For our first long weekend in Germany, we wanted to get out and see something. (Hurrah!) We decided to see some of what will be our "hometown" and get to know Stuttgart a bit before beginning to branch out and see more of what Europe has to offer. Our first stop? A water park! I realize when one thinks of sightseeing in Germany one does not automatically go to "water park" but when one has two little ones who need to be gradually introduced to touring around Germany, we thought a water park would be a great way to start off. I don't have any pictures of the park--they're still on Jon's camera--but suffice to say it was an adventure. Everyone undresses in the same place (they have family stalls that can accommodate more than one person) then you can shower in a gender-specific room if you so choose. (Just know "herren" is not a bird--it's the plural form of "men." ) But the kids' area and the water park were great and the girls loved it. Wonderful way to start off our adventure.
On Saturday, we took the train into downtown Stuttgart. Jon had taken a trip as part of his inprocessing, so we followed our fearless leader and enjoyed our trip. Of course, we missed the first train we wanted to take because (darn it) all the signs are in German and we weren't exactly sure where to park. (And not all words on signs are in our little dictionary!) But Jon found where we could leave our van (dwarfing the cars next to us) and we headed down to the platform.
Here's Kate waiting for the train.
Here's the main government building in Stuttgart. It's really neat and looks to be gorgeous in the spring/summer. It looks cold and yes, it was cold!
Here we are with the castle in the background. This is now a museum which tells the history of Baden-Wurttemburg, the state in Germany in which we live, with Stuttgart as the capital.
We went to this museum because Jon had been there before and it has lots of neat stuff. We found this in the section of the Iron Age. As soon as Kate saw this statue, she said: "Daddy, look, there's a statue of a chilly man." (Is that my daughter or what?) In case it's hard for you to see, the "chilly man" has his arms wrapped around his middle.
We saw this and had to take a picture for you, Great Papa. This is a calculator, circa 1700. You can see the modern equivalent to the left, and one of your favorite tools (a slide rule!) to the right. This made us think of you--love you!
Kate was ecstatic to see the crown jewels of Baden-Wurttemburg. Here she is in front of the princess crowns. If you can't tell, they are completely made out of diamonds. The king's crown is just as amazing--and beautiful.
One of the floors was completely filled with glass and beautifully worked pieces of china, etc. It's hard to tell, but there are etchings of people on these glasses. Amazing!
In Germany, there is no requirement for handicap access (or for our needs, stroller access) to many public areas. So we left the stroller and carried the kids down several flights of windy stairs. This lead us to the basement of the castle where an amazing clock display awaited. Most of these clocks are circa 1600--just around the time Jamestown was founded. Astounding! (Yes, that is an ostrich in the background. It's being lead by a monkey.)
This totally blew my mind. It's a globe, circa 1495. If you know me and how I love maps and globes...well, what more can I say?
Here we are in the inner courtyard of the castle.
And yes, Jon was there too! He and Kate are posing in front of the main S-bahn terminal in Stuttgart. Kate is helping keep daddy's ears warm.
Here's Daddy and two happy girls on the way home. (We were bribing them with gummy bears at this point.) They really liked traveling on the train and really did a wonderful job walking and riding in the stroller as we "met" Stuttgart. What a beautiful place!
Sunday was a down day and we just hung around after church. On Monday we were going to check out the Ikea in Sindelfingen, but a more pressing matter arose--our need for a second car. So Jon went on the hunt and the girls and I stayed home. We actually will bring home our newest family member (our new-to-us car) this afternoon. Stay tuned!