Yesterday, Bill and I had to take care of a couple of personal chores. First, I had to get my regular dependent I.D. replaced– the one I would use back in the States. I had it made in 2014 at Fort Sam Houston, just before Bill retired from the Army. Four years have passed, and it expired on my birthday. I never use it over here, so I had forgotten to get it redone when it expired in June. We finally got around to renewing it at Patch Barracks.
I’ve had a bunch of I.D.s made over the total of six years we’ve lived in the Stuttgart area, more than I’ve ever had done anywhere, but this was the first time I’ve had one done at Patch. Since the I.D. office is in the same building Bill worked in during our first Germany stint, it was kind of nostalgic to go there.
On the way out of the I.D. office, Bill called my attention to the “amnesty box” on the wall by the police station. I had never seen one before, so he was explaining what it was used for. That’s where people drop off any bullets they’ve taken off the shooting range. Apparently, taking bullets off post is verboten. That led to us talking about whether or not it’s dangerous to drop bullets. Bill assures me it’s not.
As we were leaving, a military police officer was ticketing someone who didn’t park in a proper spot. I suppose it’s not surprising, given how scarce parking can be at Patch. It was an even bigger problem when we were here the first time. I won’t miss the scarce parking in these parts, although it could be just as bad where we’re going.
Next, we went to Stuttgart, where we had about 90 minutes to kill before I paid yet another visit to my fabulous dentist, Dr. Blair. We stopped by the Biergarten at the Paulaner am alten Postplatz and had a beer before the appointment. It’s getting pretty cold here now and there was a stiff breeze. I was glad I wore a sweater. Meanwhile, my friends in the South are complaining about the heat.
An afternoon weizen downtown… The waitress laughed when I slurred the word “weizen” and said “weithen” instead.
We broke the news to Dr. Blair that we’re going to have to move. I think we will keep seeing him, because he truly is the best dentist I have ever had. He did an outstanding job on my implant. I can’t even tell it’s not my real tooth. Recently, he’s been monitoring a patch of red on my gums, well beneath the gumline. It’s just a faint red line at this point, but he’s been watching it since June. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a conscientious doctor of any kind. Dr. Blair says he has a lot of patients in Wiesbaden, since it’s less than two hours away by train. Besides, there’s always a chance we’ll come back to Stuttgart at some point.
After the appointment, we walked around downtown, where they’re setting up for the historical Cannstatter Fest. This year, besides the regular Volksfest that goes on in Bad Cannstatt, there will also be an old fashioned/historic one at the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Food booths were already going up yesterday, along with old fashioned rides.
I got a few pictures of the progress being made and enjoyed music being played by a couple of talented street buskers. One guy was singing a pretty good rendition of “You Raise Me Up”, which is a song that many people love. Personally, I’ve heard it a few too many times on shows like America’s Got Talent, but I was impressed by his efforts, even if he was singing to pre-recorded music. Another guy was strumming a lute while using his foot to play a tambourine. I got Bill to contribute a couple of euros, since I think it’s impressive to see people play two instruments at once.
Then, we decided to have dinner at Besitos Tapas y Mas, a Spanish chain restaurant not far from Calwer Strasse. I had noticed it while we were sitting at the Biergarten across the street. Besitos has locations in eight German cities, mostly scattered in the southern part of the country. I had not heard of it before last night, but we decided we wanted to go somewhere different.
Besitos is a large restaurant, with plenty of outside and indoor seating. It’s very casual, although they do take reservations.
We arrived at the restaurant just as it was opening at 5:00pm. A large group of students entered right before us and took a big table near the bar. We found a table near the wall and took a look at the menu, which mostly consists of hot and cold tapas, cocktails, and a few main courses. Although I wouldn’t have minded a cocktail, I decided it might be better to stick with beer. Some of the cocktails at Besitos are quite expensive and I wanted something quenching. We ordered five different tapas to split: hummus (which came with bread), chicken with coconut curry sauce, ham croquettes, patatas bravas (roasted potatoes with salsa brava), and garlic toast. Our waiter was a heavily inked and pierced guy, who seemed laid back but efficient. He handled his job fine.
A look at the interior before it started filling up with people.
Garlic toast. Not the most exciting tapa out there, but satisfying enough.
The whole spread. The hummus was a little disappointing because it was a bit grainy and lacked flavor. The sauce on the potatoes was much like the sauce that came with the chicken. However, though nothing was particularly special, neither was anything offensive.
My favorite of the tapas was the ham croquettes. They were crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, just like me. I also liked the chicken and wished we’d ordered two of those. One small piece wasn’t quite enough. The potatoes were plentiful and tasted good. I liked the way they were roasted.
When it came time to leave, I went down to the ladies room. That’s kind of where our otherwise pleasant experience went a bit south. I don’t know why, but the restroom smelled a lot like diarrhea. It’s possible that the restroom always smells bad. Perhaps there is a sewer gas problem. However, during our visit, the stench was overwhelming and I couldn’t stand to be in there longer than a couple of minutes. It reeked of a full on blowout diaper or something. Nasty!
Bill said he saw our waiter down there with a can of air freshener, so maybe someone had an accident and he was responding to a complaint. It was pretty rank and, unfortunately, that didn’t leave me with a great impression. I also noticed that the restaurant was a little grimy, like maybe it could have used a good cleaning in some places. The menus were obviously well loved and had what appeared to be dried beverage stains on them. However, it’s clearly a popular spot with the young crowd and lots of people were eating there as we were leaving.
We ultimately left on a good note, because our waiter had thought we were Germans and only asked us if we were American when he noticed U.S. dollars in Bill’s wallet. When he realized we weren’t natives, he switched to perfect English that sounded American. Then he complimented Bill on his German skills and thanked him for what was probably a more American style tip. Overall, I thought the food at Besitos was okay, but the disgusting smell in the restroom was a huge turn off. No one wants to smell diarrhea, especially after eating. It makes one wonder what caused the fecal explosion. But then, as we all know, shit happens…
On the way back to our car, I noticed a couple of wine bars on Calwer Strasse that I hadn’t noticed on previous visits.
This one was a tiny hole in the wall, but it looked inviting.
Maybe we’ll have a chance to try both places before it’s time to head north.
Anyway, we’ll definitely be back in Stuttgart one more time for a cleaning before we move to Wiesbaden. I’ll miss being close to this town, which I’ve finally gotten to know. The first time we lived in Germany, we never went to Stuttgart except for a couple of times. Thanks to my dental dramas, we’ve come to enjoy visiting on occasion, despite the hellish traffic that surrounds it. Guess it’s time to become familiar with the ICE train.