Sundays, trip planning

The next big trip was decided by a quarter…

October is approaching, which means it’ll soon be time for us to visit Stuttgart again for dental cleanings. We had originally booked the dentist for October 3, but that’s a holiday in Germany. Our dentist’s receptionist later called and rescheduled us for October 2. That got me to thinking about potential travel opportunities after the appointment. It occurred to me that maybe we should get out of the country for German Reunification Day.

As is my habit, when we go to Stuttgart, I’m making some tentative plans to go somewhere. Taking a side trip after seeing the dentist kind of lessens the trauma of the experience, even if it does kind of add to the cost.

For the past couple of years, when we’ve seen the dentist in the fall, we’ve gone to Baiersbronn, in the Schwarzwald. It’s a picturesque area, with many good restaurants and things to do. This year, as much as I like the Black Forest, I think it’s time to do something different. So, after our Hundepension confirmed that they have space for Noyzi, Bill and I started talking about where we might go for our dental side trip. Stuttgart is kind of an advantageous area, as it’s not too far from France, Switzerland, Austria, or even the Czech Republic.

We had originally wanted to book Noyzi starting on Sunday, October 1, but the dog hotel doesn’t do check-ins on Sundays. So that means we have to bring him on either Saturday or Monday, giving us a couple of days in the Stuttgart area.

When we stay in Stuttgart, we often book the Wald Hotel, which is a favorite lodging of ours. But while we like the hotel, we also enjoy other towns near Stuttgart. So, for our upcoming visit, I proposed staying in either Esslingen or Tübingen– two very pretty towns we both love that are near Stuttgart. We already know Tübingen very well, since we used to live very close to it during our first German stint. We’ve only been to Esslingen a couple of times. We decided either would be fine bases other than Stuttgart. To choose where we should go, we flipped a coin. Esslingen won, so now I’m looking for good lodging options in and around that area.

Then, we decided to plan where to go after the cleanings were done, since we’ll have a few days to burn, and the following weekend is a US holiday. We did another coin flip. First, it was between Austria and Switzerland. Switzerland won, so we flipped again between Switzerland and Germany. Switzerland won again! Then, we did one for Switzerland and the Czech Republic. That time, the Czech Republic won.

I’m happy about the results, because we haven’t gone to the Czech Republic since 2018. We used to visit the Czech Republic pretty often when we lived in Germany the first time, but we’ve been neglecting it lately. I’ve been very interested in visiting Brno, among other places… I am hoping to find some more art for our walls.

So… that’s the plan for our next big trip for now. I’m going to look for a place in Esslingen and/or its environs. Then, we’re going on a road trip to the Czech Republic, to show off our nice, clean teeth. Should be fun… Maybe this will keep me busy while Bill is in Bavaria this week, doing his TDY duty!

I really hate it when Bill travels for work without me, but at least we no longer have a dog with cancer to take care of. And our sweet Noyzi has really bonded to us. I suspect the week will be pretty peaceful. I do enjoy trip planning!

I wish I could write about something fun today, but Bill is busy preparing for his trip. I thought maybe we’d go to the Hofheim Wine Fest this weekend, but I just didn’t feel like it yesterday. My stomach was bothering me, and I didn’t want to upset it further with too much wine. We stayed home and hung out instead, which is always a pleasure. And… of course, I drank beer and wine, too. So much for babying my stomach, but at least I didn’t have to put on a bra.

The featured photo is the actual quarter we flipped to come to this preliminary decision… We’ll see what we actually end up planning, as even coin toss trip plans are subject to change… Heh heh… I said “change”! See what I did there?

Edited to add: After searching for a place in Esslingen, I ended up deciding to a book a hotel in Tübingen, after all. It’s one we’ve been curious about for awhile, as we’ve eaten in their restaurant a few times– Hotel La Casa. I got an apartment for three nights at a pretty reasonable rate.


Places near Stuttgart to get your animal fix…

I usually update my blog on the weekends, but we are going to Italy for the Labor Day holiday and I may be indisposed.  Aside from that, my husband is on his way back to Germany today and I’m trying to keep busy.  With that in mind, I thought I’d write a post for those looking for local places to visit animals.  A few of my suggestions may be well-known or even obvious, but I hope to surprise a few people with something unexpected.  I don’t have children, but I think it’s safe to say that all of these places are kid friendly.

I’m going to list these in no particular order.  We visited each place at least once and you can search the blog for my reviews.  Here goes…

Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Park- Stuttgart

I might as well start with the obvious, Wilhelma Zoo, which is located in the Bad Canstatt area of Stuttgart.  I went there for the second time a couple of weeks ago and had a pretty good time visiting the animals.  Some people seem to think this zoo is outdated and poorly maintained.  Although I know there are better zoos out there, I had a good time visiting the one in Stuttgart.  It does get crowded and, at 16 euros per adult, is probably the most expensive choice on my list.  But I have to include it because obviously, you’d go to a zoo to see animals, right?  And this zoo includes plants, an aquarium, a petting area, and access to a public park, as well as a pretty cool insect exhibit.  You can spend a few hours at the zoo and still not see it all.  It does get crowded on nice days, but I think it’s worth a visit, if only to make you appreciate some of the other choices.  Public transportation is a snap, since there’s a station right outside the main gate.  Also, the sea lions are fun to watch!

I think s/he stole the show!

Tierpark NymphaeaEsslingen

Germany has what they call “Tierparks” (animal parks).  They’re basically like small zoos that are more kid focused.  So far, we’ve visited two of them and at both parks, it was easy to pet and feed some of the animals.  We visited Tierpark Nymphaea a couple of weeks ago, mainly because I’d repeatedly heard it was a nice place to take kids.  Although the animals at the park were not particularly exotic, it was a lot of fun to feed and pet the donkeys and goats.  And you can also feed the ducks and deer and look at all of the other animals who live at the park.  Tierpark Nymphaea offers a nice, stroller friendly trail around a large, attractive lake and a number of interesting exhibits. Afterwards, your kids can play while you enjoy a beer in the Biergarten.

A very persistent goat begs for popcorn.


Der Kleine Tierpark Göppingen- Göppingen


Speaking of Tierparks, we visited one last year in the town of Göppingen, a city east of Stuttgart, kind of on the way to Ulm.  To be honest, I’m not sure where I first heard about this park.  I do have a German friend from Göppingen, but although she is an animal lover, she’s not a mom and she currently lives in North Carolina.  This park, compared to Tierpark Nymphaea, is a bit smaller.  However, there is a wider variety of animals at this park, including camels and monkeys.  I’m not sure I’d necessarily advise a road trip there unless you’re already in the neighborhood, but I did enjoy meeting their friendly camels and goats, who are pros at scoring food.

What, me worry?

Wildpark Pforzheim- Pforzheim

Of all of the animal friendly places I’m going to list today, Wildpark Pforzheim is probably my favorite.  This is a huge park in the Black Forest where you only pay to park and buy some food.  Then, you and your little ones can scurry around the park mingling with deer, elk, Highland cows, mini horses, owls, donkeys, and many other friendly animals looking for a handout.  Seriously… this is a great park.  Not only is there a huge array of animals to be visited, there’s also a ropes course and playground equipment.  You could easily spend several hours here, enjoying the many exhibits and burning energy.  Highly recommended!

A wild cat on the prowl!  This is one of the animals you aren’t allowed to feed!


Alternativer Wolf und Bärenpark Schwarzwald- Bad Rippoldsau-Sheppach


This small park in the Black Forest hamlet of Bad Rippoldsau-Sheppach is home to bears, wolves, and lynxes.  Many of the animals at this sanctuary were once circus performers or zoo animals.  This isn’t really like a Tierpark or a zoo; it’s really more of a place where these animals can live out their lives in peace.  In 1996, I visited Bulgaria and, in those days, many Roma people were making money with “dancing bears”.  These bears had been trained to “dance” via cruel methods involving pain and heat.  Since I had actually witnessed cruelty toward bears in Bulgaria, I was very glad to see that the animals at this park in Germany have such a nice home out in the forest.  Although this is a small park and doesn’t take long to visit, it can be combined with a number of other activities in the area.

One of the more social wolves at the park.

Monkey Hill-Affenberg Salem  

If you prefer feeding monkeys, you can venture to Monkey Hill, a really cool park near Lake Constance, maybe 90 minutes or so south of Stuttgart.  Those who have been to Monkey Mountain in Kintzheim, France, may already be familiar with the concept.  That’s because both parks, as well as another one in France and one in Great Britain, are owned by the same people.  At this park, you walk around a loop and offer popcorn to docile monkeys who gently take it from you.  Although you aren’t allowed to pet the monkeys, it is fun to feed them.  Some will practically mug for the camera as they take popcorn from you.  This is probably my second favorite animal activity on the list.

Sweet family portrait… not of my family, mind you.

Fischzucht Zordel- Neuenbürg/Eyachtal

And finally, here’s a place where you can feed fish… and they can feed you.  This fish farm near Pforzheim appears to be a very kid friendly activity.  You or your kids can feed the fish, then have a nice lunch of fresh or smoked trout.  I’ll leave it up to parents to decide if they want to tell their children what will happen to the fish they feed.  Still, it’s a lot of fun and, if you like fish, you can get some very fresh trout here.

Fish waiting to be fed and harvested.


I know I’m probably leaving off some places, but these are the places I have been to and can evaluate based on personal experience.  I figure this list will give people a good start for the time being.  Frankly, for my money, the Wildpark Pforzheim is the best of the lot, offering the most fun for the euro.  I hope you’ll visit and let me know if you agree!


Tierpark Nymphaea and an onion fest in Esslingen!

Everybody’s got a hungry goat…

Bill and I decided not to do anything yesterday because I was entertaining everyone’s favorite aunt.  Said aunt has mostly vacated today and we had absolutely beautiful weather, so we decided to do something we hadn’t done before– visit the Tierpark Nymphaea outside of Esslingen.  Although I don’t have children and this is a very kid friendly activity, I do love to visit animals.  I had heard from many of the mommies in the Stuttgart area that the Tierpark Nymphaea was a very nice park and I could see from their official Web site that they had plenty of animals, some of whom could be fed or petted by visitors.

I do love visiting animals, but I also like to do new things so I can keep my blog posts fresh.  So, even though Esslingen is a good distance away from where we live, we decided to make the journey.  Fortunately, the weather was lovely today.  There was nothing but sunshine and agreeable temperatures with a very pleasant breeze.  It was the perfect day to visit the park.  I know this for certain because a shitload of other people had the same idea we did.

Lesson learned…  Don’t assume the lot by the front door is full.

Information about the park and its restaurant.

And yes, there is a Biergarten for the adults.

And a playground for the wee ones.

Here’s one thing to know about the Tierpark Nymphaea.  Parking is kind of limited.  There are a couple of small lots that were mostly full when we got there at a little after noon.  Many people were parked on the side of a narrow road.  Fortunately, we drove my Mini Cooper, so parking wasn’t too bad for us.  Also, it turned out that a lot of people had parked before they reached the lot closest to the entrance.  There were several spots open there, though they were claimed when we left about an hour later.

So… anyway… the Tierpark Nymphaea was well-attended today.  There were lots of mommies and daddies there with their little ones, many of whom rode in strollers.  We purchased two adult tickets at four euros each and a bucket of popcorn for 1,70, which can be used to feed some of the animals.  The ones that aren’t allowed to be fed have big signs on their enclosures.  The lucky ones that can be fed will beg for your popcorn and follow you like a hungry dog along the fencelines of their pens.  Below are some pictures I took of some of the animals.  I was hoping to visit with the pony, but s/he was in a stall and didn’t want to come out.  Ditto for some of the other animals.  I did have a good visit with the goats, ducks, donkeys, and deer, though.

Bill grabs the popcorn.  It was plenty for the loop around the park.  We had enough to go back for another visit with the goats.

A duck pond which opens into a small lake, where lots of other fowl and fish live in harmony.

A colorful golden pheasant.  It comes from a small part of Asia.

This male donkey was wearing Hosen on his front legs.

Other ducks were cavorting among the masses.  Delighted children were tossing popcorn to the happy birds.

The goats were popular and friendly.  A couple of them were happy to be petted while they munched popcorn.  I liked that the fence was low so that it was easy for kids to pet them.

The lake was pretty.  I spotted one person with their dog, who was well-behaved and on a leash.  You can bring yours, too, as long as he or she doesn’t try to eat the ducks like mine would.

Brave man!

An impressive honeybee exhibit.  They sell honey at the cashier’s booth, too.  

Colorful birds.

And the turtles… we happened to get there just in time for them to be fed.  The attendant walked into their enclosure and started tossing the food into the water.  The turtles went for it like a pack of hungry dogs.

Guinea pigs from Chile, where they are a delicacy.

There were also snakes.  I didn’t take pictures of them because they were all hiding.  I did take note of this sign, though, since the snake is from California, but the map indicates the southeastern USA.

We spent some time with the deer, since we had plenty of popcorn and they were eager to have it.  That buck was especially assertive about begging for popcorn.  He followed me as far as he could, pleading for more.

It wasn’t as easy to visit with the deer.  Obviously, if they had a lower fence, it would be easy for them to peace out of the park.  But they did seem to be a happy and well fed lot.

A female donkey sans Hosen.  She wasn’t social.

A plucky goat begs for food.

The goats were a real hoot.

Once we ran out of popcorn, we headed to the gastatte, where there are toilets as well as a small aquarium.  A terrarium is in the process of being constructed.

I liked the aquarium.

Our visit to Nymphaea took less than an hour, but it was an hour well spent.  I enjoyed hanging out with the animals.  Last year, we visited a different Tierpark located in Göppingen, a city on the way to Ulm.  It was interesting to compare Nymphaea with the Little Tierpark in Göppingen.  Göppingen’s park is much smaller than Nymphaea, but offers many more exotic animals.  They have camels and monkeys, for instance, while Nymphaea has chickens.  You can read about my experience there by searching the blog.  I think Nymphaea is overall a nicer park, but Göppingen has a wider variety of animals.

Here’s a view of the parking situation as we were leaving.  A man stopped me as Bill was backing out of our spot.  He wanted to claim it.  If you come on a day like today, I recommend getting there early. I have heard there is a garage nearby, but I didn’t actually see it.


Rather than eating at the crowded park, we decided to go into Esslingen.  It’s always a pleasure to visit this beautiful city, but we don’t get there often because we live pretty far away.  Today happened to be one of the days of the annual Esslinger Zwiebelfest, too.  You know the word Zwiebel, right?  It means onion.  That’s right.  The Germans will have a fest dedicated to onions.  The Germans will party for any reason at all!

A couple of shots of the pretty main square.  Esslingen was pretty chill this morning, despite the onion party.

The entrance to the onion fest.

And the church.

The onion fest appeared to be mainly about eating German food and swilling beer.  I wasn’t in the mood for traditional German food, though.

We ended up at HendlBurg, which I guess is the new name of what used to be called HendlHouse.  HendlBurg is a chain restaurant that specializes in roasted chicken, although there are also other choices available for those who would rather eat something else.  


We both had Hefeweizens.  Bill had the half garlic chicken, which is a rotisserie chicken smothered in garlic and served with fries.  He loved it.  I tried it and liked it, too.

I had the barbecue half chicken.  This came with a sweet and spicy sauce that tasted of oranges and attracted bees, wasps, and flies.  It tasted good, although next time I think I’ll get a plain chicken or maybe the garlic chicken.  The sauce was a little too spicy for me.  If you’re a fan of spicy, you’d probably love this.  I’m afraid my roots are a little too Celtic for that stuff.  

The fries came with a side of ketchup.  Notice the container it’s in– basically the bottom of an ice cream cone.  I guess they do that for environmental reasons.

Lunch was very economical.  It came to just 26 euros.  The restrooms were clean, although if you want to use it and aren’t a customer, they ask you to pay fifty cents.  I was a customer, so I didn’t pay.  I wonder how many people boldly go in there, pee, and don’t bother with the fifty cents.

After lunch, we wandered through the very small onion fest so we could say we were there.  Then we headed home.  It was a perfect day to enjoy my convertible on the Autobahn.

Yeah, the Zwiebelfest was the place to be today, if onions are your thing.  I noticed a couple of familiar food trucks who will surely be at the upcoming annual Weindorf that will be going on in downtown Stuttgart in a couple of weeks.  If you are curious about the Esslinger onion fest, I believe tomorrow is the last day.  

A Frauenplatz in the parking garage.  How civilized!  No, we didn’t use it.

That about does it for today’s blog post.  I will end with one last thought.  I think as animal related outings go, my favorite is the Wildpark Pforzheim.  I like it even more than the Wilhelma Zoo, although I will admit it’s been about ten years since my last visit to the zoo.  Maybe we’re due for another visit to either place.  We’ll see what happens next weekend.


Entertained in Esslingen!

Special thanks to Ellen in the local Facebook group for cluing me in on this weekend’s Buerger Fest in Esslingen.  Bill and I decided to go today and had a fantastic time.  Esslingen is a great town!

At about 11:30am, Bill asked me what I wanted to do today.  I mentioned that I’d heard there was going to be a fest in Esslingen.  Esslingen is about 55 minutes away from us by train and probably about the same by car, depending on the staus and parking situation.  I thought it would be fun anyway, at least until we headed out to the car and I noticed the heavy clouds hanging overhead.  Bill was determined, though, so we hopped on the S1 in Herrenberg and traveled to Esslingen.

I took lots of photos today and I’ve had a few beers, so this will be a photo heavy post.  Before I get started, I need to say one more time that Esslingen is an awesome town.  Today’s visit was only my third time visiting and in August I’m coming up on having spent a total of four years living near Stuttgart.  Last time we visited was last year about this time.  It was broiling hot and we had my mom with us.  Mom isn’t able to walk as much as she used to.  The time before that, we only managed a very short visit.  I’m glad we got to hang out for awhile today and enjoy an Esslingen style celebration.

On the way to Esslingen, some guy on the train went around and dropped off these tissues with notes on them.  Basically, he’s poor and hoping someone will give him some euros for his wares.  I know this is one way some people make some money, but I find the practice kind of manipulative and annoying.  After a couple of minutes, if you don’t pick up the tissues and leave some euros, he comes around and picks them up again.

We arrived in Esslingen to big crowds and heavy clouds…  Just as we got off the train, we passed a minor spectacle near the train station.  Several guys who appeared to be bicyclists and may have drank too much alcohol were arguing with several cops.  One guy was wearing a matching t-shirt and shorts ensemble that was decorated with marijuana leaves.  We left the area just as they appeared to be getting belligerent.  I was impressed by how calm and professional the police officers were.  No one was getting tackled to the ground.  

Since this was the first time we took the train, it was the first time I had ever seen this cool looking Eis Cafe…  It had a line when we were coming and going.

Lots of people were enjoying the fest despite the clouds.  It didn’t rain at all while we were there.

There were many food stands from international vendors selling delicacies.  I saw everything from Greek food to culinary delights from Eritrea.  Alas, I was drawn in by the sound of a brass band and followed my ears to an adorable little courtyard where a band was playing.  We ended up drinking German beer and eating wurst.

We arrived just as this band was finishing their last number.  I got a short clip of it, which I hope to put into a video.

Bill strikes a pose over a nice fresh hell…

We enjoyed most of this concert by the Ostfildern Music Club.  They played everything from German classics that had everyone clapping to songs by ABBA and Tina Turner.  Some of the musicians in the band were clearly sparks in their fathers’ eyes when ABBA and Tina Turner were flavors of the week.

Bill enjoys his wurst… I probably looked inappropriate as I tried to eat mine.  It was very hot and I had to blow on it a lot.

I enjoyed watching the cool sax player in the shades.

And a lovely weizen… so nice to drink beer out of a proper glass instead of a plastic cup like you’d get in the USA…

Croatian beer!

They even had a climbing wall.

I love this building.  I always take pictures of it when I visit Esslingen.

This kid was doing pretty well on the wall.  Better him than me.

Yet another German music club.  I convinced Bill to stop for one more beer before we headed back.

And this was what we sipped as we listened to them play “Under the Sea”…

Nice anti police sentiment.

At this point, I was really glad we hadn’t driven.

The guy playing bongos was killing it.

On the way out…

The guy in the yellow tent was selling cocktails and wearing a big red sombrero as an Italian tenor sang “O Sole Mio.”  Impressive indeed!

One quick shot of the vineyards overlooking Esslingen.

One handy thing to note…  Esslingen’s train station is very well equipped.  They have a pissoir which is free for the guys who just need a urinal.  They also have a surprisingly clean public restroom that costs 50 cents.  The station has a handy bike storage room and lockers for your bags.

Until next time, Esslingen!  And we will have to visit there sooner, now that we’ve braved the train!  I have plans to go back and have dinner at an Italian restaurant suggested by a reader.  


On our way out of the Herrenberg station, some guy asked us in German if we’d give him our train pass.  That was annoying, since we paid almost 20 euros for it.  I mean, it would be one thing if we’d offered it, but to just come up and ask a stranger for it seems pretty ballsy.  But he must have had success in the past because he was completely unabashed about asking.  😉


We really had a good time today.  Bill was very happy that I suggested Esslingen.  Again, I must thank Esslingen’s American cheerleader, Ellen, who I understand will be PCSing soon.  I would not have known about this party had she not posted about it.  Esslingen is a great place and I wish we lived closer so I could see it more often.  We must definitely go back for the Christmas market this year!


Mom’s visit part two…

Today, we decided to go to Esslingen.  Bill and I went there around Christmas last year and thought it was cute.  I had been wanting to go back, but it’s not close to where we live and traffic can be a major bitch.  I thought my mom would enjoy it, since it really is a nice little town.

We got a bit of a late start.  It was almost one o’clock when we left the house and we knew that a lot of places that serve lunch would be closing at two.  Because of that, we decided to eat at Brauhaus Schoenbuch in Boeblingen.  I’ve been there a few times, so I was a little disappointed to be eating lunch there today.  I always like to go to places I haven’t been so I can post a review of the food and service.  But the Brauhaus was convenient, since there’s plenty of free parking.  I knew we wouldn’t have to worry about getting there too late for lunch.

It was a bit cloudy and looked like it might rain.  Even if it didn’t rain, my mom, Bill, and I are very light skinned people and have a tendency to get sunburns.  I had forgotten sunscreen.  We decided to eat inside instead of out in the Biergarten.

My mom got a bit hot as she enjoyed the lasagne that was being offered during lunch (it was delicious, by the way).  She was fanning herself when an older German lady approached Bill and actually touched him on the face as she told him in German that it was too hot for my mother to be sitting in the dining room (even though she and her husband were sitting at the table behind us).  At first, I didn’t quite understand what she was saying because, besides not speaking or understanding German very well, I could barely hear her.  But then it became clearer, especially when I saw the unmistakable look of disdain on her face.

My mom and I laughed about it, especially when the woman kindly told my mom how cute her bedazzled t-shirt was.  Bill acted like he didn’t understand her, though he eventually did.  Then I turned around and noticed her scowling disapprovingly at Bill and me.  It kind of pissed me off, mainly because my mom’s comfort level was none of her goddamned business.  My mom would have been hot regardless of where we sat, and she is certainly no invalid.  She can tell us where she wants to sit and would have had no issue doing just that.  I was also irritated because Bill is one of the kindest, most attentive men I know, and it doesn’t sit well with me when some woman who doesn’t know him presumes to publicly chastise him, especially in front of his wife and mother-in-law.

It may be a common thing among Germans for perfect strangers to publicly correct other adults, but this American thought it was very rude and strange behavior.  I usually try to go with the flow when I am abroad, but I can’t help being an American.  There are some things about living here that I may never get used to.  All I have to say is, that woman is probably very lucky I didn’t understand her that clearly when she was speaking to him and that I can’t speak German worth a damn.  She may have very well have gotten a talking to from yours truly.  But then, I’m not necessarily known for being polite myself.  The first time we took a cruise, we left out of Norway.  I yelled at some elderly Norwegian women when they almost knocked me over trying to get on the ship.  It’s probably a good thing I don’t practice social work.


A pretty view of the main platz…


Mom said this looked a bit crowded…

Anyway, after lunch, during which we all ate too much, we got in the car and headed for Esslingen.  We didn’t stay too long… just long enough to walk a ways through the town, near the rathaus and cathedral, and past the Kessler Sekt store.  As we walked over a bridge over the Neckar River, my mom said “Okay!  Let’s find some coffee or ice cream or something.”  She was tired and wanted to sit for a bit.  So we ended up at Sommer, a restaurant/cafe/bar in a park in the heart of Esslingen.

Bill enjoys a cool drink, outside where it’s cooler.

We sat down and watched kids play with the drinking fountain near the cafe.  Bill commented on the kids, male and female, running around with few to no clothes on.  In the United States, this would be considered weird among many people.  There, people think there are pedophiles lurking on every street corner.  Here, it’s just very normal.  I think it’s refreshing that children’s innocence is preserved and celebrated here.  The kids were having a lot of normal kid style summer fun and no one thought anything of it.

Mom ended up ordering a macchiato, which was too hot for her.  She didn’t want a schorle, iced tea, or a beer.  She also wanted to dump some of her euro coins, since they were too heavy for her to lug around.  She noticed a elderly gentleman sitting in a wheelchair, seemingly out of sorts, and said that had my father lived much longer, he probably would have been in a similar state.

After we finished our drinks, she was ready to go home.  It was just as well, since it was about 5:00 and traffic was starting to back up.  On the way out of Esslingen, we stopped at the Kessler store and picked up some Sekt.  I managed to hear some strains of the organ from the cathedral.  My mom was a church organist for over fifty years, so she listened, too.  Then, as we got on the road and Bill missed the exit for the A8, I used my super sensitive human compass skills to get us there after a short detour.  Who needs a GPS?  Not me.

Near the Kessler factory…
A pretty view of the Neckar in Esslingen.

We passed a violin shop on the way into town.  

And a typically funny German ad…

As well as some interesting art.  I probably would have liked to have done some shopping in this place.

This thing actually waved…

Another pretty shot of the Neckar and Esslingen.

A few shots of the Kessler store.  Bill and I will have to go back and do some tasting. 

Love German print ads.  These were for a theater.

I almost got creamed by a biker just before I took these shots.  I didn’t see or hear him until he’d almost run me over.

Goodbye, Esslingen.


A couple of hours in Esslingen…

I had heard good things about the city of Esslingen, which is not too far from the Stuttgart Airport.  Bill and I decided to go there today to see what was up.  Unfortunately, we got a late start because Bill typically wants to sleep on Saturdays.  Then we have our leisurely breakfast and walk the dogs.

By the time we leave the house, it’s usually afternoon.  Today, it was about 1:00 when we left.  We don’t live all that close to Esslingen; we’re kind of southwest and it’s located kind of northeast of us.  There’s a slow light going into town, which slowed down traffic significantly.  Then we had to find a place to park.  By the time we got out and started walking down, it was after 2:00.  I was kind of enchanted by the town, though, and took lots of photos…

I love these clock towers.

Esslingen is in the process of decorating for Christmas.  Lights are going up…

And so is the Christmas Market…  This is a Gluhwein stand.

This is where the latrine is…  

A shot of the top of the church.  There was a wedding going on there today and it had just ended as we were walking around.  We were passed by the getaway car, marked by the wreath on the hood.  Lots of people were dressed up and headed out of the centrum.

This town will soon look like a little fantasy village.

You’ll be able to shop a lot…

And even have whisky/whiskey…

On the way out of town.  None of the restaurants spoke to us.  The one place we tried was closed for a two hour break.  It’s really better to get an earlier start for these excursions.

Someone’s cool vintage car…

And the cool clock tower…

We ended up going home, stopping by the Real first for a few items from the store.  We had chicken and fries from the small restaurant in front of the Real.  Maybe tomorrow, we’ll explore a new restaurant as we gear up for our trip to the US next week.  Esslingen is a cute town.  We’re going to have to go back and be more careful about the time next time.  I understand a lot of military folks live there.  I can see why.