German B roads are wonderful! They are in good driving condition and on this leg of the trip we accidentally got on one that snakes through the mountains. We followed an old Mercs sedan, probably a 70s model that was purring as it went gently through the turns and up and down the hills. We were lost but for that short time, we were relaxed as this car in front of us seemed to know where he was going and that was assuring.
When he turned off the road and we were left to face our predicament, the tempers boiled again as none of the plans we made for the trip to Stuttgart seem to be working. Luckily we got back mobile coverage and I paid for airtime so we can get the SatNav working. That was the best move of the morning. We found the Autobahn and sailed with Mrs FTF’s high speed into Stuttgart. The Hotel was new and had underground parking. We were excited about what German technology this place will serve up.
On a previous trip we stopped at a services on the Autobahn and saw automated toilet seat cleaners. Amazing! The facilities were so high tech, you had to swipe a card to get in and everything had no-contact controls, so much so I was unable to get out because that was a simple push of the door. This hotel was modest with a red heat bulb in the bathroom. It was a big comfortable room with a low slung, ground level chair that Zooby had as a fence free playpen with my watch as his only toy.
We three hit the town about 6pm. It was the last of the light and it showed us the grape vines on the hills over the city. This is a wine region. We crossed opposite the main train station which was under repair unto King Street , a wide pedestrianised shopping district. We visited the Tourist Information Centre but we already knew why we came here and the souvenirs, although of a high standard were either too costly or useless.
There is a major German department store where we shopped for everyone. I like shopping in Germany as the sizes tend to match my height and size. For the last two years we visited a shop in Potsdam which carries one of my favourite brands for suits, Benvenuto. I did not see any outlets in Stuttgart but Mrs FTF and I thought what we got for the family at the single store was enough. Happy with the value.
We expected there’d be an area recognised as the Old Town. A young couple told us otherwise. There is no Old Town just the King Street. We walked to the end of it, ambled left and turned back on ourselves looking for a place to eat. There is restaurant section where you will be spoilt for choice of places but the cuisine seemed pretty much the same among the group.
It was a magical October evening. We were able to eat on the sidewalk; Zooby enjoyed the walks around the small alleys of this neighbourhood while we waited for our order. We never order kids meal so again he taxed us from our ample dinners. My impression of German food is it’s first and foremost ‘a lot!’ Both dishes tasted good, so good in fact, Mrs FTF did little of our ritual exchange of dish samples, each possibly hoping the other forgot the family’s protocol. I can only talk for myself.
On the walk back to the hotel we had the best opportunity to window shop. The shops were closed, the streets were empty and quiet. Zooby did his usual mix of buggy, steps and arms with some loud crying to signal the need to change the transport mode. The slow walk was enjoyable and showed Stuttgart could be a fine place to visit again, perhaps in the Summer.
How do you celebrate parenthood? You think you should still be up for it, two people in Stuttgart with the night hour being what was young. No, it’s two people with children and that hour is now the end of a day because tomorrow you have another adventure planned where you have to exhibit all your leadership and care.
The room had a stocked bar for Mrs FTF and I to have our pick and make a toast to us. The whole event was chaperoned by Zooby of course.
More rain at the start of the next day. The plan was to take the train out to the Porsche Museum but with the weather as it is and having the luxury of walking dry to the underground car park and whizzing over to the museum, we opted to take our car.