After my guilt-free, lazy Sunday, I was looking forward to getting out of the house on Monday. I set my alarm clock for 8:30am because it’s too easy to sleep in here. My brother’s apartment is equipped with these amazing electronic shades that make for total darkness and uninterrupted sleep. Luckily, they also let you flood the apartment with natural sunlight. So, I climbed out of the cave, finished my morning routine (Cheerios, Scrubs, news, shower) and headed to downtown Stuttgart.
I kept hearing about this great sushi place in Stuttgart and sushi sounded like a perfect lunch. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the restaurant’s name and couldn’t reach any of the people who had raved about it. Instead, I Googled, “sushi in Stuttgart”, scanned for good reviews, and ended up choosing Sushi & Wok on Schulstraße; a narrow passageway with shopping and dining that rests under an elevated pedestrian walkway. The restaurant was modern, well-decorated, and crowded. All good signs. I took a seat at the bar and read over the menu which was written in a mix of Japanese and German. Not really knowing what I was in for, I ordered one roll at a time. I ended up with a tuna roll and a salmon roll. There’s not much more detail than that. The rolls consisted of seaweed, rice, and a small piece of fish. No veges, sauces, spices, nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it tasted just fine, but “no frills” is the best descriptor I can think of. And when it comes to sushi, I’m looking for frills.
I finished my raw fish in rice rolls, paid my bill, swore I would never buy Coke Light in a restaurant again (2-4 €) and went on my merry way. I was off to the Art Museum of Stuttgart, something I’ve been looking forward to… and I’m still looking forward to it. Can’t forget, in many cities museums are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. In this case, the museum was closed on Monday and for a split second I was left disappointed, but only for that split second. There’s too much else to see and do to waste time pouting. Besides, I would be able to see it all from the world’s first TV tower, just minutes from downtown. I made a quick stop at the Stuttgart i-Punkt (the tourist center) to make sure the tower would be open (I learned my lesson) and to ask the best way to get there. About 20 minutes later and a steady train ride upward, I was alone in a forest on a deserted pathway. Awesome.
I made the scenic walk towards the tower and grew more and more impressed by its size and stature. Once I got underneath the tower I had to stop looking up. Massive, man made, towering structures freak me out a little. I guess I’d rather be on top of them looking down (what’s the opposite of acrophobia?). Anyway, I went inside, bought my ticket, learned how to say “wait” in German, and boarded the elevator up the 3,000 ton, 711 foot tower. I have to mention the wind’s force and truly questioning my safety when I almost fell back against the tower, but other than that, I’ll let the view speak for itself.
A walk back through the forest and a train ride later and I was back in downtown Stuttgart on Königstraße. This area is usually busy, but even more so on this particular day. Monday brought the first signs of Spring; clear skies, hot sun, and and an overall light and fresh demeanor of anyone outdoors. It was also Karneval which could be celebrated by visiting any one of the street stands selling crepes, pretzels, beer, souvenirs, and anything else that could trap a tourist or delight a local. The biggest sign of the weather and of the holiday could be seen on the Schlossplatz, or Palace Square. This is where Germans and tourists flock for beautiful views, a piece of history, and a spot of grass. It was much more crowded than I had ever seen and I know it will only get livelier as the weather heats up. I look forward to picnics and reading hours on the Schlossplatz all season.
As I cruised downtown, I listened to bizarre street performers in elaborate costumes, stopped by the Markthalle, grabbed one of those delicious Nutella crepes, found a few bargains on hats (I’m steadily become a “hat person”) and checked out Karlsplatz where flea markets and events are often held.
A quick stop at Starbucks for a hot tea and a few chapters of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (and some unexpected eye candy behind the counter) ended my day downtown. When I got back to my apartment all I could think was how different my Mondays used to be. I’m incredibly thankful to have this time to live life as it should be, as an adventure. What I’m learning is, the adventure doesn’t start just because you decide to drop everything and travel the world or to quit your job and join the circus. It starts when and where you say it does and if you want, it can last forever.