22.09.2014 - 24.09.2014
I arrived in Stuttgart in the afternoon and headed to the Steigenberger Hotel located directly across the street from the main train station. It was still raining so I decided to grab lunch at the hotel and then head out for a few drinks. I had made plans to go to the Mercedes Museum on Wednesday so I had some time to explore the city on Tuesday.
On the train ride I have been reading some info on each upcoming city to get some ideas of what to do. I was a little worried about Stuttgart from reading a lot of the guides. They all made sure to note that Stuttgart did not have the gorgeous city centers of other major European cities, and it lacked the charm and character of those cities as well. Stuttgart suffered a similar past to many German cities and much of their historical buildings were leveled by Allied bombs in WWII.
Tuesday morning I woke up and headed out to explore. As I left the hotel, the modern buildings and construction quickly gave way to the typical shopping and dining street that exists in all cities. Past that, was the city center or Schlossplatz where the New (built in 1740's) and Old Castles (built in 950) are. Both were extensively damaged during WWII and have been renovated since then to bring them back to their original condition. The new castle is currently used as government offices and can not be toured but the old castle is now a museum and I got that chance to walk through.
Behind the new Palace is the Mittlerer Schloßgarten which is like central park. City building and museums surround the outside of the park. At the center is a cafe and the Biergarten im Schloßgarten. The biergarten was great. Pretty much a self service outdoor eating area with some really good German beers. There were a couple of small tents to remind you of Octoberfest. I was told quite a few times by the locals that although most don't know it Stuttgart hosts the second largest beer festival in the world just after Octoberfest with an estimated 7 million visitors.
I spent quite a few hours at the biergarten as the weather had turned perfect and after two days of rain it was nice to just be outside.
Wednesday, I woke up early and headed to the train station to hop the U-Bahn subway to the stop for the Mercedes Museum. The museum was very interesting with a two hour tour of the history of Mercedes and got a chance to sit in some of their real high end race cars. After the tour it was time to get back to the hotel, check out, and head back to the train station to catch the train to Munich.
Octoberfest here I come.