I usually like to do new things on Saturdays. That’s the one day of the week when my husband is home and things are open. Bill is trying to write a paper for one of his cybersecurity classes, so he wasn’t all that keen to go on a long outing today. Since it was getting a bit late when I finally convinced him we needed to get out for a bit, this afternoon we visited the Mercaden Mall in Böblingen for the very first time.
The Mercaden is a new mall. It didn’t exist the last time we lived here. Last time we were here, the only decent mall was Breunigerland in Sindelfingen (There is also Schwaben Galerie in Vaihingen, but that mall doesn’t thrill me much). Breunigerland is terminally crowded and offers a lot of European shops and eateries. We were last there at Christmas, when we rejoined ADAC (the German auto club).
ADAC, by the way, is well worth joining. We were members last time we lived here and our membership paid for itself when our car’s battery died on us while parked long term in a garage. We called ADAC and some guy came out, tested the car, found out what was wrong, and sold us a battery on the spot. That German battery lasted a good five years before it needed replacing. Aside from ADAC, Breunigerland also has upscale shopping. It kind of reminds me of Tyson’s II in the Washington, DC area.
By contrast, Mercaden doesn’t seem quite as upscale, even though it’s a lot newer and more pristine. The stores and eateries are more American. For instance, there’s a McDonald’s in the Mercaden Mall, while Breunigerland only has a freestanding McDonald’s in the parking lot. The Mercaden also has a nice Edeka grocery store and a Dunkin’ Donuts, which I know really gets Americans excited. We did stop by there today and picked up some donut holes. I am here to tell you that they aren’t really the same, though they aren’t bad, either.
Not quite like home, but satisfying enough… They aren’t as sweet as American ones. There is also a Dunkin’ Donuts in Tuebingen.
The Mercaden has plenty of parking in a garage, which you have to pay for. Breunigerland’s parking is free. Mercaden is right next to the Bahnhof in Böblingen, so you don’t have to fool with parking if you don’t want to. The first hour of parking at Mercaden is free, anyway.
I think– but am not positive– that the toilets at Breunigerland are also free, while they cost 70 cents at Mercaden. The price to pee has gone up. It used to be universally pretty much 50 cents everywhere, but now they have a fancy machine that takes the money that has to be paid for. On the plus side, the Mercaden’s toilets are very clean and modern. Someone was actually attending them, so I didn’t mind paying.
We ended up buying food today. First, we had lunch at an Italian pizza and pasta place situated right in the middle of the corridor. It made for good people watching. I got to watch a guy walk his well-behaved labrador retriever around as Bill and I ate pasta washed down with beer.
Bill tells it like it is…
The menu. On the other side, there was a pizza menu. I probably should have gone for the pizza instead of pasta.
Sushi? It also looked good. And so did the doner kebab place next to it.
But I had spaghetti with tomato sauce and bacon…
And Bill had spaghetti with a light cream sauce and basil pesto…
And local suds… I love that a restaurant can be in the middle of a mall corridor and have a full bar.
After lunch, we bought some cheese, wine, deer salami, and Italian butter at an Italian deli. Then we bought a loaf of bread and a pretzel at a bakery. Finally, we got our Dunkin’ Donuts… or donut holes, as it turned out. I actually wanted donuts, but then when I saw them, I decided the holes would be better for my ass. Since they are European Dunkin’ Donuts, they aren’t as sweet anyway. Winning.
One other thing I noticed about Mercaden is that it was not really crowded today. In fact, it seems to be a very pleasant place to shop. Enclosed malls are disappearing in the United States, but they are still pretty popular in Europe, probably because the weather can really suck much of the time. But since today was relatively nice after the rain stopped, there weren’t so many people in the mall. If I’d wanted to, I could have spent a few hours there, but we were home within a couple of hours. After we picked up our stuff, it didn’t seem necessary to stay longer. There was a time in my life when I would have made up a reason to hang out at the mall. I guess I have evolved.
I could go back there again, though I really like shopping online now. The Italian deli might be enough of a reason to go back… and the bakeries, which were very impressive indeed and offered some enticing looking cakes. There were also a lot of ice cream stops… more than I would have expected, really.
Getting out of the garage was an adventure. Bill made a wrong turn and had to circle back around the way he came in so we could leave. But once we were out of the garage, it was very easy to get back on the autobahn and go home. In fact, even though Breunigerland has free parking, Mercaden is an easier mall to navigate into and out of. I give it a thumbs up.