Since we used to live near Stuttgart, I wasn’t planning to write a “ten things I learned” post for our latest jaunt down there, but for some reason, I feel like writing a travel post today. Maybe it’s because I recently made a photo folder for my new computer, and it’s flashing some of my prettiest pictures, as opposed to every picture on my hard drive. A few photos from our latest visit to the Stuttgart area have been included in my photo folder.
So, to satisfy my itch to write about travel, and to maybe generate some new views, here are ten things I learned on our latest trip to Stuttgart. I do learn new things every time I travel, even when it’s to places I’ve been to many times!
10. The TV Tower (Fernsehturm) is closed on Mondays during the winter!
The Fernsehturm is located very close to the Wald Hotel. I’ve been up it twice, and although Bill doesn’t remember going up there with me, I’d swear he went on my second trip. We thought maybe we’d kill time last Monday and go up it again, but alas, it’s closed on Mondays! BUT– after April 1, you can visit on Mondays… until the winter season starts again in November.
9. If you’ve already seen the Blautopf, and you liked looking at the deep blue water, you might also want to visit Brenztopf (Brenzursprung)!
I’m grateful that we were able to come back to Germany, if only because when we were living here the first time, I had never heard of Blautopf, let alone Brenztopf. These are very beautiful ponds in the cavernous areas near Ulm. Blautopf is in Blaubeuren, which is an obviously touristy town and has more facilities. It might be the “better” of the two ponds, given a choice. A visit to Blautopf can be paired with a trip to the Tiefenhöhle (Germany’s deepest show cave open to the public– also open after April 1), in nearby Laichingen.
However, Brenztopf, in Königsbronn, also shouldn’t be missed, for those who like looking at mysterious, beautiful, blue bodies of water. Below are photos from both places. The top three photos are from Blautopf, while the bottom three are from Brenztopf. Both places are probably best visited after April 1, for the “summer” season. On the other hand, if you visit before April 1, there are probably going to be fewer crowds to battle.
8. If you want to get the most out of a visit to Hohenzollern, you might want to wait until the “summer” season starts, on April 1.
It’s cheaper to visit Hohenzollern Castle in the “winter” season, because one can only see the grounds during that time. If you want to actually go into the castle and take a tour, you will need to wait for the warmer months. That is also when the Biergarten opens, although I can’t promise that an April visit will be any better weather wise than a March visit would be. If you’re short on money, a “winter” visit might be better. Tickets are significantly cheaper during the cold months.
7. Taking the bus to Hohenzollern is so worth the money!
I mentioned in my post about Hohenzollern that Bill and I have had the experience of walking up the path to the castle. It’s definitely not for the weak. If you have any physical problems, or you’re just old and out of shape like we are, you might want to spring for the shuttle bus. Just sayin’.
6. Obviously, we need to schedule our dentist appointments AFTER April 1…
You’d think that after so many years of living in Germany, and near Stuttgart in particular, I’d already know this… But then, Bill is the one who schedules these things.
5. Besigheim is a very cute town, especially if you like German wines!
I never would have known about Besigheim if I hadn’t started following Facebook tip groups by Germans, for Germans. I wish we’d taken the time to shop for wines when we visited, but we were both eager to get to the hotel. As it was, we were still stuck in Stuttgart’s famous Staus.
4. Heidenheim is also well worth exploring, although it’s a bit of a hike from Stuttgart.
Now that we’ve seen it, maybe we’ll go back and see Schloss Hellenstein, which overlooks the town and has two museums. The castle dates from the 12th century, although the original version was almost completely destroyed in a fire back in 1530. Right next to the Schloss is a nature park, which has a bird of prey station and serves as home to many wildlife species.
3. It pays to check out restaurants thoroughly when you’re hungry.
When we visited Heidenheim, we wandered around a bit, trying to find a place for lunch. The first restaurant I spotted, La Strada, is where we ended up enjoying a lovely lunch. But we almost missed it, because although there was a menu board outside, the window next to the menu board made it look like the restaurant was deserted. All we had to do was go up a flight of stairs to find the entrance! The “deserted” room on the first floor was just another dining room that wasn’t open for lunch.
2. Always plan for a pause.
We were under the impression that La Strada had a warm kitchen throughout the day on Saturday. However, that turned out not to be the case… Our waiter was eager for us to finish up so he could take a break before the dinner shift. Not that we blame him at all for that!
1. We still haven’t seen everything.
In spite of living in the Stuttgart area for a total of six years– the longest we’ve spent living in any place throughout our 20 year marriage– we still haven’t seen everything there is to see. Although Dr. Blair (our dentist) kids us, we love visiting Stuttgart and going on excursions. I always try to plan for at least a couple of outings to places that are new to us. In the future, maybe we’ll finally visit Kirchheim Unter Teck, the Porsche Museum, or the palace in Ludwigsburg.
There are also places that deserve a second or third look, like Hohenzollern and the TV Tower. Stuttgart looks different during the different seasons, or when the weather changes. I like living in Wiesbaden, and we definitely need to explore more up here, but every time I visit Stuttgart, I’m reminded of just how many things there are to do down there. I always enjoy visiting!
I often compare Stuttgart and Wiesbaden, since we’ve lived in both places. I get a lot of hits from people in the United States on my posts that compare the two places. I know this is because the two US military installations offer similar job opportunities. I want to reiterate that I’ve really enjoyed both areas, although Stuttgart remains more familiar to me, because we lived there longer, and didn’t spend two years in lockdown there. Our most recent trip was yet another reminder of how appealing both areas are, for differing reasons. But really, you can’t go wrong in either place, and on this trip, I was reminded yet again how lucky we are to be able to have and enjoy these experiences in Germany.
So… if you’re a German reading this, allow me to say “Danke sehr!” for being so welcoming and allowing us to get acquainted with your beautiful, interesting, and just plain amazing homeland! Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe next time we visit, I’ll pick a place to the east of Stuttgart to base us, so we can see even more of the places we haven’t seen yet. I’ve got until early October to make plans!