Stuttgarts the capital of the German state of Baden-Württemberg which is located in the south west corner of the country which is the are of the “famed” black forrest.Baden-Württemberg used to be comprised of several principalities until they united under one king as a result of the Nepoleanonic wars. Roughly from 1850-1917 it was ruled by King Wilhem I.Sothern Germany is traditionally predominately Catholic however Stuttgart is almost entirely protestant while the rest of the state is catholic.There are several museums in the city devoted to the history of Baden Württemberg some dealing with it’s modern history and others with its prehistoric history where there are artifacts from the ancient celts that used to inhabit this area at about 3000 BC or I think, there aren’t a lot of signs in English at these museums so I have to leave it up to my substandard german although I must say that as I stumble and bumble about with my German I keep getting compliments on how my german is better than their English. Anyhow, back to the museums, Germans hold a special place in their “German-es” and this is evident from an actual war torn American flag that was carried into battle by a battalion of soldiers that had emigrated from Baden Württemberg prior to the Civil War and subsequently fought in it.
The city of Stuttgart itself is actually a newer city because of all of the damages that it received during the second world war so there are buildings from the 1300’s but they have all been rebuilt. In addition, a lot of the older buildings have been renovated and are used as bars, stores, and government building. One thing that I noticed was that there was graffiti on some of the places that being historical shouldn’t have graffiti on them.The city also seems to me to be abit dirtier than what I would expect from a german city. This is in contrast to Munich which to me seems a lot cleaner and there seems to be a greater pride in keeping there city’s atmosphere of a small town. Here, you are in the city and you know it. Also unlike Munich or Berlin there are no large open spaces planned into the city. Anyways, I met an Australlian girl in my hostel who moved here to work for a year,and two crazy Estonians, they were hilarious imagineBevis and Butthead only they speak Estonian.We ended up going to climb Germany’s first television tower to get good views of the city.In These photos you can see how the city of Stuttgart is carved out of the surrounding dense Black Forest.
Afterwards we went to the Mercedes museum.Although I didn’t pay the 8 Euro’s to see the whole museum, I was able to see the new Mclaren and Maibach which are sitting on the show room floor, Yes, the museum has an actual show room you can go buy a car if you want to.We were able to take a free factory tour (in English) of where they produce all of the V-6 and V-8 motors and transmissions for all of their cars which then are shipped to various plants world wide to be assembled. This plant is capable of producing nearly 3000 motors a day. Incidently their new 7 speed automatic transmission has over 500 parts. The automation of the plant was simply amazing along with the supply chain that was being used. The average German factory worker at a Mercedes plant earns about 2000 euros a month which is a pretty decent wage as wages in Germany and the rest of Europe get. I also went out to the Porche museum which was pretty small but I did see a Porche 911 outfited like a cop car. We were unable to get a tour of the factory there because you are supposed to call ahead but I think that is crap, but you can get a tour of the factory is you are a Porche owner for free.The footprint that both of these manufacturing plants have is enormous, I would say that each one probably encompasses atleast 10 or 15 city blocks or in some cases an entire small village,
Sara (the Aussie) and I had a great time sitting in the pedestrian zone laughing at all the people who walked by because of the things they were wearing.I could write a whole lot on the fashion of the people here but it’s obivious I am a “dirty American” and have no fashion sence, although for some reason skulls are in, and big sunglasses. I thought I got away form those when I left San Diego.You would be amazed at the graphic t-shirts that people wear with outlandish sayings and wonder if they know what it means. For instance we saw a younger girl wearing a t-shirt that said “you got what I want?” and the most horrifying I think was the one that said “Cocaine Business 100%” Anyhow, I am Reutlingen now hanging out with my new roomates and trying to get the lay of the city ( ie where the closest beer garden to my dorm room is) before classes start on Monday.