Upon arrival in Stuttgart, I quickly realised I was in quite a different city to Zurich. Seemingly more of an industrial city than Zurich, with a fair bit of construction work occurring, it was initially a bit of a shock to the senses. However, by the time I’d checked into the hostel and made myself at home, I was properly acclimatised to these new surroundings. Heading out into the city centre, I was determined to see what this city could show me.
Well, I’d like to say I did a full exploration that evening, but the truth is that I got distracted quite quickly. The distraction in question was the “Hamburger Fishmarkt”, a fish market that was in town for the week or so. However, this wasn’t quite your usual fish market. Stalls and huts there were selling beer, sausages, desserts, even gherkins – as well plenty of fish. With some stalls blaring out music, while others shouted about their fish, the whole event had a very lively atmosphere. Not wanting to miss out, I grabbed a beer and something which was effectively a Baileys doughnut (think of a doughnut, but with Baileys instead of raspberry jam) and took it all in. In the end, I decided it was effectively what would happen if a fish stall and a Christmas market were mixed. If more fish markets were like this, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing!
I’d originally planned that the next morning would be a pretty chilled one, with a late wake up. However, the universe had other ideas. I awoke to an asynchronous symphony of snoring, courtesy of two chaps in my room. The volume of these snores rendered sleep incredibly difficult to return to. Somehow it did come back to me, as the next thing I knew was that I was being woken again – this time by a cacophony of church bells. It turned out the nearby church was having a service and the noise of their bells was able to resonate throughout the hostel room, making it feel as if you were stood next to the bells themselves. Not willing to wait for the next disruption, I dragged myself out of bed to face the day.
Strolling around Stuttgart, the map I had (which contained tourist suggestions) was only available in German, in which I am not fluent. Consequently, while I did see a lot of sights, I’m not too certain what the history behind them is. However, at one point in the main square I did stumble across a jazz band playing, so that was pretty cool. Later, after discovering the opera house had an outside speaker system (by almost being deafened by classical music when I strolled by), I decided to go and get a good view of the city from up high. Following the map, this took me to a Chinese garden, located next to a vineyard about 10 minutes from the main train station. From this hidden gem, I could see across the whole city, including its old town – just take a look for yourself:
That evening, I set off with the aim of finding a quiet bar to have a drink in. However, I’d failed to take into account what the big event of the evening was – the Euro 2016 final, France v Portugal. Every bar and restaurant around had wheeled out their televisions and were packed to the rafters with football fans. After a while of wandering, I decided it would be easiest to return to the hostel and have a drink there. When the final score came through, I headed to bed. Yet, from my room I could hear horns blaring and fans shouting, so they were obviously happy France lost!
This morning’s wake up was a much nicer affair, with no snoring and no church bells. Making the most of my 12 noon check out, I slowly had breakfast, packed and made my way to the station. That’s where I write to you now, from Stuttgart station waiting for my train which will whizz me up the western side of Germany, to Bonn!