Tag Zwolf (und mehr) – Stuttgart


Hallo wieder! Yesterday was my last day with the group, as today I’m leaving to stay with my friend, Rebecca, in Stuttgart. Stuttgart is in Baden-Wurttemberg, which is a state that neighbors Bavaria. I had to wake up early as my train, called an ICE, departed at 10:01 on the dot, as trains in Germany are notorious for punctuality. Another interesting thing about German trains is that one can reserve the seats ahead of time, and, as Rebecca warned me, Germans are very insistent on sitting in their reserved seats. In fact, while I was boarding the train, I saw a woman kick out an elderly couple because they were sitting in her reserved seats. Needless to say, I was intimidated, that I didn’t take a seat, just in case. So, for the first forty minutes of the trip, I loitered in-between cars until one of the train attendants kicked me out, telling me to sit in either cars 1, 2, or 3. These three cars cannot be reserved, so they are free for anyone to sit in. On my return trip, I immediately booked it to car 3 so that I wouldn’t have to confront another attendant. Despite that initial hiccup, the rest of my ride was smooth, and most importantly, quick. While the following is a picture of the speed on my way to Munich, this just goes to show how insanely quick ICEs are and how efficient Germany’s transportation system is. I arrived in Stuttgart just after 11:30.

Once I got off, Rebecca was waiting for me and she took me on the U-Bahn, which was connected to the Hauptbahnhof. Much like the ICE, the U-Bahn was punctual and fast. Once we got off, we walked the remaining distance to her family’s Wohnung, which was on the outskirts of Stuttgart. It was a lot bigger than I expected, as I knew her family didn’t own in house. In fact, most Germans, especially those in cities, don’t own houses, as they are too expensive for the average German. Despite feeling better, I did take an hour to rest, as I was a bit stressed about the reserved seats situation on the ICE. Once I was ready to go, we took a bus to a large trail right by her house. The entire area was (mostly) natural, except for the center, which had an adorable restaurant in the center, where Rebecca and I stopped to drink and eat. The weather was nice, and the pavilion was crowded, as according to Rebecca, many people from the inner parts of Stuttgart like to visit this set of trails. The trails were so huge that Rebecca and I could not finish walking half of it; otherwise, we’d miss the bus.

When we got back, we decided to eat dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant that her sister had recommended, which worked out perfectly, as it was open for the holiday. We took the bus, moving into the city a bit more. I order fried rice, which was not only amazing, but was the most food I had eaten in a while, helping me feel significantly better.

The next couple of days followed a similar routine. Friday, Rebecca and I visited the Innerstadt, or city center of Stuttgart, planning to later meet with the woman who connected us three years ago. Before we went to the Innerstadt, we visited the city museum, where we got in for free because we were students. I found it interesting that the clerk never checked to see our IDs; this was a large trend I noticed in Germany, many things operated on the Honors System.

Once we got to the Innerstadt about two hours later, we walked around center, allowing her to show me whatever she thought was interesting. One such place was a large indoor market, filled with small restaurants and shops. Rebecca told me that she brought me there because it reminded her of Reading Terminal Market, which I had brought her to when she visited. Granted, this market was significantly smaller and didn’t have a food court area like Reading does.

Afterwards, we did a little shopping and met up with Frau Ariman and her friends for dinner, at a restaurant called Forum 3. Frau Ariman used to be in charge of Krannich Gynasium’s exchange program to my high school and I met her when I had visited Germany four years ago. She helped inspire my passion for German, which helped me meet Rebecca, so it seemed right to meet her again. After a delicious dinner, we went to a theater, where we watched the first ever stage-play of The African Queen, based off a book and the Hollywood movie from the 50s. As someone who used to do stage crew, the small production did a really good job at utilizing the small space and used really realistic props effectively. Overall, it was a good stage-play and when I go back to Stuttgart, i definitely want to watch another production of theirs.

On Saturday, my train to Munich was set to leave at 2 pm, so we had time to do one more thing. Rebecca took me to the Farmers Market, which was slowing down by the time we arrived. Typically, there are always Farmers Markets in Germany, as Germans buy their food daily, so that it is fresh, also allowing them to engage with their community. After the Market closed, we went to a shopping mall. Compared to the shopping malls by me, this one was full of people. We visited Kaufland (yes, that literally translates to “Buying Land”), which Rebecca called the “German Costco” (another place I took her in America). Compared to all of the other stores in the mall, Kaufland was massive! There, I picked up some snacks for my siblings, who had been begging me for German chocolate and other snacks. We had to hurry back to her place so I could collect my things, have time for the U-Bahn, and arrive at the station early. Once we arrived at the Hauptbahnhof, I found out I was lucky, as many of the trains had been cancelled. Mine was the only train on my track that was still scheduled. Rebecca and I said our goodbyes, as I took the ICE back to Munich, where the trip all started.

And here is a picture of a very good boy staring at a butcher’s stand. His owner never bought him anything.

Overall, even though I spent the last few days sick, I had lots of fun in Germany, both on the program and off the program. I also learned a lot, not only more about German culture, but also about the automobile industry, which I knew next to nothing about before the trip. In the future, I can’t wait to come back to Germany and other countries in Europe! Auf Wiedersehen! Ich freue mich auf nächstes Mal!

German Words Used:

Hallo wieder = Hello again

U-Bahn = Subway

Hauptbahnhof = Main Train Station

Wohnung = Apartment/Place of residence

Auf Wiedersehen = Good-bye

Ich freue mich auf nächstes Mal = I’m looking forward to next time

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