When: August 2017
Why Germany: After a trip around southern Germany and into Austria (recaps here and here), we kept it easy on the kids the next two days – with a quick trip to one of my mom’s favorite towns and then just hanging out around Stuttgart. Even with adults, spending too many days on the road can be exhausting, so we wanted to give the kids a little bit of a break.
The Trip: My mom’s one request on this trip is that we make our way to one of her favorite towns in Germany, Rothenburg ob Der Tauber. That was the first place we visited on her first trip to Germany in 2013, then again in 2014 when we visited its adorable Christmas market and then to end her trip in 2015. It works out as an easy day trip, because it’s only 1.5 hours away from Stuttgart and normally the traffic is minimal.
Rothenburg is a Fairy Tale city, one of those where you don’t need an itinerary or a list of places to see because the town itself is the sight to see. It dates back to the 1000s, and unlike most places in Germany, was spared from destruction during WWII. The story is one of the American commanders recognized the town as being the same that his grandmother had a photo of in her house, and convinced his supervisors to move on. Thankfully so, because it would have been a painstaking effort to recreate the cobblestone streets and half-timbered buildings with flowers growing outside of them.
A day is enough in town, but it is a full day to get around and see everything – including stopping for ice cream – so that was the only thing on the agenda for that day.
The next day was another local day – we audibled in a stop at the Birkenkopf, which is a man-made mountain overlooking Stuttgart. But this particular place has a bit of a somber history – it is man-made from the ruined buildings bombed in WWII. More than 55% of Stuttgart was destroyed in WWII, and to clean up, they pushed all the buildings into one place creating the now-nicknamed “Rubble Hill.”
After that, we were going to another must-see in one of the Stuttgart suburb towns, the Ritter Sport store. It is located in Waldenbuch, and sits outside one of two headquarters in Germany. The chocolate is incredibly cheap (and will make you never want to buy on for $4 in the states when the same bar is less than $1.50 at this store).
We were ending the day at a fireworks festival, that not only had fireworks set to music but stations for kids activities and other decor. It was a full, but not crazy day.
Final Impressions: Stuttgart doesn’t get the credit it deserves as being an interesting town in its own right. In a pre-COVID world, there were major festivals all the time happening and they were wonderful. Stuttgart didn’t recreate it’s pre-WWII glory when rebuilding, which means it isn’t as pretty as other towns, but it is great in its own right, and it was fun to get to show it off a little for a couple days.