concerts, Stuttgart

Our Rolling Stones weekend in Stuttgart… part threef

The gates at the Mercedes Benz Arena were due to open at 5:00pm.  Although the concert wasn’t going to start until 7:15, we decided to head over early, just to take in the scene.  I wisely decided not to bring my big purse with me, after being forced to lock it up at the museum.  Having seen some of the purses hanging off of the women at the show last night, I probably could have got into the venue with mine, although lockers were also available at the arena.  It was good that I didn’t bring it.  I didn’t need it.

On the way to the stadium…

We took a cab to the stadium and walked the short distance to security, which was thoughtfully staffed with female friskers for nervous ladies.  After we were frisked, we scanned the barcodes on our tickets and walked into the massiveness that is the Mercedes Benz Arena.  I had never been there before, although we did see Sting at the Porsche Arena next door.  We found our seats, 18 and 19 in row 13 in A6.  They were pretty close… at least when the arena is empty.  When it’s full, the seats don’t seem quite so close to the stage.

Security scene…

I guess people mistook this for a bathroom one too many times.

First view of the arena.  It’s massive.

A view of where we sat before it was full of people.

Small concessions area.  They had plastic cups with the Rolling Stones logo on them.  We probably should have foregone the pfand and brought a couple home.

We decided to have beer at the concessions stand.  Bill got me a bratwurst and fries, although I had asked for currywurst.  I don’t think the lady running the concessions heard him right.  There were also guys walking around the stadium selling beer and sodas out of camelbacks, ice creams, and sandwiches.  That was about the extent of what was available food wise.

You can see the guy who sat next to me in this picture, although I didn’t know he’d be sitting next to me when I took this shot.

I was interested in the clothes people wore to this event.  A few people were dressed up.  A whole lot of people were wearing concert t-shirts.  Many people were as old or older than Bill and me.  Almost everyone, whether or not they had a seat, was standing for most of the show.  I only mention this because at most concerts I’ve attended, people don’t necessarily stand if they can sit.  Most German audiences are fairly subdued, yet appreciative.  Not so at this concert.  

The Stones have been rotating several different opening bands for the 2018 No Filter Tour.  Last night, the opening band was The Kooks, from Brighton, England.  I had never heard of them before.  I actually enjoyed their music, although the lead singer, Luke Pritchard, who looks like a Dallas era version of Patrick Duffy, appeared to be trying to channel Mick Jagger and failed miserably.  I watched him dance and work the stage, but there wasn’t much connection between his movement and the expression on his face.  But I did enjoy their set and Luke’s weird shoes, which appeared to be fur lined slippers of some sort.

A few shots of the Kooks… This is Luke Pritchard, aka young Patrick Duffy.

Alexis Nunez stole the show.  At one point, they showed him in the audience while the Stones were playing and he looked positively orgasmic.  I was drawn to him more than the Kooks’ frontman.

Luke Pritchard promised us that the Stones were “on fire”.  He didn’t lie.

Frankly, I think the star in that band is the drummer, Alexis Nunez.  I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him when he was on the big screen.  He appeared to be taking a gigantic crap as he hit the skins– his eyes were squinty and teeth were clenched with effort as he pounded out rhythms, but I couldn’t help but be attracted…  Hmm… I guess that says something else about me.  I did like their music enough to download a few of their albums.  I probably wouldn’t necessarily work hard to get to one of their shows, but they were appealing enough.

A lot of people started showing up to the arena when it got closer to about nine o’clock, including the people sitting beside Bill and me.  The guy next to me was very tall and wore a tank top and cowboy hat.  He was also a smoker and didn’t hesitate to light up several times during the performance.  I know smoking is perfectly fine in Germany, but I can’t imagine being so rude as to basically smoke in someone’s face like that guy did to me.  Oh well… I guess it’s important to satisfy that nic fit.  I needed a shower anyway, after all the sweating I did.  Seriously, the chairs were arranged tightly.  It reminded me of being in the center seat on an airplane.

Half-time, which seemed to take forever as the roadies set the stage.  I noticed that the Stones have been staggering their performances, having shows every few days.  After watching them last night and their extreme level of energy, especially from Mick, I can’t blame them for taking a rest.

The audience reacts as the band takes the stage. I needed a step stool.

I was blown away by Mick Jagger’s stage presence.  Yes, I’ve seen him perform on TV, but it really isn’t the same as when you see him live.  There is no other person like him.  He’s a true marvel of nature.  His charisma is just astonishing.  Hard to believe he’s about to turn 75.

Ronnie Wood is also incredibly charismatic and sexy.  Not many people can pull off that look he has. He reminded me of a supermodel.

This was the view of the stage without the big screen.  I would have fared better if genetics had blessed me with a few more inches of height.

The bearded guy, Chuck Leavell, played wicked keyboards last night.  He’s American and has been playing with the Stones since 1982.  I was blown away by his playing.

Keith Richards was looking like he was having a blast!  To be honest, although I have always enjoyed The Rolling Stones’ music, I am not a super fan.  I had heard a lot of jokes about Keith Richards looking almost dead, but didn’t see any truth to the jokes last night.  He seemed very self-effacing and almost even overwhelmed by the love he got from the crowd last night.  

 

And here is drummer, Charlie Watts, who seemed the most straightlaced of the group.  He made me laugh with his goofy facial expressions and laid back demeanor.


Mick engages the crowd.

I shared one of these pictures on Facebook and a friend thought I was at a rally where people were burning an effigy of Donald Trump.  Nope… it was actually Mick Jagger who was on fire.

 

Below are a few more pictures from the show.  To be honest, I took more video than photos.  I normally don’t video at concerts, but almost everyone was doing it and, frankly, it’s hard to capture the magic of Mick Jagger in a still shot, especially when you’re not close and many people are in the way.  I will try to make a video of the clips I have and will, perhaps, eventually put it in this post.  Suffice to say, the man did not stop shaking his ass the whole concert.  His stamina was incredible.  No wonder he has eight kids.  I was also impressed that he spoke a fair amount of German.  Apparently, the Stones have been coming to Germany, particularly the Stuttgart area, for many years. Mick even spoke a little Schwabish to the crowd, which made them go wild.

I was amazed by Mick Jagger’s energy.  He has a way of making you feel like he’s only singing for you.  The camera loves him and no matter what he says or does, it looks natural.  It’s almost like performing is as as easy as breathing for him.  This is in sharp contrast to what I observed when Bill and I saw Eric Clapton in 2004.  Although Clapton had a fantastic opening band– Robert Randolph and the Family Band– his own performance was uninspired and lackluster.  I would not pay to see Eric Clapton again, even in the cheap seats, even though I still love his music. 

One of the two amazing sax players.  I have samples of them on video.

 

Before I close this post, I must write a bit about the Stones’ female backup singer, Sasha Allen, who joined the band in 2016 after previous backup vocalist Lisa Fischer left to pursue a solo career.  I am myself a singer, so I have a real appreciation for raw talent and what it takes to make the sounds Sasha makes.  Sasha Allen has some seriously powerful pipes.  At the end of the show, she and Mick did a fierce version of “Gimme Shelter” that brought the house down.  Yes, I recorded most of it.  And yes, as excellent Mick Jagger is as a performer, even he seemed blown away by Sasha Allen’s big voice.  She rivals Jennifer Hudson.

Now that I’m looking at her entry on Wikipedia, I see that Sasha Allen was also in the cult classic movie, Camp, which I discovered when we lived in Germany the first time.  I love that movie!  Anyway, she and the rest of the collaborators were every bit as good as the Stones themselves were.  It was a fantastic concert, in part, because of all of the backing musicians.  And Mick was great about sharing the stage with all of them.

Final bows…  The show ended with some rather sudden fireworks that went off, ejaculation style, at the end of the show.  Bill turned to me and said, “Well… that was unexpected.”  Sometimes I forget he has a touch of PTSD from his time in Iraq.

Once the show was over, the stadium emptied out in a surprisingly orderly fashion.  Thousands of people streamed out into the street and headed in different directions.  We had to walk about a mile and a half from the stadium until we got to where the road was open.  We were lucky to score a cab who whisked us back to the hotel, where our favorite Italian bartender was waiting.  We had a nightcap and I took a shower, then we passed out.  I slept until 9:00am today.  I don’t remember the last time I did that.

We ran into our new Icelandic friends at breakfast and managed to say goodbye after we each raved about the show.  After breakfast, we settled up with the hotel– our bill came to 540 euros and included Friday night’s dinners and last night’s nightcap.

Final thoughts…

Okay… so I spent $1200 on our tickets once all of the taxes and conversion rates were added.  Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have expected to pay that much to see a concert and none of the other shows I’ve booked so far have cost that much.  Was it worth it?  To be honest, yes.  The show was incredible.  I don’t think I like arena concerts that much because of how huge the crowds are and how hard it is to get in and out.  However, I can see why the Stones attract such huge crowds.  They are truly awesome live.  I can’t believe they’ve been playing for over 50 years and are still kicking so much ass.

I think if I ever spring for really expensive seats again, I’ll be more careful about their actual location within the venue.  I might try for aisle seats if I’m going to pay $1200 to see a show.

Still I think it’ll be awhile before I’ve processed last night’s show.  It was really amazing.  I’m delighted that we were able to attend.  I’m even more delighted that my husband had so much fun.  At one point, he turned to me with a big grin on his face and said, “I would never do this if it weren’t for you.”  I often wonder what my purpose in life is.  I think one of the main reasons I’m here is to make sure Bill has as much fun as possible for the rest of his life.  It’s a nice job to have.

Mick Jagger is just an incredible frontman.  He blew my brains out, just as I knew he would.  Many thanks to Stuttgart and the Stones for making last night so amazing.

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Our Rolling Stones weekend in Stuttgart… part two

On Saturday morning, we had a leisurely breakfast in Wald Hotel’s restaurant.  They serve a pretty good buffet, with breads, fruits, vegetables, eggs, bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, and fried potatoes, among other things.  They will also cook eggs to order.  When we arrived at the buffet, the wait staff was very busy.  It took awhile before we could score a carafe of coffee.  My husband is usually a very mild mannered guy, but I could tell he was getting impatient for his morning caffeine shot.  I, for one, was more impressed by the Kessler Sekt that was made available.

While we were eating breakfast, I took note of all the people joining us.  Quite a few of them were obviously planning to attend the concert last night.  In fact, as we were out and about in downtown Stuttgart yesterday, I saw many people sporting t-shirts from previous concerts.  I had already read the information about the event that was emailed to me indicating that they were expecting 40,000 people at last night’s show.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t go to a lot of concerts.  This was the first one I’ve ever been to with that many people.

After breakfast, we walked to the nearby train station and traveled to Charlottenplatz, where we knew we’d find something going on.  Sure enough, the city was alive with people yesterday, many of whom were there for the Children and Youth Festival.  We walked through the festival and I was very surprised by how many activities and exhibits they had.  Many groups had come to advertise their clubs.  I saw people from a fencing club, a dance club, and various sports groups.  I also saw a cooking school for kids as well as an impressive display by Porsche.  Below are some pictures from the festival.

The festival was scattered from the Schlossplatz to Charlottenplatz.  I was surprised by how many exhibits there were.

They had plenty of activities for kids to actively try, like this football exhibit.

Lacrosse.

Dance club.  You know the dresses were a draw.

 

We wandered out of the festival for a short time as we made our way toward the Schlossplatz.

They had set up a red carpet for a documentary festival that went on all weekend.

 

There were buskers everywhere, including this guy who was gamely singing Rolling Stones songs.  Bill dropped a couple of euros with him because he was genuinely entertaining and giving his performance a lot of go!

The Schlossplatz.  This was where we saw Van Morrison in 2016.  I can’t help but marvel at the people whose job it is to set up and take down bleachers and stages.  It seems like a huge undertaking.

 

A cooking school for kids.  I enjoyed the guy dressed like a chef who was working the crowd.  He wore chess board patterned pants and spoke enthusiastically into his microphone, inviting kids to participate.

Porsche was also onhand, with their own driving school for kids!

It was very safety oriented!

I snapped this photo just as we were about to cross the street.  Parts of Stuttgart are truly lovely.  I also noticed the church had its tower open earlier in the day.  We didn’t get around to climbing it.

The hour was getting closer to lunchtime, but we were still pretty full from breakfast.  We were about to head over to Karlsplatz, the square where the Hamburger Fischmarkt usually takes place every July, but ended up stopping by the Landesmuseum Wurttemberg.  We’ve passed it many times, but never bothered to visit.  Yesterday, we noticed entry to the permanent exhibits was free of charge, so we decided to stop.

There is also a children’s exhibit that I think does require an admissions fee.  Since we don’t have kids, we didn’t visit that part of the museum.  However, I am a big kid myself, so I probably would have liked it.  As it was, the Landesmuseum impressed me by being very extensive and including explanations in English.  It’s also kid friendly, with quite a few activities designed to engage children.

This is what you see as you enter the courtyard where the museum’s entrance is.

Information on the signs.

When we got our free tickets, the receptionist noticed how big my purse was, so she asked me to put it in one of the lockers situated in the lobby.  Large bags and some other items are not allowed in the museum, so if you have a big bag or a backpack, you will be expected to lock it up.  You use a one or two euro coin to lock the locker, and when you return the key, you get your coin back.

If you wanted to, you could spend a couple of hours in the Landesmuseum.  It’s surprisingly large.  In fact, we only explored the second floor.  On the first floor, there’s a permanent clock exhibit.  I took note of all of the history of Baden-Wurttemberg, particularly among Neanderthals.  Thanks to 23 and Me, I recently found out that I have a lot of Neanderthal genetic variants.  That explains a lot.  Neanderthals came from the Neander Valley here in Germany and many of their remains were found in Baden-Wurttemberg.

Besides information about Neanderthals, the Landesmuseum includes many paintings, artifacts, and precious jewels.  They’ve designed the exhibits to allow visitors to get a lot out of the experience.  For instance, a few exhibits had cleverly designed magnifying glasses that allowed visitors to see the detail of some of the precious artifacts being displayed.  In another part of the museum, there was a really interesting exhibit about religion.  They even had a hilarious oil lamp in the shape of a man with a very large phallus.  I wish I’d had my camera with me for that one.

After we explored the museum, it was time to hunt for lunch.  As I mentioned previously, Stuttgart was loaded with people yesterday.  A lot of restaurants were at capacity, especially outdoors.

We headed toward Karlsplatz, where a flea market was going on.  Lots of people were selling everything from military relics to carpets.  A Turkish food stand was open and putting off heavenly aromas.  A rockabilly band was playing live music.  The atmosphere was very festive.  Below are pictures of what was being sold.  

This band was pretty great.  I got a few video snippets of them playing.  

We probably should have stuck around to see if they were selling CDs.

The lure of beer was too strong and drove me away from this scene.

This seemed promising, but turned out to be a disappointment, since there were only tables able in full sunlight.  

Things were looking more promising as we approached the Markthalle, where we discovered a shady spot at the Marktstüble, a restaurant that is not open on Sundays.

The menu offered typical Schwabish delights like maultausen, schnitzel, and other porky delights.

But what I was after came in a mas krug…

Prost!  I’m glad we got the krugs because our poor waiter was pretty busy.  People were desperately seeking lunch outside in yesterday’s glorious weather.

And then, these buskers showed up and accompanied our lunch with their perky brand of accordion music.  I probably enjoyed them more than I should have.  They had game!

The guy in the orange shirt and his companion stayed at our hotel and took the same train into downtown.  All day, we ran into people from our hotel or folks who had been in the museum with us. It was kind of funny.  On the way back from the concert, we saw a guy who’d had breakfast at the same time we did.  He was distinctive because of his hat.

Bill had cold pork roast with potato salad and a green salad.  It was very good!  In fact, if we eat there again during the summer, I may order that myself.

I went with a green salad with shrimp.  I don’t usually go for salads, but I wanted something that wouldn’t be too heavy.  This fit the bill nicely.  It filled me up without making me bloat.

Below are some more photos from the Children and Youth Festival, which we passed through to get back to the train station.  It was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for our big concert!

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Germany, Stuttgart

Our Rolling Stones weekend in Stuttgart… part one

View from our seats at the Rolling Stones concert in Stuttgart…  before the teeming crowds showed up!

 

I think 2018 will go down as our “year of the concerts”.  This year, I have purchased tickets to five concerts, four of which are happening between yesterday and Halloween and one for next spring.  In two weeks, we are going to fly to Dublin to see Paul Simon, who will have James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt as guests.  In September, we’re going to see Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp.  In October, we’re planning to see an Irish folk music festival.  Next May, we’re going to see Elton John.

We don’t usually go to a lot of shows.  I don’t like crowds and Bill doesn’t like traffic.  Neither of us likes overpriced concessions or being too short to see the stage.  However, we have found that concerts in Germany are somewhat less obnoxious than shows in the United States, so we have taken advantage of the opportunity to see some of the great entertainers who pass through Stuttgart.  So far, in our two tours in the Stuttgart area, we have seen: Lyle Lovett, Diana Krall, Van Morrison, Sting, and now The Rolling Stones.

Last night’s Rolling Stones concert is probably the biggest of all of them…  and the tickets were definitely the most expensive.  However, having now seen the freak of nature that is Mick Jagger perform live, I can say it was worth everything– the expense, fighting the crowds, sitting next to a smoker who kept hitting me with his jacket, and Bill’s manspreading.

Last February, when I went on my ticket buying spree, I remember gasping at the price of the tickets I selected for the Stones’ concert.  They were priced at 497 euros each, but they were on the 13th row.  In retrospect, maybe I should have opted for a seat in the stands, since I’m only 5’2″ tall and the 13th row is in the flat area.  I probably would have had a better view on the side.  But I wanted, just once, to experience a concert “close up”.  Of course, if we’d really wanted to be close, we could have gone for the “stehplatz”.  There were two areas where people were standing and dancing the whole time; one was literally just a few yards from the stage.  Unfortunately, Bill and I are both short, neither of us are dancers, and Bill has a bad knee and needs to be able to sit.

Not so long ago, Bill and I were pretty much relegated to the cheap seats.  I remember seeing both Alison Krauss and Eric Clapton while perched high in the nosebleed section.  We had better seats when we saw James Taylor, except for the two drunk chicks who stood up and swayed in front of us for the whole show.  Probably our closest seats were at Livingston Taylor’s show at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, and it was probably one of the best shows I’ve been to, although Liv is not as big a name performer as his brother James, is.  Anyway, I figured that if I was going to drop a load of cash on close seats, The Rollings Stones would be the show for which to do it.

I learned a new German word on the way to the hotel.  This camper is obviously driven by people who love their dogs.  On the bumper, there was a sign in German warning that dogs don’t have a “crumple zone”; therefore, please don’t tailgate…

As is our habit, we stayed at the Wald Hotel in Degerloch the night before and the night of the concert.  We started this custom when we saw Van Morrison in 2016.  I remembered the nutroll of getting in and out of the concert venues and how late it usually was when we got home.  The idea of staying downtown was very appealing, especially since Stuttgart is about 45 minutes from where we live, depending on traffic.  Staying in Stuttgart gives us a chance to see more of the city without having to worry about getting home to take care of our dogs, who never stay with us at the Wald Hotel, even though the place is pet friendly.

We checked in on Friday, June 29th.  As usual, I booked a “superior room” and added breakfast.  The Wald Hotel is a very comfortable four star hotel.  It’s situated very close to the TV tower and surrounded by a sports complex and walking trails.  I think I booked it the first time because it’s air conditioned.  I have booked in on subsequent occasions because it really is a nice place in a convenient location.  It has free parking, free WiFi, and a very attentive staff.  Even though we’re essentially staying in our home town, being at the Wald Hotel is a treat.

Below are pictures of our room, which was as expected. All three times, we’ve stayed in the same type of room and they all pretty much look the same.

King sized bed… very comfortable with fluffy duvets instead of sheets.  We brought pillows because German hotels usually don’t have good ones.  We needn’t have bothered.  I had forgotten that the Wald Hotel loads you up with nice pillows.

Sitting area and desk.

Awesome shower!  It has special lighting and a huge rainforest option that is just heavenly.  With the press of a button the ceiling rains down a large square shaped swath of water   You can also use the regular shower head, which you can see in the picture.

Since the World Cup has been going on, the hotel gifted us with soccer balls…

And the usual gummi bears, as well as a complimentary mini bar stocked with water, apple schorle, and beer.

View from our balcony.

 

Ordinarily, I would have liked to have booked us a table at a local restaurant, but we didn’t get to the hotel until about 7:00pm and Bill was tired from a day of hard work.  Although there are several casual eateries near the hotel, we decided to dine at the hotel’s Finch restaurant, which is a very pleasant, but rather pricey place to have dinner.  Although the weather was perfect, we didn’t have reservations.  All of the outside tables were taken, so we were seated in the elegant dining at a private booth.

We ate at Finch on our last visit to the Wald Hotel and remembered the slightly Asian inspired menu to be creative in flavor and presentation.  On our first trip to Finch, we both had meat.  This last time, we went with main courses from the sea.

Bill decides on a wine.  Finch offers menus in English, which I appreciated.  Our waitress was the same very service oriented server who took care of us the last time we dined at Finch.  She speaks English, but patiently indulged Bill’s elementary German.

 

Since we were both having seafood, Bill ordered a locally produced white burgundy.  It was crisp and refreshing and paired very well with our meals.

We also had fresh bread with an herb spread, olive oil, and fresh bread garnished with black salt.

I had the Avocado Tatar, with included avocados with beefsteak tomatoes, peanuts, and spinach.  This starter was surprisingly filling, but nice on a warm evening.

Bill had a lobster bisque; it was unfortunately served rather sloppily, but tasted good.

My lobster came with toasted macadamia nuts, half a lemon, drawn butter, spring onions and a sinful carrot puree.  I enjoyed the lobster, but especially liked the colorful presentation.

Bill had “wolfbarsch” (European sea bass).  As much as I like lobster and enjoyed my main course, I think I liked Bill’s dish better. It was a bit more flavorful.

I probably shouldn’t eat dessert so often, but I was intrigued by the “oats and nougat”, which was a nougat atop toasted oats (granola) and served with a caramel panna cotta.  The dish was garnished with chocolate pieces and raspberries.

Bill had a passionfruit creation that he said reminded him a little of a napoleon.  He especially liked the scoop of mango sorbet that came with his dessert.  Wald Hotel also offers several cheese plates for those who are less tempted by sweets.

 

After dinner, we decided to hang out at the hotel bar.  Wald Hotel has a very personable Italian bartender who is a master at mixing drinks and making conversation.  While we were at the bar, a rather alternative looking couple came in.  They heard us speaking English and asked if we were American.  We answered affirmatively.  It turned out they had come to Stuttgart to see The Rolling Stones.  Both had lived in the United States to work and study and both had great love for our country.  They were surprised we’d choose to live in Germany.

It turned out our new friends, Bjorn and Rokka, work in the film industry.  Rokka is a makeup artist and has put her touch on many celebrities.  Bjorn didn’t talk as much about what he does in film, but I got the sense that maybe he was a producer.  Both looked a lot younger than their ages and, in fact, they told us they had booked the “stehplatz” up front.  I was impressed, since agewise they were probably contemporaries of Mick Jagger’s.  They seemed to have drunk from the same fountain of youth he has.  Anyway, we had a very nice time talking to them, especially since they were so friendly and Bill has actually been to Iceland.  I love it when we meet interesting people.  Luckily, it seems to happen to us a lot!

An expertly produced gin and tonic by the barman, who also joined in our conversation.  I’ve seen him on each of our three stays at Wald Hotel.  He definitely makes booking the hotel even more attractive.

We decided to turn in at about 11:00 or so,  which is kind of past our bedtimes.  Little did we know how full our Saturday was going to be.  More on that in the next post.

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hotels, restaurant reviews, Stuttgart

Staycationing at the Waldhotel in Stuttgart…

Since Bill and I have lived in the Stuttgart area twice, I never thought I’d get the chance to try a hotel in Stuttgart proper.  Then we got the chance to see Van Morrison in concert.  Having attended a couple of concerts in Stuttgart, I realized that if we tried to drive to and from Stuttgart, it could make for a long day.  Since we’re not as broke as we used to be and I had sprung for “business class” seats at last night’s concert, I convinced Bill that we needed a short “staycation”.  Since I like to do things as first class as possible, I booked us a superior room at Stuttgart’s Waldhotel.

The Waldhotel is very well regarded on TripAdvisor and is located in Degerloch, a rather leafy part of the city near the TV tower and a large sports complex.  I also noticed that Waldhotel was very convenient to the U-Bahn, had parking, air conditioning, and located near several restaurants.  It ticked all of the boxes, except for maybe the fact that it lacks a pool and a hot tub.

We arrived at the hotel at about 6:30pm.  I was a little stressed because I’d been worrying all day about my dog, Zane, who just had a lump aspirated.  I knew we would be getting the results of the needle biopsy on Tuesday.  Fortunately, the lump turned out to be a harmless lipoma.  Aside from being really happy that Zane doesn’t have a cancerous lump (that I know of, anyway), we also battled traffic while hangry and Bill was stressing needlessly about our dinner reservations at Ampulle.  So maybe we were a little edgy when we got to the hotel.  Fortunately, the kind, professional, English speaking receptionist had our room all ready for us.

First impressions.

 

I’m not usually one to spend a lot of money on hotel rooms.  I mean, I’ll spend more if I think the upgrade is worthwhile.  A lot of times, the higher priced room just means more square footage or a better view.  I decided to splurge at the Waldhotel because the superior rooms have either balconies or terraces and are facing the woods.  I don’t remember there being a huge price difference.  And, it could be that the less expensive rooms were booked, but since I booked in June, I don’t remember.

Our room was outfitted with a very comfortable bed complete with little Ritter Sports at the foot.  The linens and duvet were excellent was just right.  I slept a lot during our staycation.  The bathroom was enclosed with frosted glass, which I didn’t like so much because when Bill got up to shower, the light woke me up.  But the bathroom did have a fabulous rainfall shower head and excellent toiletries.

The TV welcomed us.  Our room had a complimentary “minibar”, which really just consisted of water and apple juice.  Bill drank the apple juice and said it was delicious.  The TV offered several news channels in English, at least one French channel, and of course, the usual German programming.  I watched a German show about Polizei yesterday.  It was surprisingly entertaining despite my tenuous grasp on the German language.

 

Breakfast was not included in the rate I booked, but we went ahead and had breakfast both mornings. It was 21 euros a person, which is admittedly expensive.  However, I can’t deny that the buffet offered plenty– there were scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, beans, and mushrooms (yecch).  There were cereals, cold cuts, cheeses, breads, yogurts, and plenty of drinks.  The wait staff was attentive, friendly, and professional.  Yes, it was pricey, but what the hell…  The hotel also has a bar that is open from 5:00pm until 1:00am.  The restaurant, which requires reservations, is very fancy.  We didn’t try it, but maybe we will on a future visit.  I am convinced that booking a hotel for concert nights in Stuttgart is a good idea.

The view from our terrace.  It was outfitted with a table and chairs, as well as an ashtray.  

Waldhotel has bikes for rent, as well as a fitness room and sauna (which I didn’t investigate).

The front of the hotel.  

 

Waldhotel has a couple of outdoor parking areas.  It also has a garage.  It costs 12 euros a day to park in the garage, but we lucked into an outdoor spot.  Bill took the train to work yesterday, which was super easy from the Waldau-GAZi Station.

Normally, when I accompany Bill on trips where he’s working, I’m hard pressed to find things to do.  I didn’t have that problem at the Waldhotel.  Yesterday, I took a walk and ended up at Stuttgart’s TV tower, which is located just down the street from the hotel.  For seven euros, I rode an elevator for 36 seconds to some of the best views in Stuttgart.  It was cloudy yesterday and actually pretty damn cold at the top of the tower.  There was also rain up there that wasn’t on the ground.  I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and got a bit chilly, but I did manage to get some good photos.  The TV tower offers discounts for kids as well as seasonal tickets.  It’s well worth a look if you’re in the neighborhood.

The TV tower has a little cafe in it that serves drinks and snacks during the day and offers cocktails at night.  There’s also a bathroom up there.  I thought about having some coffee, but it was close to lunchtime, so I decided not to.  As for lunch, I ended up at Luftbad Restaurant Der Grieche im Grünen.  I ate dorade with vegetables and potatoes, drank a glass of wine, and had a hefeweizen for dessert.  I did take pictures of my lunch, but accidentally deleted them.  Oops.  I’ll just say that the food and service were fine.  Other dining options in the area include an Italian restaurant, a Swabian restaurant that was having a ruhetag yesterday, but was putting off lovely aromas on Tuesday night, an Imbiss near the TV tower, and the TV tower’s own restaurant, Leonhardts.  I thought about trying Leonhardts, but was scared away by the reviews.

I went back to the hotel after lunch and ended up taking a really long, wonderful nap– probably about two solid hours.   Had I wanted to, I could have enjoyed a hike through the many walking trails around the Waldhotel.  I’m glad I got a chance to catch up on my sleep, though.  I was well prepared for Lizz Wright and Van Morrison.  I will be writing about their performances in my next post.  Stay tuned for that.

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