Friday 2nd October
Summer had stayed over so that we could travel to Gatwick together but unfortunately since we’d booked the tickets I had moved back to Ealing and due to the departure time I had decided to book a taxi rather than us attempting to navigate public transport. This was to give us an extra bit of time in bed however even so the alarm still went off at an unkind 3am. It did however mean we could just relax and the journey to the airport was uneventful.
We got some food from the airport and boarded the plane where I fell asleep almost straight away causing Summer to get a photo of me however at least unlike in Spain she was kind enough not to wake me up. Arriving in Stuttgard we followed Sina’s precise instructions which even included pictures and headed for the train before Summer realised she’d left her jumper on the plane. We went back but unfortunately as there was little chance that she’d be reunited with it we continued with our journey.
Sina and Christoph met us at the station and drove us back to their apartment where I changed in to Lederhosen that Christoph had lent me and Summer changed in to a Dirndl provided by Sina. Once we were ready we made our way to the Cannstatter Wasen festival site and eventually found a beer hall with some spare benches for us to sit at where we ordered some food including Käsespätzle and obviously some beers.
Despite us being at the early session the guys behind had drunk to much and as they danced on the benches to the music one of them fell on Christoph and nearly feel on me. Those on the adjacent table didn’t look in a great condition either and one guy in particular seemed to spend most of time with his head in his hands. As the music played I also got in the mood especially during the German dance songs Aber Scheiss Drauf and Traum von Amsterdam.
Sina wasn’t drinking beer or feeling that well so we all went outside for some fresh air and as we walked past the rides Summer and I decided to go on the roller coaster which also spun the car around. Whilst I felt fine before we got on, as soon as we completed the first spin a mixture of tiredness, alcohol and general dizziness dramatically hit and by the time we got off I wasn’t in the best state. I tried to pretend I was ok and to concentrate on feeling better but even drinking water didn’t help and ultimatley I only felt settled after using the toilet where thankfully there had been no queue.
After leaving the festival we sat on the grass outside new castle and I looked up at the clouds which were spinning though after a few minutes my brain had adjusted and the dizziness had gone. Summer had decided that she wanted to buy a dirndl and we went to various shops as she tried different ones on. One of the shops offered Christoph and I a free glass of wine however I declined even though I was felling ok by that point.
We caught the train back passing the lights of the festival on the way and got some pizza from a takeaway which was playing Star Wars in German. I know I shouldn’t have found it weird, but I did find it slightly amusing because all the voices were different. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing at the apartment.
Saturday 3rd October
After having breakfast we met Christoph’s friend Alex at the station so that he could join us at the football match between Stuttgart Kickers vs Sonnenhof Grossaspach. First we made our way in to town by train and then we caught the Zahnradbahn (rack railway train) up the hill where got some good views of the city below. The stadium which is the highest in Germany and close to the Fernsehturm Stuttgart (the telecommunications tower) holds around 11,000 people and wasn’t much of a walk from the station.
After getting a beer outside of the stadium we made our way on to the terrace which is where most of the fans seemed to be congregated. There were only around 5,000 people at the match but they created a brilliant atmosphere especially when the players came out on to the pitch as various flares were lit which clouded the view with smoke.
Unfortunately the Stuttgart Kickers who we were supporting weren’t performing that well but at half time they were only 1.0 down. Sina got Summer and I Bratwurst and Maultaschen which was really nice. The second half got off to a bad start and the Kickers were soon 2.0 down before a crazy period of poor defending meant they conceded another two including a penalty. Throughout the match the fans on the terrace chanted but the display of the team was not worthy of such support as they lost 4.0.
After the match we went to the Pauliner restaurant where I had a schnitzel and a couple of beers before we moved on to another bar. Then we saw the Kugel brunnen a fountain which was a piece of granite rock which floated on some water where Summer got a picture pretending to push the rock. Next we saw some slim rubber street bollards which were bendy and we got some slightly tipsy funny photos of Summer and I pretending to look strong.
That evening we watched the rugby union match between England and Australia. Due to England losing to Wales the week before it was particularly crucial they didn’t lose and I was optimistic even agreeing to a bet with Summer that if we lost I would learn the lyrics and sing Aber Scheiss Drauf. Unfortunately it was an awful performance from England and both our fates were sealed. They were out of the world cup and I had some lyrics to learn much to the amusement of Sina’s brother and his girl friend who had come over to visit.
Sunday 4th October
The weather wasn’t particular good the following morning so we decided to have a late start and to play a few competitive games of kniffle a dice game similar to yahtzee.
Gradually the weather improved and as it was approaching lunch time we went to a wine pub called |Besenwirtschaft Escher. Sina and Christoph looked through the menu and picked the items including Maultaschen, Winzerbratenm, Leber und Griebawurst mit Kraut and Bratwurste mit Kartoffelsalat and various wursts. We ended up with to much food but It had been a great feast and the wine had been good as well.
After leaving the pub we parked near the Mercedes museum so called in so that we could see the displays in the main entrance. As we left the others made me do my recording of Aber Scheiss Drauf and Sina continued to try to make me believe I’d have to perform the song as part of the half time handball entertainment.
Next we continued to the handball match to see Stuttgart Wild Boys Vs Gummersbach Young Boys. Handball really is an exciting and ruthless sport being a cross between football and basketball. Every goal that the home team scored was met with a huge cheer whilst every goal conceded was met with groans of despair. I get quite intense about football and I doubt my emotions could handle handball because every attack seemed to lead to a goal.
The intensity and unpredictability is perfectly summed up by the final 60 seconds of a 60 minute match in the ultimate “They Think it’s all Over” situation. With less than 60 seconds to go Stuttgart were losing by one goal and conceded a penalty and it seemed certain that the match was over. Amazingly the Gummersbach player missed and Stuttgart had the chance for one final attack. The away team looked to have closed all the gaps when just as the hooter sounded the referee awarded a penalty to Stuttgart who scored making the final score 37 37. The players huddled and bounced like they’d won the League, the away players desolate. Unbelievable.
After the match we drove up Württemberg hill for the sunset where we also had lovely views of the city especially the lights of the beer festival below. The Sepulchral chapel was located at the summit and was apparently built by Kaiser Wilhelm I as a monument to eternal love. It certainly couldn’t have been located in a nicer area of Stuttgart. We drove back to the apartment where we had a quiet night in and Sina made a delicious Nutella puff pastry.
Monday 5th October
I hadn’t slept that well and unfortunately when I did I ‘breathed heavily’ causing Summer to wake me up because she couldn’t sleep. We all had a lie in before eating breakfast and making our way in to town to have a look around the shopping centre.
We wondered round some of the shops and I brought myself a pair of shoes before we sat down for a relaxing coffee. My Lonely Planet guide hadn’t been overly complimentary to Stuttgart saying it was a great place for those living there but suggesting there wasn’t much for tourists aside from the car museums. I certainly enjoyed my time there but perhaps it helped that I was visiting friends who took me to the sporting events and Cannstatter Wasen.
Finally it was time to make our way to the airport but there was one final treat and as we were all fairly hungry we went to a curry wurst restaurant near the airport. Over the past year i’ve fallen in love with a lot of German food and the curry wurst is probably number one and I would happily have my rains hooked up to the curry sauce.
Summer and I had a walk around the airport and spent a considerable amount of time wondering whether to buy an expensive tankard. Ultimately we decided not to and wondered over to a cafe. A group of Australians arrived and sat down and Summer got chatting to them, and over the next few hours they certainly livened up the journey home, keeping us amused at the airport with their drunken laddish jibes at each other and then on the flight and train back to London.
Unfortunately the flight had been delayed so it was pretty late by the time we got back to London and I was exhausted as I had barely settled after getting back from Greece let alone unpacked my life having moved back to Ealing. Not that I was complaining, I knew within a few days i’d get itchy feet and start looking at my scratch poster which Victoria gave me when she moved back to Australia 3 years ago…