 I received my Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. My undergraduate degree is also from UNCW in Sociology with a minor in Gerontology which I obtained in 2005.

A lot has changed since I began writing this Blog in 2010. I am rediscovering who it is that I am and what makes me happy. Feel free to read through from the beginning and see where I have come from and continue to follow along as I begin a new chapter in my life, one that proves to be interesting and filled with exciting challenges that I can't wait to share with the World. So for now, "Das ist Leben"...this is life!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Hello Stuttgart"

Me on the Street Car

On Saturday, Oct 16th we headed out for a full day of exploring the beautiful downtown Stuttgart area. Sitting near the Neckar River and ringed by verdant forests and vineyards, Stuttgart is the capital of the state in which we live, Baden-Württemberg, located in south western Germany.

We arrived outside the Patch Barracks gate around 8:30 am, it was a cold and rainy day. Our tour guide, Ingrid Arnold was already waiting for the group under her black umbrella, she reminded me of Mary Poppins. 

Ingrid Arnold, Tour guide


Since this was our first USO tour, we didn't really know what to expect. We followed Ingrid to the bus stop along with the other seven tourists and prayed for the sun to roll out and greet the day. The sun never did shine its glorious light upon our heads, but we still marched on from bus to train to street car to cable car…we had quite an adventure exploring Stuttgart.

Cable Car
We have traveled by bus and train since we've been here in Germany but this was our first experience on the Street and Cable cars. The view at the top of the hill from the Cable Car was breathtaking even in all the rain and chilly weather. It was funny to see the driver switch seats from one end of the car to the other when we went up and then back down the hill again. We found a pretty famous restaurant along the way but I didn't get the name. Ingrid compared the Chef to Emeril Lagasse. Maybe we'll check it out for dinner sometime and let you know how it was.

After we took a ride on the street car, we followed the train to the Hauptbahn station (Main Train Station) to get to the Stadtmitte (downtown).

Matt on the Street Car

Once we arrived in down town Stuttgart there were so many things to see and even on a rainy day, so many people out and about. One thing we learned was Germans really love their umbrellas and do not pay attention to who or what they hit with them...beware, you may lose an eye!

Huge Advent Calendar!
We walked through a few different department stores, a fresh bakery, and then the most amazing four story toy store I had ever seen. Toys R Us would be no competition for Kurtz Speilwaren. Founded by Carl-Wilhelm Kurtz in 1833, this is the oldest company in Stuttgart and the largest toy store in Germany. Each level has a different theme, there is even a model train floor with tracks set up to "play" with. I enjoyed the dress up and puzzle/game sections while Matt explored the model-car center.

After our brief stop in the the toy store, we strolled along cobblestone roads exploring the Old Medieval, and the New Baroque Castles of Stuttgart. 

There was a beautiful church inside the grounds of the old castle but an orchestra was having rehearsal so we were unable to enter.


The Old Castle (Altes Schloss) is located in the centre of Stuttgart, It dates back to the 10th century.

 The first castle dated back to around 950 when Stuttgart was a settlement for breeding horses. In the 14th century it became the residence of the sovereign Counts of Württemberg. In the 16th century dukes Christopher and Ludwig ordered it to be converted into a Renaissance castle. Moats around the castle were removed in the 18th century.

In 1931 the castle was severely damaged by a fire and before it could be reconstructed it was damaged by bombing in the Second World War. The castle was finally renovated in 1969. Today the Old Castle is home to the Württemberg State Museum.

King Charles I of Württemberg and his wife Olga are buried beneath the castle church. The inner courtyard houses a monument to Eberhard I. The Old Castle stands adjacent to its replacement, the New Castle, which was built in the late 18th century.

On the Karlsplatz side of the Old Castle is a museum dedicated to the memory of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg a former resident of Stuttgart who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944.

The 'New Castle' on Schlossplatz built between 1746 and 1807

Monument of Eberhard I in the Altes Schloss in Stuttgart

Eberhard I of Württemberg (11 December 1445, Urach – 24 February 1496, Tübingen). From 1459 till 1495 he was count as Eberhard V. From July 1495 he was the first Duke of Württemberg. He is also known as Eberhard im Bart (Eberhard the Bearded).

Fountain in front of New Castle

The history of Stuttgart Germany hosts several important inventions. Two of these include the creation of the motorcycle, and the four-wheeled automobile. The city was the start of the automotive industry and car manufacturing remains prominent in it today. Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Maybach are all made in Stuttgart. Additionally, the first design of the Volkswagen Beetle was produced there. Further cementing Stuttgart's importance as an economic center is its stock exchange--it's the second largest in the nation behind Frankfurt's. As a result of this, many important German companies keep their headquarters in Stuttgart.

The Farmer's Market

              Käse (cheese) at the Stuttgart Market Hall 
One of the most beautiful market halls in Germany, art nouveau, built 1912 to 1914 in place of the old vegetable hall as a grocery exchange and warehouse. Frescos by Gref and Häbich. Daily fresh flowers, fish, meat, vegetables and fruit as well as exotic fruits and spices. Small restaurant and gallery on the 1st floor with a view of what's going on.

Mediterranean ambiance
Behind the heavy entrance doors of this grand art nouveau building right next to the dignified Old Castle and the Collegiate Church, a paradise of lucullan pleasures is hidden: Fruit and vegetables from around the world, fresh dates, Spanish Kaki fruits, Greek peaches and tomatoes from Lanzarote, but also German potatoes and fresh Filder cabbage in barrels are offered in an appetizing manner.

There are 44 different stands in the market hall today. That's only a few in comparison with the 430 sales stands in the beginning in 1912. But the hectic from then and the narrow aisles between the stands hasn't decreased. Since 1989 in the gallery there has been a gourmet restaurant which has become a true culinary meeting place. The specialties and gourmet temple has become a special kind of warehouse with its tempting offers for living and garden culture and further attractive shops. 

Gourmet shop with an exotic flair 
At any time of the year in abundance, diverse and colorful, the market hall presents the impressive offers artistically and appetizingly arranged, native products harmoniously lie next to international and ecological-biological products - apples next to oranges, avocados in front of pineapples, asparagus on spinach, cauliflower in front of Chinese cabbage. With all this diversity, everything has one thing in common: everything is always fresh and of the best quality.  

Here you find among other things cheese specialties from France, Italy and Switzerland, traditional Dutch cheeses, aromatic and mild mold cheeses - here milk and honey flow. Aceto Balsamico and the best oils, pumpkin seeds, figs and dates, honey mead and Turkish honey, delicious spreads for bread and exotic salads, Baklawa (Lebanese Version of Baklava) and Tiramisu, spices and herbs - a touch of the Mediterranean and the Orient blows through the spacious halls. 

The finest fish and meat
Daily the fish from the North Sea and the Black Forest trout come fresh to the market hall, once a week fish, shellfish and crustaceans from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean are taken from the Parisian hypermarket. Smoked fish, fish pastry and salads supplement the demanding offer. Poultry, meat and sausages of a high quality are always a standard in the market hall, eggs from open land chickens are a matter of course. Also lovers of specialties like horse and lamb meat will find what they're looking for here, and whoever asks will also receive tips and recipes for cooking.

Fresh Gemüse (veggies)

I had to buy something in this amazing market so I tried some Swiss Emmentaler Cheese. It was pretty good but kind of hard.

Bier break!

The city's cultural vibrancy owes the most to the Staatstheater and Staatsgalerie. The Staatsgalerie is a world-class museum while the Staatstheater hosts an opera house and three smaller theaters. Within you'll find ballet, opera, concerts, and theater productions. For five years in a row, the Stuttgart Opera won the "Opera of the Year" award.

Those looking for palatial accommodations will not be disappointed. More than one luxury hotel in Stuttgart Germany is available to the traveler with a generous budget. The Le Meredien Stuttgart is an international five star resort that overlooks Schlossgarten Park. Both suites and regular rooms are available. Another luxury hotel in Stuttgart Germany is the Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin which is also located near the city center.


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