May 17th, 2019
WARNING: LOTS OF CAR PICTURES!!
Today was our free day. We could do as we pleased; we just had to be back at the hotel and checked in by 10:00 that night. One group was going to Munich, another to Salzburg in Austria, and Lucas and I were heading to Stuttgart. Why, you may ask, would we go to Stuttgart instead of either of these places? To look at cars, of course! We wanted to give ourselves as much time as possible, so we booked tickets for a 7:05 train. This proved to not be the best decision; the wake-up was pretty rough, and we were running late. Fortunately, we made it to the station in time to catch the 7:05 ICE to Stuttgart.
After about an hour and forty-five minutes, we arrived in Stuttgart. I was very scared about this trip for the reason that I was unfamiliar with the city and the transportation system. However, I had done some prior research and spoken to several helpful people (among them Dr. Feick, Arielle, and Sonja) about how to get around. When we arrived there, it was as simple as reading the signs. If any students for the 2020 trip are reading this, here are my suggestions. Plan your free day on the Sunday before at the latest. It becomes very tough once you get caught up in presentations to coordinate it. Also, ask for help and you will generally be able to get it. If you’re relying on local trams at your destination, Google Maps is very helpful, and I used that in Suttgart. If you’re taking the train, the bahn.de website has pretty much everything you need for your tickets. Good luck planning your free days!
Back to the story. Lucas and I caught the tram to Neuwirtzhaus and the Porsche Museum. Immediately upon arrival, I knew we were in for a great day. There were Porsches everywhere! We took a few pictures and went into the museum. There, we got headsets that would serve as our tour guides. We began our tour through the history of Porsche, starting with the historic racing models. The museum was celebrating 50 years of the 917, and they had quite a few on display. They are super rare to begin with, and they had so many there for us to see! We then saw a few gems in the later years, including a 959, Carrera GT, 911 GT1, 919, 918 Spyder, and Mission E Concept. After finishing up in the museum, we crossed the street to the showroom, where we saw two more 918 Spyders and three more Carrera GTs! We had to stop in the gift shop to remember this experience, and I got a miniature 917 to commemorate the occasion. Some pictures of the highlights are below.
We then took the tram back to the Hauptbahnhof, where Lucas and I stopped to get something quick to eat before boarding the tram to the Mercedes museum. We arrived there in the early afternoon. The facility was so impressive from the outside, especially next to the Mercedes-Benz soccer stadium. We went right in and began the tour. The Mercedes museum is much more historical than the Porsche museum, simply because Daimler and Benz had begun their work so much earlier. For instance, we got to see (a replica of) the first motorized vehicle ever made, along with some other historical gems along the way. Mercedes did a great job with providing historical context, as each floor had a timeline of world events leading from the previous floor to the next. We got to see many of Mercedes’ different vehicles and products, from coaches to planes to garbage trucks to racecars, and even more. My favorite section was the motorsport section. There you could see the history of Mercedes-Benz in racing, from its earliest racecars up to today’s GT3 and Formula 1 racers. Before we knew it we had finished in the museum and journeyed over to the showroom and gift shop. Disappointingly, all of the AMG models were locked up, but we still got some good pictures of them. For a souvenir, I got a keychain that has a Mercedes-Benz ball mark in it for when I go golfing.
The day in Stuttgart was drawing to a close. At about 5:00, we took the tram back to the Hauptbahnhof to make sure we were on track to make the train back to Augsburg. We called our parents to say hello, and before we knew it the train arrived. I had a nice nap on the way home, and we got back to Augsburg at about 8:30.
I had one last Döner before packing up my suitcase, which I was able to do surprisingly fast. At 10:00, we all went out for one last treat with the German students to say thank you and goodbye. The trip went by so fast. I’m going to miss it here.
(As a sidenote, I will omit a car of the day for today. It was impossible to choose!)
(As a second sidenote, I walked the most today out of all days, about 16 miles according to the phone.)