Much Needed Recovery
After last night, I definitely needed to sleep in. I was out of the hotel room by about 11:15 this morning, after some much needed sleep. My plan for today was to visit the Stuttgarter Fernsehturm (translation: Stuttgart Television Tower), explore some cafes closer to the Stuttgart city center, find a bike store that does rentals, go to Kaufland, and eat dinner.
Before doing all of these things, I needed to fuel up my car. Pulling into a Shell gas station, I chose the E5 option (Shell Super FuelSave 95), fueled up the tank, paid inside, and hit the road. It’ll take me some time to get used to 5 different fuel options, and also not having advertisements playing on a little screen in front of me (so far, I haven't seen those in Germany, yet, but I'm they don't exist here).
On Top of the World
The Stuttgarter Fernsehturm is located at the top of a hill just southwest of Marienplatz and Stuttgart's city center. As if the giant needle pointing to the sky needed to be taller, the Stuttgarter Fernsehturm pierces the skyline and quickly dwarfs everything around it.
Inaugurated on February 5th, 1956, the Stuttgarter Fernsehturm is the world's first television tower, standing at around 217 meters high (~711 feet). It took a few years for television to be broadcast again following WW2. Due to the limited availability of transmitters, only a small portion of the German population could watch. Without a solution to expand coverage and with television sales decreasing quickly, the government tasked architect Fritz Leonhardt to come up with a solution. With the creation of the Fernsehturm, television was restored to the country, and served as a model for countries all over the world, making the Fernsehtrum an influential innovation in history and Fritz Leonhardt a pioneer and visionary. Read more here!
The view from the top was breathtaking. While the tower no longer serves as a television transmitter, it's a great landmark of Stuttgart with a wonderful cafe, restaurant and private venue space for events. It reminds me a lot of the Sky Tower in Auckland and the Space Needle in Seattle. There's a nice park at surrounding the base of the tower.
Getting High Makes Me Hungry
After taking in a lot of fresh air on the viewing platform, I decided I needed to grab food. I didn't eat breakfast at the hotel, so I was starving. To get to the Panoramacafé, you go inside the tower down a flight of stairs from the main platform.
For lunch, I had a Latte Macchiato, Schwäbischer Hot Dog (translation: salted sausage on a prezel bun with mustard, pickles and kraut), Cremesuppe nach Saison (translation: cream soup according to season; basically a soup of the day / month, which was lentils-based), and Warmer Apfelstrudel mit Vanilla Soße (translation: warm applie pie with vanilla sauce and whipped cream). Having this meal with beautiful backdrops of Stuttgart and its surrounding areas is an experience 👌🏾.
After lunch, I came down from the top (the elevator shows meters, not floors), and decided to head over to Marienplatz. There's a convenient Parkhaus (translation: parking garage), so my plan was to park and explore by foot. As this will be my future area-of-residence in a few weeks, I thought I'd get the exploring started early.
On the way to Marienplatz, and descending the hill from Fernsehturm, there's a construction area that splits the road. The left lane is completely blocked, leaving a single-direction corridor. To regulate traffic, mobile traffic lights are setup at temporary limit lines before entering into the construction zone. In my opinion, you have to always be paying attention in Germany. Otherwise, it's easy to miss it, and you think you have the right of way if you're approaching the free lane.
What impressed is its construction and design. I don't see any cables running along the road or bulky control station operating the lights. A corresponding light exists at the other end of the single-lane corridor. Clearly they communicate somehow, probably over limited transmission bandwidth. This is a great reusable system.
After parking my car, I made my way closer to the main Stuttgart city center. This is my first time seeing Marienplatz during the day. During dinner two nights ago, I learned that Stuttgart is increasingly becoming a bike-friendly city. From Marienplatz to the main city center, there is a road that is now intended to be used primarily by bicyclists and pedestrians. Cars can go through, but they must yield and slow down. From what I understood, this is recently constructed and a fan-favorite for the many bicycle-goers around Stuttgart. It's a pretty big step forward for a city that is home to 3 major automotive companies: Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Bosch. Cool!
I was making my way to a nearby cafe to post up, when I bumped into a friend from dinner last night (Hey Fabian!). Marienplatz is quite the popping place, so I'm excited to move here soon. Like almost every other city or town I've been in, there's at least one large church or cathedral within a few miles of each other.
Across from the church is a bike store, Bikes 'n' Boards. I popped my head in to see if they do rentals, but unfortunately they do not. However, they do have many fancy Orbea's and Specialized's that are just calling my name. I'm going to jump onto Facebook Marketplace to find a used bike ASAP. After Bikes 'n' Boards, I walked over to a cafe that was recommended by a friend, Queer Kaffeehaus. It's located on the corner of a little roundabout amidst the shopping lanes. The traffic in and out of this cafe was impressive. I found a spot outside and posted up with a Chai Latte for a few hours and did some reading/writing.
A few hours later, I got up to stretch my legs. I typically like to avoid the major city centers, because it's usually packed with tourists and shoppers. As I walked through the shopping lanes, I popped my head into a store called Globetrotter. This is basically the German version of REI x Bass Pro Shop. It was awesome! It has everything you need for any kind of outdoor adventure across 4 different floors. I'll probably come back at some point to buy some proper hiking pants.
A few stores down, I came across one store that I have had plans to visit for a few years now: Jack Wolfskin. This is the German version of North Face. Now, I've heard several opinions that North Face is better than Jack Wolfskin. I own a good amount of gear from North Face, so I know what they mean. But I've never owned anything from Jack Wolfskin. Because it's raining a fair amount not only in Germany, but also in California (at least this past winter), I decided it was time to get a proper Regenjacke (translation: rain jacket). To be honest, I really like the material and design of the jackets. The cuts of the jacket fit well, it's warm, and it's not too thick or heavy, so it's perfect for layering. I love layering. So if you see me walking around Stuttgart, I'm most likely sporting my new jacket.
After shopping, I made my way back to the parking garage. With my ticket in hand, I walked up to the pay station. Now, usually it should accept a credit card. For some reason, it was only taking cash, which I didn't have. I only had big bills on me. I walked into the Rewe food market above the parking garage to see if they could make change. Unfortunately, they couldn't without me making a purchase (or at least that's what I thought the cashier told me), so I thought I may as well take care of my grocery shopping now. I got a basket (no carts at this location in Marienplatz), and grabbed some breakfast items, snacks, juice, and coffee grounds for my morning French Press (I brought my AeroPress with me, because I love the smell of coffee as soon as I wake up – I'll still take advantage of the espresso machine in the office for a mid-morning pick-me-up). I was able to make change, paid for my parking, and headed home.
Today was yet another great day exploring the area. In the coming weeks, I'll spend more time in the Stuttgart main area, so be prepared for more reviews on restaurants, coffee houses, and bakeries.
Frieden und Liebe ❤️ (translation: peace and love)