We awoke to beautiful early morning views, before setting off, on what would be our first opportunity to explore Stuttgart in the light of day.
The first leg of the journey meant our first experience of the interesting world of the Stuttgart tram service. We don’t have one here, but at first sight they are essentially massive trains which run using tracks in the road, and wires in the sky; much more energy efficient, faster, and greener than the transport services here in Cardiff- will we see this trend appear at home?
As soon as we stepped off the tram and emerged from the tunnel onto the street, we were immediately struck by how clean everything is over there- not a sign of pigeon poop on a single statue where Stuttgart are concerned. The streets are wide, open and modern, the buildings beautiful and unique. It’s safe to say the majority of our group fell in love. Firstly, we wandered along Königstrasse, the main shopping street in Stuttgart’s city centre, appropriately named King Street, as if in parallel to our Queen Street. On the floor, a large circular mural decorated the floor, a commemoration to each of Stuttgart’s ten sister cities, including Cairo in Egypt, Mumbai in India, St.Louis in the US, and Samara in Russia. Obviously we needed a picture break to snap the best one…
We eventually approached the grand steps of the Rathaus, which, despite what the name might suggest, has less to do with rodents and more to do with politicians! As with most of Stuttgart, the Rathaus was impressive due to its size, its modern appearance, and unique qualities.
Distraction number one came in the form of a lift, unlike any other we’d seen before. As opposed to stopping and taking you to your designated floor, it continues to move, forcing you to jump on and off of your own accord… and it isn’t easy! There’ll be videos on Facebook soon.
After an interesting tour with even more gorgeous views and interesting info…
… we head over to an information centre, where we partook in a “City Challenge” run by “tipsntrips”. From being lifted up by a stranger, to finding out information and statistics about Stuttgart by asking its inhabitants, to taking embarrassing photos, this two hour challenge really was a challenge! Putting our German-speaking, teamwork, and walking power to the test!
After freshening up, we had an exciting evening of youth culture. Our two musicians, Niamh and Rhiannon performed amazing music on stage in Stuttgart with another young singer-songwriter from the city itself. The atmosphere was amazing, as we all enjoyed beautiful original content along with covers to sing-along to from our very own Cardiffians, who made fantastic contributions to our trip- thanks guys!
We also got to watch and partake in a “Paint Battle”. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a paintball style free for all, but rather something more organised, interesting, and a much better way to utilise the extremely talented artists who joined us on our trip. As opposed to throwing paint on each other, paint was thrown on canvass, as the artists fought to create better pictures than the other country’s team in three rounds. The topics for painting were called out by the audience, who also got the deciding vote on the winners. Go team Cardiff, the unanimous winners! Thanks Cerys and Astrid for taking part in everything we did, and to Lydia, one of our new members for your contribution in the last round of the art battle!