"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


Stuttgart, Part 1

Yesterday we spent the day in Stuttgart. Stuttgart is the capital of the state we live in, Baden-Wuerttemberg, and only a short train ride from Heidelberg. Stuttgart is known as a world-leading car-town because it is the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. We were reminded how these cars rule the town when we walked pass the streets 'Mercedesstrasse' and 'Benzstrasse' and buildings like the one pictured below. It seemed like every other person in Stuttgart drove a Mercedes--even the taxis and work vehicles were Mercedes.

Because of its industrial powers Stuttgart was heavily bombed during WWII, and most of its historical structures were destroyed. When the city rebuilt it decided to maintain the historical architectural style in many of its buildings, but overall the city still has a modern feel.

Below is a picture of us in front of the Neues Schloss ('New Castle'). The orginal structure was built by Friedrich I at the end of the 18th century, but now it houses government offices and a museum. A lady offered to take our picture in front of it, and she was very proud of the picture she produced. Unfortunately Penelope couldn't be persuaded to show her face.

Opposite is the Schlossplatz, which is a beautiful garden square full of people resting on benches and sipping coffee in outdoor cafes. The large building in the picture below is the Koenigsbau, which was built by Wilhelm I in the 1850's for court events and stock-market traders. Now it is an upscale shopping mall. The huge statue in the middle commemorates the king's ascension to the throne.

On either side of the monument are beautiful Neoclassical fountains, complete with frolicking cherubs.

The Schlossplatz also made for an excellent place to change Penelope.

We found Stuttgart to be full of statues and fountains. Here are some of our favorites:

A close up of the fountain in the Schlossplatz

A strange group of curiously erotic statues in the Schlossgarten

A statue of the 18th-century poet Schiller. He spent 7 years studying to be an army doctor in Stuttgart and wrote about how he hated the school and the town. Not quite sure why the city honored him with this statue located in the square called 'Schillerplatz.'

Statue of one of the Dukes of Wuerttemberg located in the courtyard of the Altes Schloss (Old Castle). It is now a museum, but a castle has stood on this spot since 950 AD.

Next we went to the Markthalle where we happened upon a large outdoor market. There were tons of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, jams and gorgeous flowers.

This is also where I learned that artichokes blossom into beautiful flowers.

I stopped to get a snack at a stand selling apples from a local orchard. I didn't recognize any of the names of the apples, but the kind lady in red helped me select the perfect one for eating.

Delicious! When I wasn't looking the apple proved to be the temptation of Penelope, and she snatched a bite (or rather a lick).

Then we wandered around in the Schlossgarten. The trees were just starting to change colors.

All in all, a great city to see. But stay tuned in tomorrow for the real reason we visited Stuttgart. You won't be disappointed...

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