After three flights, 17 hours and a few times zones we landed in Stuttgart Germany the morning after we left the U.S. Our European vacation was started there. Part of our motivation in going to Germany was to visit our good friend Lila from our college days who lives there. Plus, Germany is home to some of the greatest car manufacturers in the world and pure magic at Christmas time.
We flew from Chicago to Dusseldorf, then on to Stuttgart where we met up with Lila at the hotel where we were staying. We headed off (after no sleep on the planes) to find some delicious German food and hit the Mercedes museum. Check and check.
That evening (we fought jet lag with lots of coffee and being outdoors) we went to the Stuttgart Christmas market. It was amazing, I felt like I was just walking around with my mouth open in dumbfounded amazement and happiness. We had the most incredible street food and lots of gluehwein and stayed out until the scandalous hour of 9p.
After getting back to our hotel Edder and I crashed HARD for 12 hours. In fact, our friend had to call to wake us up the next morning because we had a train to catch to Ludwigsburg, a village not too far from Stuttgart. We flew out of bed, and that’s when the jet lag hit me hard. I felt like I was on some crazy drug and I kept telling Edder that he looked “very german.” Yeah, I don’t know either… I was out of it. I just kept staring at him. He was all… COME ON! MOVE. So I did. It took me a few hours to wind it up and get with the program. Thankfully I had two people to lead me around Stuttgart to find and eat a thoroughly European breakfast. It took me a good hearty breakfast, a train ride and a few hours before I came to my senses.
Stuttgart was a lovely German town, if not a bit industrial. Ludwigsburg however, was the type of place you think of when you think “German village.” It was quaint and sweet, the houses and streets were what I had imagined they would be. We had gone to Ludwigsburg to see the great Ludwigsburg Castle and got to the Christmas market. The castle ended up being my favorite tour we did on our entire EU trip. It was fascinating! The history and the layout of the place, all of it. I was mesmerized. After wandering around and taking a tour of the castle we took a break for German beer, then headed out to the Ludwigsburg Christmas market.
The Ludwigsburg Christmas Market has been deemed the most beautiful of all the German Christmas markets. I have to agree. Out of the two I went to (so you know i’m an authority…. blink, blink…. blink), this was the prettiest. We wandered around, again I was in this happy, blissful daze… just watching and looking and taking it all in. I can still smell it when I think about it. The sounds of the German Christmas carols being sung all around just amplified the entire experience. We wandered around with more gluehwein doing some shopping.
After the market we found an authentic German restaurant for dinner, I had one of the most incredible meals of my life. Maybe it’s because I’m part German, or because Kansas is so very German, but it felt like home there. It was so comfortable, I was so happy, the food made me feel like I was eating dinner in my Grandma’s kitchen. It was just…. incredible. My whole perception of Germany was blown out of the water and I left that country wishing I could have stayed longer and thinking about when I could return. It felt oddly like home, but in a more magical, beautiful way.
Unfortunately we only had a few days in Germany. After our day in Ludwigsburg we returned to Stuttgart, went to sleep and woke up early to get a proper German breakfast then take the train to the airport… we were heading off to Florence, Italy!
Time was already flying, but I was so happy. Looking back, we should have stayed in Germany… we fit in with the Germans perfectly. The Italians… whooooo boy, my perceptions and expectations of Italy also got blown out of the water, but in a totally different way than my perceptions of Germany. Italy…. now THAT was an adventure.
*our welcome to stuttgart, our official welcome to germany was in dusseldorf at 6a their time when the intimidating german men in customs screamed at us asking why we were in germany. not at all terrifying…*
*inside the mercedes museum*
*lila belle and i at schloss stuttgart (the stuttgart castle)*
*stuttgart christmas market*
*stuttgart christmas market*
For more of our pictures from Germany you can check out my Flickr account!