A city of refined Old World (right) and New World (left) taste.
Monument at dusk, Stuttgart.
Stuttgart isn’t as frantically busy as many other cities in Europe and even in Germany can be, but it’s lively and thriving. With luxury auto manufacturing, palaces and wine, the city is a place to experience and learn about the Good Life, Old World elegance and modern chic alike.
Just how tasteful is Stuttgart? Even local protesters against “imposed Mega Projects” were at the local train station handing out cups of gourmet coffee off trays, hoping for support of their cause.
Where to stay. Located next to an urban park, the Maritim is like an enclosed resort in the city. Along with a beauty salon and a massage/cosmetics salon, the fitness center and pool area is first class all the way. The indoor swimming pool has a gorgeous pink and green Tiffany-style glass ceiling; it and the sauna are open to an extra late 11 p.m. – great when you have jet lag. The changing area has a big tank of help-yourself Gerolsteiner mineral water. Fill up! The bottles cost a pretty penny in restaurants. Stuttgart is known for having the second largest concentration of mineral water in Europe.
In the morning, the breakfast buffet has a variety of cold cuts, French and German cheeses, dill gravlax, pickled herring, shrimp salad with fruit and scrambled eggs made with their local marigold-fed orange yolked eggs.
What to do. Rilling Sekt has been a special little family-run winery in the city for 125 years, though its one cellar is 400 years old and another part dates from Roman times, 90–260 AD! They’ve been focusing on a full range of sparkling wines since 1935. Today, it seems like most people’s knowledge of champagne/sparkling wines comes from rap song lyrics.
They make 20 sweetness varieties of sparkling wine, which is a learning experience onto itself. Fortunately, you can learn to refine your palate through their special events, like sparkling wine for beginners and sparkling wine for fine dining.
Outside the Porsche Museum.
When you’re thinking of someone sporty, chic and sleek, what car do they drive? Hands down: a Porsche. The futuristic Porsche Museum building in Stuttgart- Zuffenhausen showcases super-luxe automobiles that stand the test of time. People seem to love posing next to the prized vehicles.
Around the world, wherever you go, the automobile of the upper crust is always a Mercedes. The Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart provides a top-notch experience befitting the name. The historical display shows the very beginnings of the automobile, of which the brand was part, going back 125 years. It unflinchingly – though you might flinch – looks at the dark days of the company during WWII, as the automobile manufacturer for Hitler and photos of slave laborers. On the other side of the double-helix atrium is a display of the luxury cars. On the ground floor is the wide variety of Mercedes work vehicles used throughout the world.
Ludwigsburg Palace reenactors.
It makes sense that the museum also has a serious gastronomy component. After all, the famous Michelin restaurant ratings started out as a promo book to get people to use that company’s tires. The entire American fast-food empire began as super-highways were built and people got hungry while motoring. Their restaurant serves food – both produce and meats – sourced locally and in a sustainable way. The menu is both local (Swabian) and Italian-influenced. If you really love what you ate, there are also special cooking courses there with the restaurant’s chef.
In a posh hamlet outside of Stuttgart is Ludwigsburg Palace. Sure, you can visit the glamorous grounds museum-style, but why not step it up a bit? After all, you only live once. There are special events with concerts and afternoon teas. For the experience of a lifetime, you can even rent out the place, complete with period reenactors – some of whom are quite naughty!