After our first night staying with Karen’s cousin Karin we were off on a day trip. First we were driven to the Ritter chocolate factory and museum in Waldenbuch about fifteen minutes away. To begin with we looked in the shop to get a bit of an idea of the range and processes. Next we looked at the museum which initially showed the history of chocolate, then the ways and places Ritter Sport sources their ingredients then the last section was a history of the Ritter family business from the early 1900s to the present time. Karin had made a booking in the cafe for lunch so at 12:00 we went there. Seating was quite open and we were seated next to a German teacher and some students from New Zealand who were on a school trip visiting Germany for three weeks. So while we waited for our lunch to arrive we took part in a conversation of mixed German/English. All three of us ordered a soup which was consommé with lots of meat dumplings in it. It was really nice but Karen and Karin ended up giving me quite a few dumplings from theirs. The last part of our time at Ritter Sport was a visit to the shop again to stock up on cheap, yummy chocolate, much of which would make gifts.
From there we drove through the countryside to Tübbingen, one of Germany’s university cities. After parking we walked through part of the Uni and gardens to the old town. A massive church dominated the first square. Lots of old framework buildings to be seen.
We continued on to the Rathaus square. The Rathaus is undergoing major renovation works but is a very impressively decorated building. Due to lack of time we didn’t go up to the castle but made our way through the cobbled squares back to the car. We drove back to Stuttgart for a light meal and a heavy sleep.
The next day was Karen’s Tante Martel’s 100th birthday, an amazing milestone. Lunch with old work colleagues, friends, garden friends and relatives like us took place at a hotel. The local burgermeister even turned up and made a presentation.
After a short speech by Karen’s cousin Karin a buffet lunch followed. Soup and salads to start. Main course choices were fish with a creamy spinach sauce, thick slices of roast pork and spinach filled tortellini. I tried yet another different beer, a Rothaus Pils. Dessert was panna cotta with either a berry or mango sauce. After that we were invited to look at a museum attached to the hotel. The owners had a history of making buses it seemed and there was also an impressive car collection on display.
Coffee, cake and chatting followed before the celebration broke up. A special, but different sort of day. I suspect we won’t celebrate too many 100th birthdays in our life.
Back on the tourist trail the following day we took the train into Stuttgart. Lots of young people dressed up in traditional gear, guys in lederhosen and girls wearing a dirndl, for the fair, an alternative event in Stuttgart to going to the Octoberfest in Munich. We walked up Konigstr to the Saturday flower and fruit and vegetable market in a large square near the cathedral. Next we went inside the cathedral, the Stiftskirche, for a look. The wood carving in the choir was simply amazing, such detail.
From there we headed to the nearby Market Hall which was also celebrating it’s 100th birthday. The three of us ate lunch at an Italian restaurant there. Karin and I ordered pasta. Karen ordered what she thought was a a tuna salad. When it arrived it turned out to be slices of thin cold tuna under a creamy sauce. Just shows how useful an English menu can be! On our way out Karen and I bought some delicious apples, Karin didn’t want one. From there we walked to the Altes Schloss which houses the Wurttemburg Landesmuseum. Here we were able to see a wide range of exhibits and artefacts tracing Wurttemberg’s history back to the end of the Ice Age through the Stone and Bronze Ages to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and then to more recent times.
Some of the information was in English but not all, however we learnt a lot. In the late afternoon we went to Tante Martel’s for tea to continue the 100th celebrations with her neighbours. One of whom had made a lot of food to help celebrate the 100th.
Our time in Stuttgart concluded with lunch at a country hotel and restaurant just out of the city called Schlosslesmuhle. We ate schnitzel but the many walkers and horse-riders were eating quite a range of sausages and salads as well as the schnitzels. A popular place! From there we drove to the station to take a train to Ulm for the next part of our trip.