My First Date With Stuttgart, Germany
Traveling solo is a deeply personal experience and it’s pretty much just like dating. You go through the same motions: you do some internet research (read: snooping), you find the perfect outfit, you meet up, and then you decide if you’ll see them again. But, at least with traveling, you don’t have to sit through awkward small talk over appetizers.
Whether it’s a speed date, a one night stand, a whirlwind romance, or even a 90 day fiance’, the style in which we travel ultimately dictates how we experience and enjoy visiting new cities and countries.
When I travel solo, I tend to travel fast. Much like speed dating, I try to see as much as I can in a short amount of time. At the invitation of the Stuttgart Tourism Board, I had a chance to spend 2 days exploring all that Stuttgart had to offer.
So… did I hit it off with Stuttgart or was it a dud?
My Dating Scorecard
Here’s the 10 criteria points I use to rank my overall experience in a new city or country:
1) Did I get Catfished?: Did the city live up to the hype? Or was it underwhelming?
Stuttgart is the capital of the Baden-Württemberg region, also known as Swabia, which is a cultural, historic and linguistic hot spot in southwestern Germany. Most of the photos I had seen online depicted a sun-soaked Stuttgart with lush landscapes and vibrant colors. When I arrived it was quite grey and raining and it continued the entire weekend, but I could still see the beauty of the city peeking thru.
2) Timeliness: Was the public transportation reliable and on-time? Was it easy to navigate?
The public transportation network is made up of buses, trams, and inter-city trains (S-bahn) and an underground subway (U-bahn). It was easy to navigate public transportation, especially with my Stuttgart Card, which gave me free, unlimited access on all trains, buses and trams for 48 hours. Trains were usually on time.
3) Cleanliness: Was the city clean and well-maintained?
The city was extremely clean, much like Switzerland and there were tons of public green spaces.
4) Personality: Were the locals friendly and/or helpful towards tourists & travelers?
Those I encountered were helpful. The locals seem to be introverted, but warm. There were tons of young people hanging out and lounging around the main squares. This seems to be the place to chill in the warmer months.
5) Attraction: Did the city hold my attention? Were there lots of places of interest/attractions to see?
Yes, there are tons of museums, historical landmarks, cultural activities, events and festivals to check out all year-round. Stuttgart even has their own “cultural mile” that is a street solely dedicated to culture, history, and the arts. I checked out the Porsche Museum, the Ludwigsburg Palace (pictured below) and did the double decker city bus tour.
6) Intelligence: Is it a “smart” city? Is it technologically forward or behind?
Stuttgart has several free WI-FI hotspots throughout its city center. So you can access your social media networks, complete a homework assignment, or send emails without the hassle of needing a SIM card.
7) Cheap Date?: Is the city budget-friendly or expensive?
Stuttgart is pretty budget friendly. Alcoholic cocktails range from 6-10 euros in bars, a pretzel is usually less than 1 euro, and many restaurants offer special lunch menus starting at 10 euro.
8) Turnt up or turned down?: Does the city have a thriving nightlife scene or bar/restaurant district?
Yes, both the Marienplatz and Rotebuhlplatz are hot spots for pubs, nightclubs, and lounges. I checked out Cape Collins, which is a “space bar” serving trendy cocktails with live music.
9) #FoodieGoals or Nah?: How was the local food? Does the city offer a variety of cuisines?
I’m not a big fan of very heavy foods or sausages (which basically sums up most German culinary fare), but the local food was pretty OK. I tried the local Swabian favorite, maultaschen, which is minced meat enveloped in a pasta pillow and boiled in broth. It was paired with a traditional German potato salad.
10) Smash or Pass?: How was the overall experience? Would I return for another visit?
Overall, I realized that Stuttgart is about much more than just cars and chocolate. It’s a modern city with ancient roots that looks to the past, but isn’t afraid of redefining itself either. If I learned anything though from my time in Stuttgart, it’s that first impressions are not lasting impressions. This vibrant city deserves more time and attention than I could give it in a short weekend, but I hope I can return (when it’s warmer) and get to know this thriving city a little bit better.
What I anticipated to be a one night stand, actually was love at first sight….
Have you been to Stuttgart? If so, what were your first impressions? Would you return? If not, are you thinking of visiting now after reading this post?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Stuttgart Tourimus, However, all experiences, thoughts and opinions remain my own.