World traveler Clown Tom Bolton

Adventure stories & photos

 

Stuttgart Germany

 

Capital of  Baden-Württemberg

 

Schlossplatz, the heart of the city

I first visited Stuttgart in the southwestern region of Baden-Württemberg in 1984 and over the coming years made it a base to start and end my season of street performing. Eventually I settled in Stuttgart. Starting at the main train station, the major pedestrian street known as Königstrasse or King’s Street extends approximately a kilometer with the  heart of the city, the Schlossplatz or castle plaza as one would call it in German half way up. The Schlossplatz is ringed by the Neues Schloss or New Castle, the Altes Schloss or old caste, the Königsbau or King’s building and the Stuttgarter Kunstgebäude or Stuttgart Art Buildings. On the plaza are multiple statues, monuments fountains and a gazebo that add flair to the historic buildings and flower beds seen as an extension of the Schlossgarten or nearby by Castle gardens. A metal relief on the Könisbau shows Eugen Bolz an honored figure in the resistance to Hitler.

Stuttgart Schlossplatz Germany
Stuttgart Schlossplatz gazebo
Statues Stuttgart Schlossplatz Germany
eugen bolz memorial stuttgart schlossplatz
Germany Stuttgart Schlossplatz statue
Stuttgart Germany SWR Sommer Festival
fountain Stuttgart Schlossplatz Germany

Perfomances in Stuttgart

Here I am doing shows in Stuttgart on the Schloßplatz about 2001. The local population is known for being tight with their money but it is also one of the most economically well off areas of Germany. Like a friend once commented to me, “when I saw the big Mercedes sign rotating on top of the train station, I knew there was money here”. Stuttgart is neither as cosmopolitan as Berlin, Munich or Hamburg. But not as hectic either yet still has a multitude of culture, art and sports. Eventually one has to live somewhere besides in a motor home.

The southern side of the Schlossplatz has been my home pitch for years. In the mid 1980’s they built a tunnel underneath to redirect the traffic that used to pass through. Then they built a series of stairs up to an elevated plaza which was like a theater. There was a restaurant/ice cream place that overlooked the pitch.

Partially because I established the space below as the place to do big shows in Stuttgart, the stairs became a loved place for people to hang out. Eventually they tore the stairs away to make room for a new museum.  But due to the popularity of the place, they built a smaller set of stairs alongside of the museum. Unfortunately, the stairs are set too far back to use as seating for a show but still makes a nice backdrop.

The Schlossplatz still has the advantage of being a huge space and nobody lives close enough to complain about the noise. On the other hand, there are often events taking place on the weekends in the warmer months, which are the only time I tend to work there. There can also be competition with musicians or break dancers who want the space so I am happy to have paying gigs so that I don’t need to bother with street shows but it is still part of my marketing to keep a high profile in Stuttgart.

Stuttgart Altes Schloss “old castle”, Landesmuseum

Just across from the Neues Schloss is the Altes Schloss. Not nearly are large but beautifully built, it houses the Landesmuseum or regional museum wiht many historical artifacts. The museum has an entrance but sometimes the door to the castle chapel is open and one can enter for free. The most impredsive characteristic of the castle is the courtyard with its multiple stories of archways and a nice equestrian statue.

Stuttgart altes schloss
Stuttgart old castle courtyard
Stuttgart schlosskirche sign
Stuttgart Landesmuseum entrance sign
Stuttgart altes schloss-entrance
Altes Schloss Wuerttembergische Museum Stuttgart
Stuttgart old castle courtyard statue
Stuttgart Schlosskirche interior Germany
Stuttgart old castle courtyard archways
Stuttgart​ Karlsplatz, Kaiser Wilhelm monument, Markthalle

To the east of the old castle is the Karlsplatz. It is ringed by many shady trees and centered around a monument to Kaiser Wilhelm ranked by 2 large stone lions and 2 columns. Some events are held here but it is most known for the Saturday flea market where I have seen some amazing deals on real antiques – and no cheap junk from China allowed. To the west one sees the Altes Schloss and to the southeast is the Markthalle or market hall. It is a covered market but rather than cheap produce from local farmers, it seems to cater to expensive and exotic imports although some seasonal foods are also to be found. On the second floor are exclusive boutiques selling things for people with classical tastes; more likely to find a gift for one’s grandmother than something new and cool for a teenager.

Kaiser Wilhelm monument Karlsplatz Stuttgart
Stuttgart Karlsplatz saturday flea market
Altes Schloss Stuttgart Baden Wuerttemberg
Germany Stuttgart Markthalle entrance
Stuttgart Germany Baden Wuerttemberg Markthalle
Markthalle Stuttgart Germany sign
Stuttgart markthalle Germany spice vendor
Markthalle Stuttgart Germany produce stand
Stuttgart markthalle pasta vendor
saturday flea market Stuttgart Karlsplatz
Germany Altes Schloss Stuttgart statues
Stuttgart markthalle Germany
Markthalle painting Stuttgart Germany
Markthalle Stuttgart Baden Wuerttemberg
Markthalle fountain Stuttgart Germany
Stuttgart​ Schillerplatz, Prinzenbau, Fruchtkasten, Stiftskirche, Altekanzlei

From the Schlossplatz there is a pedestrian street, parallel to the Königstrasse, the old Castle to the left and to the right the Schillerplatz, which was originally called the Schlossplatz before the new Castle was built. In the middle is a large monument and statue of Friedrich Schiller one of Germany’s best known authors who was born in the Stuttgart area. The Schillerplatz is ringed by some of Stuttgarts oldest and iconic structures. Across from the old Castle is the Prinzenbau or Prince’s building and the adjacent Altekanzei or old Chancellery building. On the other side is the Fruchtkastenbau or granary building which now holds the music instrument collection of the Landesmuseum, and the Stiftskirche or collegiate church. This church has a special assembly of glass plates hung from its ceiling to amplify the acoustics and concerts are sometimes held here, without needing electronic amplification. In the foreground of one photos of the Stiftskirche  is the Mulan Chinese Restaurant, one of my favorite Stuttgart eateries.

Altekanzlei Stuttgart Baden Wuerttemberg Germany
Brunnen Stiftskirche Stuttgart Germany
Stuttgart Stiftskirche mulan restaurant
Stuttgart Schillerplatz Germany
Stuttgart Schillerplatz alte Kanzlei
Stuttgart Stiftskirche Germany
Stiftskirche Stuttgart Baden Wuerttemberg Germany
Stuttgart Marktplatz, Rathaus “city hall”

Past the Stiftskirche one comes to the large Marktplatz or market place where has the Rathaus or city hall is located. The Rathaus was rebuilt a couple of times, lastly after WWII where they kept some of the inner structures from what was left after it was heavily bombed but to the Marktplatz side it looks very modern (for the tastes of the 1950s) and the backside is done in a more classical style. Aside from the Schlossplatz, this is where many events and demonstrations in the city center are held. There is also a weekly market held here and the nearby Königstrasse also shown below one view with th Stiftskirche behind the directions of the compass.  .

Altes Rathaus Stuttgart Germany
Stuttgart koenigstrasse pedestrian street
Stuttgart Germany Stiftskirche koenigstrasse
Stuttgart Germany Rathaus city hall
Stuttgart Germany Altes Rathaus

Stuttgart Hospitalkirche. Haus der Wirtschaft

To the southwest of the Schlossplatz over the Theodor-Hauss-Strasse is an area called the Hospitalviertel or hospital quarter. There are a number of nearby hospitals but not actually in this area. It was apparently  an area used for jousting tournaments in the middle-ages and eventually a Dominican monastery was built here which included the Hospitalkirche or hospital church, one of Stuttgart’s oldest churches. After the reformation it became the center of the local protestant community.

The monastery and most of the church were destroyed in WWII.  A much smaller but classical style church was erected on the spot incorporating ruins from the former structures. A notable hold over, although just back to the early 1900’s is the 3 statue memorial to the reformation. Next door and across from the Hosptialkirche are buidlings for educational training, events and seminars as well as offices where community services are offered like marriage consuling, advice for addicts, a soup kitchen for the homeless. Nearby is the large classical building Haus der Wirtschaft or house of business where the Stuttgart stock exchange is stationed as well as various government offices that deal with economic matters.

Hospitalkirche Stuttgart Germany
Stuttgart Germany wirtschaftshaus boerse
Stuttgart Germany Hospitalkirche
statues Hospitalkirche Stuttgart Germany
haus der wirtschaft Stuttgart Germany
Stuttgart​ Wilhelmplatz, Bohnenviertel red light district, Schellenturm

About 500 meters SE from the Marktplaz, across the Hauptstätterstrasse, a major thoroughfare ring-road around the center, is the Wilhemplatz with many restaurants and bars. This marks the border to the Stuttgart Bohnenviertel or “bean quarter” a few blocks which contain a rather sleazy red-light district in a country with legal but regulated prostitution. Whore houses, biker bars but also antique shops and some other interesting boutiques are all to be found here. It looks seedy but is generally safe despite the local junkie scene. The eastern outskirts of the area have a high number of asian restaurants and the Schellenturm, a charming old historical tower.Just above teh Schellnturm is the Alte katholiche Kirche St. Katharina or old catholic church St. Cathirina a rather small but imposing structure.

Stuttgart wilhelmplatz outdoor restaurants
Stuttgart Bohnenviertel Lido bar
Stuttgart red light district hotel
Bohnenviertel Stuttgart Germany cafe
schellenturm sign stuttgart Stuttgart
Alt Katholische Kirche St Katherina Stuttgart
Stuttgart Germany eros center Bohnenviertel
Stuttgart Germany red light district
gaststaette brett bohnenviertel Stuttgart Germany
Schellenturm Stuttgart Germany
Germany Stuttgart Bohnenviertel schellenturm
Stuttgart Stadtpalais, Staatsgalarie

From the Bohnenviertel if one follows the Hauptstätterstrasse back north one passes many large institutions including the pictured Stadtpalais or city-palace which holds city archives and also hosts many events. Back of teh Palai is  statue of King Wilhelm walking his dog There is also the new Staatsgalerie or State gallery a modern art museum built in a funky modern design directly nest door to the “old” Staatsgalerie with it’s classic style and statue of king Wilhelm on horseback.

Stuttgart Stadt Palais Germany
Stuttgart Staatgalarie Germany
staatsgalerie entrance stuttgart germany
Alte staatsgalerie stuttgart germany
stuttgart stadt palais koenig wilhelm statue
Stuttgart Germany neue Staatsgalerie
stuttgart staatsgalerie statue

Stuttgarter Schlossgarten, Staatstheater, Stuttgarter-ballet

Eventually one reaches the Schlossgarten where one can see (below) a nice monument on the backside of the new castle and the modern Landtag building where the minsters of regional government of Baden-Württemberg have their offices. Next door is the Staatstheater building aka the opera-house, which is a classical construction where theater, opera and also the world class Stuttgart ballet often performs. There is a small pond in front of the opera house, a good view of the side of the new castle and plenty of trees and statues.

Stuttgart Germany neues schloss
Stuttgart schlossgarten neues schloss
germany stuttgarter kunstlerbund
statues by opera house Stuttgart Germany
Stuttgart staatstheater sign
Stuttgart schlossgarten sign Germany
kunstverein stuttgart schlossgarten
Stuttgart Landtag schlossgarten
Stuttgart Schlossgarten Staatsoperhaus
Stuttgart Schlossgarten statues
Stuttgart​ Hauptbahnhof-Turm, main trains-station tower

From the Scholossgarten one has a view of the front of what is left of the Stuttgart main train station tower. Most of the station has been torn down in a miserable fiasco project called Stuttgrt-21 which has left the whole area an ugly construction site for over 10 years with no end in sight. Seems fitting that this is where a large group of or Romas aka Gypsies congregate since Romania was allowed to join the EU. They camp out and beg and generally misbehave but seem to be tolerated by the police to an unexplainable level. Not that I am at all anti-foreigner but I’ve personally experienced their aggression and thievery attempts. But it seems that in light of WWII, the local police don’t want to be seen as too authoritative – although they have often used unnecessary force against demonstrators opposed to the Stuttgart-21 project. Yet despite the years of blowing through billions of taxpayer money over the claimed budget, Stuttgart-21 continues and the opposition with their information stand defiantly still stands in front of the station.

Stuttgart main train station Mahnwache
Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof Schlossgarten

Stuttgart Königstrasse, Schlossplatz events

The main walking street Königstrasse or King’s Street runs almost a kilometer through the center and there are other pedestrian zones and plazas but the Schloßplatz is really the center of it all. The Schloßplatz and the pedestrian streets running to and including the Marktplatz or Market Plaza are the setting for one of Germany’s biggest Christmas markets.

Stuttgart Christmas Market

The Christmas market or Weihnachtsmarkt runs about 3 weeks and is proceeded some weeks by a temporary ice-skating rink and a number of wooden stands selling bratwurst and Glühwien – a warm spiced wine that is traditional like hot apple cider in the States.

Lots of traditional handicrafts like ornaments and toys made of wood or leather, candles, etc. are sold here as well as the big heart shaped cookies to be worn around the neck. Known under various names like Lebkuchen or Magenbrot, they are flavored with honey cinnamon and nuts and typically have sentimental prose like “Ich liebe dich” – (I love you) written on them. They also set up a model train city that includes a train big enough for the kids to ride on, with steam coming out of the engine.

Carnival in Stuttgart

Carnival or Fasching is the next big festival after Christmas and is celebrated with a big parade through the center. There are many styles of costumes from shiny modern to middle-age looking one. There is no tradition of marching bands at sporting events like in the USA but some of these groups take it very serious, meeting often although they might only perform at a handful of events during the carnival season.

Most of the traditional costumes depict old hags and grotesque guys often carrying brooms and they might throw candy or confetti but also carry off the occasional teenage girl. Most of the costumes look pretty warm, which fits to the German weather in late winter, in contrast to the sexy girls clad in bikinis that one sees in Brazil. Halloween was not even celebrated in Germany until the new millennium but has slowly made inroads into the society. The traditional occasion to get dressed up is still carnival. There are often events for kids but the carnival parades are mostly adults.

Demonstrations, democracy at work

In addition to celebrations, Stuttgart has been home to many demonstrations in the past years. Here was a huge demonstration against nuclear energy shortly after the catastrophe in Fukoshima. The phasing out of atomic energy had been settled years ago but then the conservatives under Angela Merkel simply gave into the lobbyists and backtracked on the laws. The public outcry after Fukoshima forced her hand to repeal her deal. This demonstration  was not just in the center of Stuttgart but was part of a human chain all the way to one of Germany’s oldest, most dangerous nuclear plants less than 40 Km north of Stuttgart.

The most controversial thing in Stuttgart is the “Stuttgart 21” project to replace the present main train station with an underground one. Debated for years, the political and financial power-brokers are ramming through this disastrous project despite untold levels of fraud and corruption. The Deutsche Bahn has spent millions on propaganda and even the more liberal politicians in the area seem to have their finger in the pie or have buckled under the pressure. The populous has on the other hand; keep up a series of weekly protests and occasional big demonstrations since years.

Political & police oppression remain in Stuttgart

A shocking aspect of this controversy is that the police have been used to brutally suppress the civil disobedience opposed to the destruction of the city. A virtual witch hunt has ensued by the prosecutors and courts to criminalize all opposition. On one occasion, water cannons, tear gas and Billy-clubs were used against non-violent children and seniors just for being in the way resulting in hundreds of injuries including the permanent blinding of 2 adults.

Stuttgart train project a scandal of corruption

Although it has been proven that the planned station has much less capacity than the present one, the proponents keep up wild claims how it will be the best and greatest project of all time. Undisputed is that it will be the most expensive of all time in Germany. One of the early steps to try to make the decision irreversible was to occupy a large section of the Schlossgarten (castle gardens) and cut down hundreds of trees, many of them 200 – 300 years old.

That the needed permission was lacking was simply ignored as was the arbitration decision that was supposed to settle the conflict. The project leaders were obliged to replant the trees elsewhere but only moved a few small ones. Of course the larger ones would have been expensive if not impossible to transplant, which was one of the points of the project opponents. The promise to move them was a farce like most of the project to date.

An environmental catastrophe

An endangered beetle that only lives in old trees was known to be living here but the DB went around the European law protecting them.  They paid off someone to claim that there were no beetles in the trees they wanted to cut. This proved to be false. And what sense does it make to say an animal is in this particular spot at the moment, so it won’t impact them to destroy their only surrounding living space.

Even in time of war, the residents of Stuttgart had protected the trees from getting cut down for firewood. To add insult to injury, the DB propaganda machine has used exactly the most obnoxious drawbacks to the project to turn around and sell it. They destroy the nature and sell it as a “green ecological” project. The present station has ground level entrances and is convenient for handicaps even without power working. The propose station is a nightmare of safety violations with no escape in case of fire yet is always touted as barrier free.

The present station in Stuttgart is not really pretty but then the DB has deliberately let it run down for the last 20 years
so they can claim they need a new station. But it is a historically “protected” monument of architectural importance. Yet in addition to destroying a large section of the Schlossgarten, they tore down 2/3 of the station backed by the force of 6000 aggressive riot police. I could go on and on about the incredible fraud and arrogance involved with this project but this isn’t the place for it.

Beautiful Schlossgarten trees

This is a photo from a happier time after a demonstration calling for the saving of the Schlossgarten. It was really the jewel of Stuttgart’s parks with a long history of royal patronage being sacrificed so that developers can build shopping centers and expensive unneeded office buildings where the tracks are located.

Culture in the Stuttgart Schlossgarten

The Schlossgarten is more than just a place to relax. There are events held here like the annual LAB Festival that every few years brings back Stuttgart’s favorite clown.

Soccer World Cup

During the Soccer World Cup in 2010 which was held in Germany, there were large screens for public viewing set up in the Schlossgarten. These photos were made during and after Germany’s quarterfinal annihilation of Argentina. The weather was hot and hundreds of people partied in the fountains while tens of thousands danced in the street.

Only in the last decade have the Germans dared to start waving flags and displaying their national colors while rooting for their national teams. In light of the wars, it was considered in bad taste but that feeling has worn off. Unfortunately, some right-wing extremists are always going to exaggerate such situations to flout their ideology. Fortunately, Germany has become more integrated over the years and it is common in the big cities at least, to see people of obvious different cultural backgrounds speaking fluent German and being an integrated part of society especially in the performing arts.

Stuttgart Rosenstein Park.  Schloss Rosenstein.

One of the most important green spaces in Stuttgart is Rosenstein Park. If one follows the central Schlossgarten Park north, it ends at the Neckar River. From here is a connected park called Rosenstein that runs up the hill to the east. Rosenstein is much less developed with cafes and grill places although there is at least one large play area for kids; most of the grass here is now left to grow wild for the insects. Within the boundaries of the park there is the Naturkundemusuem or Natural History museum installed in 3 buildings. The first one upon entering the park from the Schlossgarten is the (castle) Schloss Rosenstein. Originally built 1824 – 1829 by a famous Italian architect as a summer palace for Wilhelm the King of Württemberg. It later housed the largest collection of the king’s paintings and sculptures and additionally was a war museum during WWII. Damaged in the war it was restored and since 1953 opened as the Natural History Museum. It is a beautiful building with a large statue of 2 nymphs in the front and a rose garden to the west with various statues and a view over the Neckar River and southern end of the Schlossgarten.

Rosenstein Park Stuttgart Germany
Schloss Rosenstein Stuttgart Baden-Wuerttemberg Germany
Entrance Schloss Rosenstein Stuttgart
statue Rosenstein Stuttgart Germany
statues Schloss Rosenstein Stuttgart
Schloss Rosenstein sign Stuttgart
garden schloss Rosenstein Stuttgart
Stuttgart Schloss Rosenstein Germany

Stuttgart Rosenstein Park.  Museum am Löwentor – Naturkundemusuem

At the other end of the park to the North-East is the Museum am Löwentor (Museum on Lion’s Gate) consisting of 2 modern buildings that house the rest of the Natural History Museums collection. The classical style of the Schloss Rosenstein could not be more different than the rather ugly modern style of the other buildings; looking like a disaster from the 1960’s although not built until the 1980s. What stands out are the 2 life sized dinosaur statues between the buildings and a 3 abstract metal construction in the shape of a dino. Schloss Rosenstein is dedicated to biology, the Museum am Löwentor to geology and paleontology.

Stuttgart museum am Loewentor
Naturkundemuseum dinosaurs Stuttgart

Stuttgart Rosenstein Park.  Wilhelma Zoo

On the South-middle edge of Rosenstein Park is the Wilhelma Zoo. One can actually see into a number of the outdoor areas from the park including the polar bear enclosure. The main entrance is to the west and to the east is an additional exit and a large theater that belongs to the zoo although it can be accessed from outside.

Wilhelma zoo Stuttgart Germany banners
Entrance Wilhelma zoo Stuttgart Germany
Wilhelma zoo map Stuttgart Germany
Wilhelma Theater Stuttgart Germany

Neckar Käptn boat lines, Bad Canstatt Stadt Strand, Leuze

Just across from the entrance to the Wilhelma zoo is a docking area for multiple boats from the Neckar Käptn. They offer various tours on the Neckar River and have a party boat for events and entertainment. In addition to a train bridge and car bridge nearby there is also a pedestrian bridge over the river to the neighborhood of Bad Canstatt. There is a small park here with a sand volleyball pitch and above is a laid back café with sand, beach chairs and umbrellas known as Stadt Strand or City Beach. Unfortunately, the Neckar River is neither clean enough nor suitable for swimming. But it is a nice atmosphere to meet in the early evening in the warm months and considered a hip insider tip.

A few hundred meters east of the Stadt Strand back across the Neckar River is the Leuze Mineralbad (mineral baths). Leuze is a Stuttgart institution. It has multiple natural hot springs sources, an extensive sauna/spa area as well as outdoor pools and lawns to relax. There is another natural spring pool right next door and yet another about 2 kilomenters towards the far side of Bad Canstatt.Togerther these contain the largest collection of natural thermal mineral springs in Europe next to Budapest. Most pools in Germany charge extra for their sauna areas but it is all included in Leuze. They charge a bit more than a normal pool for swimming but it is the cheapest place in the area to have an extensive sauna area.

Neckar Kaeptn Stuttgart Germany
Neckar Kaeptn boats Stuttgart
Stadt Strand Stuttgart Germany
Stuttgart Stadt Strand volleyball
Stuttgart Neckar Kaeptn boat trip schedule
Stadt Strand sign Stuttgart Germany
Stadt strand cafe Stuttgart
Lueze mineralbad Stuttgart

Stuttgart Höhenpark Killesberg

One of the nicest parks in Stuttgart is the Höhenpark Killesberg about 2 kilometers north of the center. It is a sizable park with many rolling hills, old trees, gardens, fountains and multiple café/restaurants. An unusual attraction is the kids’ train that runs through the park; one pulled by a coal burning steam locomotive the other by a diesel motor. Killesberg has a long history. It was the staging grounds for numerous horticultural shows both national and regional. It was used as a fairgrounds and the Stuttgart convention center was here for a few decades before being moved to its present location by the airport. Killesberg was also known to be one of multiple places used by the Nazis to gather Jews and other “undesirables” before sending them off to concentration camps. But the name Killesberg or Killes-mountain is just a coincidense; the word Killes being jsut a family name and having nothing to do with killing.

Killesberg Stuttgart bahn
Stuttgart hohenpark killesberg bahn
Stuttgart Killesberg map
Stuttgart ssb killesbergbahn
Stuttgart Killesberg- Eliszi’s Jahrmarkts- theater and rides

A major draw to Killesberg is the Eliszi’s carnival rides and theater. The shows presented in the tent theater are usually clown or puppet shows offering kid friendly entertainment. The theater is ringed by old circus wagons used as offices and dressing rooms. The is a carousel, waffle stand, swing that looks like  a pendulating ship and throwing booth where one tries to knock the hat off wood head figures.

Stuttgart hoehenpark killesberg carousel
Eliszis jarhmarktstheater stuttgart
Stuttgart killesberg eliszis jahrmarktstheater
Stuttgart killesberg carousel tower
Eliszis theater killesberg stuttgart
stuttgart killesberg eliszis waffelbaeckerei
Eliszis Schiffschaukel killesberg stuttgart
killesberg stuttgart carnival game
Stuttgart Killesberg tower

On a hill above where Eliszi’s carnival is stationed is a modern tower that gives great views over the park and surrounding area. It is built around a massive center pole with spiraling stairs and a construction of cables.

hoehenpark Killesberg tower stuttgart
Stuttgart Germany hoehenpark killesberg
Stuttgart Germany hoehenpark killesberg tower
hoenhenpark killesberg stuttgart baden wuerttemberg germany
Stuttgart Killesberg zoo.

Killesberg park also has a small zoo with free access. It has ponies, donkeys, alpacas, goats, peacocks, flamingos and wild pigs

killesberg stuttgart tierpark pony
killesberg stuttgart flower gardens pond
peacock stuttgart Germany killesberg
killesberg stuttgart germany donkey
killesberg stuttgart germany flamingos
alpaca stutgart killesberg park

Stuttgart – Hamburger Fish Market

This is a photo of another foreign artist, my good friend Hugo from Argentina. His German is even much worse than mine but he is a pantomime so it doesn’t matter. Here he is mimicking people on the Hamburger Fish Market, held in late summer on the Karlsplatz close to the Schlossplatz. They mostly offer northern German fish and seafood specialties and the fried fish stand in the background was the same I often saw at the Kieler Woche Festival during my earlier stays in the north. The fish is deep fried on the upper level and is slid down a shoot to the seller on the lower level with a ring of a bell and a cry of “Backfisch”. Alternatively, the Stuttgarter Weinfest (Stuttgart wine festival) is presented each summer in Hamburg as an exchange of culture – in other words, any excuse for a party.

Vegan Days Festival on Stuttgart Pariserplatz

A rather new festival in Stuttgart is the Vegan Days event held in spring on the Pariser Plaza in the Europaviertel or Europe Quarter. This area is a recent addition just north of the main train station that includes the Milanao shopping center, new library, luxury condominiums and bank buildings. The festival is small but at least an attempt to counterbalance the karma of the sterile, almost green-less area that seems to epitomize luxury and materialismover values like protecting animals and the environment.

pariserplatz stuttgart germany vegan festival
stuttgart germany vegan days festival
vegan street day festival stuttgart germany
vegans for future stuttgart germany

The Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart

Stuttgart’s claim to world-wide fame is its vehicle production being the home base for both Porsche and Mercedes. For many years, Porsche had a museum displaying some of its cars. Then the huge Mercedes-Benz Museum opened with not only Mercedes but examples of many vehicles and technological products from the area. Much of the motor technology that came to power not just cars but boats and planes as well were developed around Stuttgart. For anyone interested in machine technology, this might be the best museum in the world.

Cars, buses, trucks… there is so much to see that one can hardly do it in one day. With the admission fee, one gets a set of headphones that provide a description of each display in either English or German. Not to be totally outdone, Porsche responded by building a bigger better museum as well. In the outskirts of Stuttgart, the building itself is an icon of sleek design.

Stuttgart Linden Museum

The Linden Museum near the University central campus is an ethnological museum with cultural artifacts from around the world. It is named after Karl Graf von Linden, a well-known explorer in the 19th century and now run jointly by the City of Stuttgart and State of Baden-Württemberg. The green sign in front of the museum mentions that the depictions around the entrance (and one can assume multiple exhibits within) don’t reflect the current sensibilities and perceptions of native people and mentions elsewhere on the building that from the Nazi times that Stuttgart was referred to as the city of “Foreign-Germans”. Like many collections, much was likely plundered and once presented as “primitive” rather than promoting respectful appreciation for cultural accomplishments.

Linden museum sign Stuttgart Germany
Linden museum Stuttgart Germany
Linden museum entrance Stuttgart Germany

Stuttgart Taekwondo schools & tournaments

I started training taekwondo some years before moving to Stuttgart. Once there, I realized that there were a number of schools and clubs in the area. Not only have a handful of grandmasters settled in the region but one of the highest ranking ones and longtime vice president of the World Taekwondo Federation, Soo-Nam Park is within 5 minutes’ walk of my apartment. He is very involved with organizing and testing out new rules etc. and I felt his school was not the ideal one for me so I trained elsewhere. But he runs two large tournaments that are held in Sindelfingen, 20 Km south of Stuttgart. After 12 years and earning my black belt, I dropped out of the scene.

Stuttgart Wagenhallen – container city

There is a special place in Stuttgart a bit south of the main train station to promote culture and the arts. It was originally a large hall for repairing train cars (wagons). Since a few decades it has been home to many artists studios. In 2020 a years’ long project to refurbish it was completed. It has been subdivided inside offering separate rooms of various sizes. Painters, sculptors but also performing artists like jugglers and puppet players are now using it as training and practice space. During the Covid-pandemic, I joined with a group of fellow jugglers to establish a training space here.

Next to the various Wagenhallen buildings is a container village; improvised buildings, many built out of transportation containers used on ships – or even old train or circus wagons. The container city retains more of the free-spirited anarchy mood that the Wagenhallen is known for but  will supposedly be cleared out in the coming years.

stuttgart wagenhallen sign
Wagenhallen Stuttgart
Wagenhallen back-view
stuttgart Wagenhallen train car

Karlshöhe Stuttgart-West

One of my favorite places in Stuttgart-West where I live is a park on a hill called Karlshöhe. It starts a high ridge covered with forest that runs south out of the city. There are many winding paths through the steep Karlshöhe with playgrounds, shelters and a majestic fountain that no longer works with a figure of the Greek god Athena. At the top is a beer-garden, cafe called Tchechen with panoramic views of Stuttgart-South. It is especially a nice place to sit and have a drink towards sunset.

Stuttgart ​Feuersee, Johanneskirche Stuttgart-West

This is a place just a few hundred meters from my apartment; the protestant church Johanneskirche. Next to it is the Feuersee or fire-sea which is a man-made pond originally created to store water to put out fires with. In the evenings in the warm months people garther at the stairs on one side of the pond to relax. There is a weekly flea-market and various events also held here. There are some carp and turtles that people stocked introduced to the pond. Some years ago there were frogs as well but some locals complained that the croaking in the evenings was too loud. Ironic since thre is a major street on one side with more traffic noise than the frogs could have ever produced.

stuttgart-west johannes church
kids Feuersee Stuttgart
statue Feuersee Stuttgart-West
Feuersee Stuttgart Wochenmarkt
Johanneskirche Feuersee Stuttgart
stuttgart-west feuersee church
Johannes church stepple stuttgart

Stuttgart lakes

There is a river that runs through Stuttgart called the Neckar. It is important for boat traffic but neither scenic nor clean enough to swim in so not used to relax at. On the northern outskirts of town is a lake called Max-Eyth-See. The water is murky and while maybe not polluted, too full of algae and muck to swim in. Despite this it is a popular place on weekends for people to have picnics and grill out, especially for foreigners. The setting is nice as there is a slope on one side covered with vineyards. There are a number of places to eat especially a self-service place with a lot of outdoor seating. There are some paddle boats to rent and even a few nice privately owned sail boats, which I find surprising because the lake is so small that with a good wind one could sail across it in under 2 minutes.

Bärensee Stuttgart

A bit southwest of Stuttgart is another lake called Bärensee. Unlike Max Eyth See, it is surrounded by woods and is an area for hiking rather than picnicking or laying out in the sun. It is reserved for nature with no swimming or boats of any kind allowed. There is a small castle like building with a restaurant where Germans like to have their traditional coffee and cake on a Sunday stroll in the outdoors. There is a small animal reserve nearby with deer and wild pigs but despite its name, there are no bears around. This is no surprise since they were all hunted to extinction in Germany over 180 years ago. There is talk of re-introducing bears to some other parts of Germany where they have successfully done so with wolves over the last decade or so. But the last time a bear showed up in Germany, in 2006 after having wandered over the Alps from Italy, he got promptly shot. The people enticed by conservative media panicked that he must be out of control to dare to show up in Germany.

Stuttgart Seilbahn cable-car

Stuttgart has an extensive public transportation system. A special feature of it is a few remaining historical cable cars that take people up some of the slopes. And they are exactly in areas where one otherwise has to take a much longer way around since the modern routes don’t handle the steep inclines. And one can ride the cable cars with a normal ticket rather than needing to pay extra.

So, those were just a few tales from my many travels over the last thirty and something years. I hope you've enjoyed another side of a traveling clown! If you want, write me an email or better yet, book my show or set a link to this website or just state me as the beneficiary of your will!

To book or see more information about Tom's clown show and entertainment, visit one or both of his clown websites:

Clown Stuttgart www.clowntombolton.com

Clown juggler Stuttgart, Gremany www.clown-event.de