Friday, August 29, 2014

A Nature Walk in Stuttgart

On a tip from another expat blogger I hopped on the train yesterday to explore a huge park in Stuttgart. I've never found Stuttgart to be very attractive (but good for concerts & musicals, the Christmas Market, and shopping), and that's why I went - I wanted to see a pretty side of the big city!

Travel Tip:
I planned to stop in Herrenberg on the way back to explore its Altstadt, so I bought the MetropolTagesTicket for €20, which is valid on all slow trains and buses as well as the U-Bahn and S-Bahn for a large area surrounding Stuttgart - and includes Horb! It's a better deal with more people - each travel companion up to 4 pays just €4 additional, so adding even just one friend (or mother-in-law) to your day trip cuts your cost down to €12 (€24 for 2 travelers). If you happen to have 4 friends who want to galavant around a large part of Baden-Württemberg with you for a day, you each pay only €7.20!

I went first to the Tourist Info near the Hauptbahnhof on Königsstraße and picked up some brochures and a map. Armed with notes from the blog post about how to get to several parks, I found the U-Bahn (first time for me in the Stuttgart U-Bahn), got on the U14 toward Remseck, and got off at the Wilhelma (Stuttgart's Zoo). In hindsight I wish I had taken the U5 all the way to Killesberg Park even though the timing of this shorter walk worked out well.

It was a beautiful day (the only one this week) for a very nice walk through a gorgeous park. It was not crowded, but there were plenty people enjoying the day as I was - jogging, pushing prams, lying on the grass, sitting on one of the many benches, reading, feeding the water birds (the birds encouraged that behavior, though I don't think wildlife experts do), power-walking on their lunch break, schnuggling with a lover...

Mom and Dad forged a path through the slime for their young 'uns


There is something wonderfully romantic about willow trees.

This Children's Book Exchange Station is located near a pavilion for a children's program and playground. The instructions on the side tell children to first bring and leave a book, and then take one. An early lesson in the honor system AND a promotion of reading books!

Ah...Germany and her rules. On this stretch of grass, you may lie down and strike a sexy pose (or creepy, depending on how you look at it), but you may not let your dog loose or have a ball.

I'm sure there's a good reason for this.

Thus endeth my walk through the Rosensteingarten. I crossed a street and followed a sign to the Schloßgarten, but the only picture I took there was of some men playing chess on a huge chess board with pieces half as tall as they were. I haven't seen one of those in years.

At this point I was back near  the muddy abyss known as Stuttgart 21, and found a walkway leading back to the Bahnhof. Naturally the next train to Herrenberg was leaving three minutes from then and there was no way for me to get to the platform that fast, so I grabbed a sandwich at one of the kiosks and waited 30 minutes for the next S-Bahn.

Travel Tip:
Make at least one of your meals each day a grab-and-go. Get a sandwich from a kiosk and a bottle of whatever you want to drink from a grocery store, and you will save yourself time and money. If you buy your drink at the kiosk you'll pay more, so when you're walking around in the morning and notice a grocery store, pop in and grab a bottle of water. You might even find a bottle of Coke in the refrigerated drinks section of the store. If you get a cheap drink and a sandwich at a kiosk, you can have a filling-enough lunch for €5 or €6. Eat it on a park bench while you people-watch. Later in the afternoon when you need a rest, you can find a cafe and treat yourself to a coffee.

I love a good sit down meal in a nice restaurant, but when the purpose of my day trip is to explore towns and cities, I bring a small bottle of water from home and for lunch grab a sandwich - maybe a Leberkäsweckle, but usually a sub sandwich on good German bread! There are all kinds of options, and that day I went with Tomaten-Mozzarella mit Basilikum, so basically a caprese sandwich. Instead of a sit-down lunch where I would have felt obligated to buy a drink as well, would have tipped the waitress and taken an hour for lunch, I paid €3.60 and ate on the train, saving time.

So then...on to Herrenberg.


  1. There are so many great places for day trips near you, I am jealous! Also, my boyfriend is Swabian (from Ravensburg), and he desperately wants to move back to Baden-Württemberg. So, your posts also make me quite fond of the idea of moving there someday...

    1. There must be tons of places like that near you too, aren't there? That said, I highly recommend Baden-Württemberg. Rich with history, beauty, Fachwerk Strasse, Romantische Strasse, the Rhein, the Danube, the Neckar, the Black Forest, castles... At least you must find a time to take an extended vacation down here. You won't regret it. :-)

      On one of my trips here with students a few years ago, they had their home stay in Ravensburg, so I've stayed there, too. A very nice area, though I don't know it as well as others.