On Sunday, we headed off from our AirBNB in Cologne back to the HBF, to catch our train to Stuttgart. We managed to find the correct carriage for our reserved first class seats. We had an enjoyable journey to Stuttgart, including table service. Ulick had ordered cappuccino, but we had to make do with regular filter coffee, as their espresso machine was broken.
The train was also running about an hour late. So much for what they say about German trains and efficiency!
We arrived at Stuttgart, and went to the tourism information centre to buy a Stuttcard PLUS. This provides public transport and museum entry. By showing our Eurail passes, we also got 15% off the price of the Stuttcards (so €22.95 instead of €27 each).
We couldn’t figure out the process for validating them for public transport. We were meant to be able to do this at the orange ticket machines – but no matter which way up you inserted them, they could not be read. We used the cards for several trips during our overnight stay in Stuttgart, and were never asked for tickets anyway.
We found a train (well a train and a changeover to another train) to get us close to our accommodation at the Park Inn. We were pleased to checkin and get our rucksacks off our backs. Although I still maintain that rucksacks are far more practicable than wheeled suitcases. The Park Inn has been our first accommodation with a working elevator, so imagine carrying our wheeled suitcases up four flights of stairs, which is what we would have done in Amsterdam, and two flights in Cologne, as well as countless others at train stations etc.
We had a quick checkover our lodging at the Park Inn before heading off to the Mercedes Benz Museum. By this stage, Ulick was complaining of being hungry, having only eaten a banana and some leftover pretzel from the night before (it was buttered and microwaved so completely edible). It was after lunch time, so I promised we would eat when we got to the Mercedes Benz Museum.
We managed to find the right combination of U train and S train to get us nearby to the Museum. Our Stuttcard provided us with entry (normally €10 each). Each of our U train journeys would have been €2.37 if we had paid for a ticket each time, so I think our 24-hour pass was about breakeven. If we had more time on Monday we could have made better use of it – although many museums in Stuttgart are closed on Monday!)
Back to the Mercedes Benz Museum. We had a quick lunch, and put our jackets and my bag in the garderobe (coat room).
We collected our audio guides, and went in an elevator to floor 8.
The Mercedes Benz Museum has around 160 vehicles, from the 1800s to present. There are galleries highlighting particular modes of transport, including transportation, emergency services, new technology and racing.
It would have been easy to spend a whole day in there, but by 4.30pm I was getting a bit over it. It was getting dark outside, and we needed to walk back to the station, and find our way to the Christmas market!
The Christmas market was a short walk from Stuttgart Central Station. Having been to a few markets last night in Cologne, it was pretty much more of the same. It wasn’t as busy (cosy) as the Cologne markets, which was nice. The highlight of the Stuttgart market was probably the lit up sculptures.
After I had had my fill of Christmas marketing, we headed back to Central Station and caught a train back to Marienplatz station (close to our hotel). We had a traditional German dinner at Onkel Otto’s. Enjoying Schnitzel with Noodles (Spatzle) (Swabian Schnitzel) served with Gravy.
The meal was delicious, and luckily we had enough cash between us to pay for it – as they only took German debits cards!!
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to put our legs up. Walking tally for the day was about 11km.