Our last full day in Stuttgart I took the kids to the Schloßplatz (German for “Palace Square” or “Castle Square”). Instead of driving I chose to take the train. There is a station right behind The Dormero and it made for a fun adventure to take a U-train into the city. This was my first time using public transportation in Germany and I was very grateful for the year we had spent riding the Metro system in Washington DC. The systems are very similar (though the trains in Germany are so much cleaner!!!).
I started the morning off with a quick stop to the front desk to ask about the trains. The receptionist pulled out a train map, circled where we were, and showed me the station where I wanted to go. She also told me where to switch trains. The kids and I went down to the podium where there are ticket kiosks; thankfully, in English as well as German. Next time we use the train I’ll take a photo of a kiosk and explain how to use it, but rest assured, it’s pretty idiot proof.
We didn’t have to wait long before we were onboard, seated, and viewing the various neighborhoods whiz by. A quick change of trains, and we were off again. I don’t think it took more than 35 minutes for us to reach our destination. The kids loved it, and I loved not getting lost, fighting traffic, or looking for parking.
We walked out of the station and right into the middle of the square.
I wasn’t exactly sure where we were going, I just knew I wanted to go. We walked around the bustling square. Looking at the monuments and stoping for a photo in front of Neues Schloss.
Off of the square is a large shopping district. Walking only.
We walked through to the end of this shopping area then out a side street to a large open park, the Oberer Schlossgarten, and came across a random statue. No plaque or description.
The sun was nice and bright, so we continued on, crossed Arnulf-Klett Platz via a foot bridge (watch out for the bikers, they like to zip by), and into Mittlerer Schloßgarten. I’m hoping to return to this area in another season. Being winter, all of the fountains were drained, so I didn’t take photos of them. We did find some Roman ruins though.
We also came across lawn chess, all of the boards were occupied so Alpha and Beta couldn’t play a game (they took chess lessons last year), but it was fun to watch the older men play. Such personalities. I was too shy and didn’t take any photos of them.
We walked a good length of the park, stopped and had a snack, then returned along a different path. There was more to the square that I wanted to explore. We stopped for a rest in front of the Stuttgart State Opera.
This one happens to be the Stiftkirche. Around this square and church is more shopping.
By now, the kids were starting to get a little restless. After a quick look through the interior of the church we stopped for another snack then went to the Landesmuseum Württemberg.
From the looks of it, their standing collection is one to see. Again, I hope to return so we can tour it. But today, I chose to take the kids to the temporary exhibition, “In the splendor of the czars.”
*Side note: No photography is allowed in this museum. There is a coat check or lockers for rent. I used a locker and crammed all of our coats and my camera bag in. My back enjoyed the break. I’m glad we left our coats, because it was very warm inside, though there are some areas where you walk along these outside corridors to go from exhibit to exhibit. Also of note, they have free, with the purchase of a ticket, audio tours in English. You do not get audio for all of the exhibits as you do with the German audio, but we enjoyed it; especially since all of the signage is in German. It’s nice to get some idea of what you’re looking at.*
The exhibit was beautiful (although we did manage to enter at the same time as two “mature” tour groups). We learned about Russian ties – the Romanovs – to today’s southern Germany. Many of the pieces were being viewed outside of Russia for the first time.
In addition to our special exhibit ticket (I paid 14 EUR for one adult ticket, the kinder were free), was access to the children’s area. An educational/interactive play area. It was a great relief and the kids had a lot of fun playing dress up and making crafts.
By the time we were done with the museum, we were done for the day. Our train ride back was just as relaxing as it had been on the way down. More crowded, since we were leaving the city center a little after 5:00pm (museum closing time), but still easy to do. We did have a bit of excitement since we had to change platforms when we switched trains… the kids and I ran to catch the train so we didn’t have to wait for the next one. But we made it and were back in our hotel room before 6:00pm. We spent a quiet evening watching movies, eating pizza, taking long hot baths, and ordering dessert from room service.
Wednesday morning we took our time before heading home. Slept in, packed up and loaded the car. Then had one more wonderful breakfast at the Dormero. The weather was good for the drive, we left a little after 11:00am and returned just after 1:00pm.
Stuttgart is an amazing city, with something to offer everyone. I can’t wait to return and discover more.