DAY 7 – Stuttgart, 26 April
I left Gießen in the morning and headed for Stuttgart, which is my first stop outside of the Frankfurt-am-Main area. Why Stuttgart? I really don’t know. All I know is that I wanted to visit the car museums there and partake of Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival) which is ongoing. Sadly I didn’t get to attend the Frühlingsfest as it was raining and the weather was rather dreary. It actually made me a little under the weather, but that was fine.
I took my first ever train between cities.
I was excited. Why? Because in the US, travel by train isn’t very common. We have the Amtrak but I have never even ridden it to go anywhere (although I do plan a cross-USA Amtrak train trip sometime soon). The US is not very train friendly. The major cities have train and subway systems but most of the time people either drive or fly to get from one city to another. It’s a shame because trains are cool. Why? I don’t know. I just find them rather fascinating.
The first thing I did in Stuttgart was meet up with Andre. Andre is a person who has graciously allowed me to stay in his home for the night. I met him through Couchsurfing, which is an incredible means of getting to know a city, not to mention the lodging is free! You also get to meet new friends! He was kind enough to give me a tour through the city. The first thing we did after leaving the Hauptbanhof was to see the Schlossplatz, or Palace Square. A lot of Stuttgart was rebuilt after World War II, including the palace. It was one of the heavily bombarded areas of Germany due to it having been one of the major arms manufacturing capitals of the Nazi Army during the war, so much of the old city either got rebuilt or just remains to this day nothing more than a memory. Andre noted that there is a hill that is built out of rubble from the war. I never got to see it.
After a stroll around the older parts of town around the Schlossplatz, we visited Markthalle, which is this super cool place where they have food and other artisanal offerings from around the world. I could have stayed there the whole day and just ate food but Andre wanted to show me around still, also I don’t think I’d have enough money to buy the entire place.
We then visited the Rathaus. No, a Rathaus is not a house for rats. In German, a Rathaus is like the City Hall of a city. The Stuttgart Rathaus, however, houses a Pater Noster, which is essentially a constantly moving elevator.
Andre insisted I try it, despite my fear of heights and of moving things that might be able to decapitate you or make you lose a leg should you make a mistake. I did it, and quite frankly it was fun. Here is a GIF of the Pater Noster I took. Another interesting thing about the Rathaus is the fact that there is a piece of the old Rathaus attached to it when it was rebuilt. According to Andre it is called the “Stuttguardian”.
After that we proceeded to visit the Stadtbibliothek, or City Library, of Stuttgart. Andrew says he is not too fond of it because he liked the older Stadtbibliothek but I really liked the interior and exterior design of the current one. It is more modern but minimalist, the design philosophy I enjoy the most.
I spent the rest of the day wandering before heading back to Andre’s where he prepared for me a wonderfully traditional Stuttgart meal: Käsespätzle (basically a better version of mac n’ cheese) and fried Sauerkraut. Together they were delicious.
After dinner and dishes we resorted to just watching the Lobster, which was actually a very interesting, yet good film.
DAY 8 – Nuremberg
First thing in the morning I headed to the Porsche Museum. I wanted to go see the Mercedes-Benz Museum but apparently it was really huge and would take three hours to tour the entire thing but I didn’t have enough time to enjoy it as I had a train to Nuremberg at noon. Instead, I was told by Andre that the Porsche Museum was smaller but still worth a trip because of their collection of beautiful cars. He was not wrong. After a 15 minute journey I managed to find the museum, which was luckily right by the station that was subtitled “Porscheplatz” or Porsche Square. It was really aptly named as there was nothing but Porsche-related things around: a Porsche store, the Porsche offices, Porsche factory as well as the main attraction, the Porsche Museum. A former friend of mine loves Porsches and it reminded me of him. He would have loved that place. They even let you inside some of the cars and rev the engines.
I got to my train on time after a stop to get a pretzel for lunch. I boarded and slept most of the way to Nuremberg. Once in Nuremberg I went to check in to my hostel, dropped my stuff off and went for the Altstadt immediately. I am only here as a detour on my way to Munich. I decided that I did not want to spend too many days in Munich so I took one of those days and dedicated it to Nuremberg. It was worth it. As you can tell I really love old historical sites and Nuremberg’s Altstadt still retains most of its old medieval charm combined with more modern amenities like stores and shops. It is dotted with cathedrals with the old castle. My featured/cover image is of the Altstadt taken from atop the Nuremberg castle.
The Market Square area was bustling with shops. I managed to get a shot where there weren’t many people but it was pretty busy. In the Market Square, as shown in a photo at the top of this paragraph, there is this weird fountain thing where on the fence are two rings, one black and one gold, as seen below. Apparently if you spin one of the rings (Black if you’re a foreigner, Gold if you’re a local to Nuremberg), you will get good luck for whatever it is you wish for.
I actually got to tour the interior of the castle as well as the museum in it. I’ll attach some photos from the museum at the end of this blogpost. I actually didn’t take too many photos of the exterior of the castle just because I couldn’t get a good view of it, so here is an image of it so you can see the exterior.
As you can see, it is not a really large palace complex but it was the home of the Holy Roman Emperor when Nuremberg served briefly as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. The interior of the castle was turned into a museum full of relics from the ancient German and Holy Roman Empire Kings.
For dinner I decided to try out Rostbratwurst, a local specialty. It is so specific to Nuremberg that apparently, and it seems this way since I have not seen or heard of it in any other German city, it is only allowed, by law, to be made and served in Nuremberg. I bet the other German cities are jealous because, yes the Frankfurter is good, and so are other German sausages, but the Rostbratwurst is by far the best I had. They’re smaller in size but they are packed with flavor and go so well with Sauerkraut and German Potato Salad (which is infinitely better than regular American potato salad…I don’t even touch that). The ones I had were from Bratwursthäusle. If you’re ever in Nuremberg and want to try Rostbratwurst (because unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, why wouldn’t you?), do it at this place.
After dinner I decided to buy a book since I realized that I want to read something while I’m on trains and buses since I end up just staring…and I have a ton of books on my book list to get to. This time I decided to get Cixin Liu’s sci-fi masterpiece, the Three Body Problem, winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards (the very first translated book to do so apparently). Gonna read that tonight after this post is done.