Stuttgart – Esslingen- Mercedes Museum- Ludwigsberg – Lauffen- Bad Wimpfen – 01.03.2016
Something confusing, to riddle your mind:
We stayed at the NH (Hotel) near Stuttgart airport, which is closer to Esslingen (another town) than to the Mercedes museum in “Stuttgart”.
Does that make any sense? I thought as much. So, despite being in Stuttgart, we first went to Esslingen and then to the museum.
IMO, Esslingen Am Neckar is a much overlooked town. As the name suggests it is by the Neckar and creates a feeling of warmth and vibrancy all at the same time. Maybe it was the architecture or the whiff of wine mixed with coffee mixed with strudel somewhere in the distance. I really cannot say why I liked this place so much. But I did.
The buildings are a rare combination of pastels, sometimes with a hint of gold or brick red or bottle green, and many a times the woody exo-skeleton takes center-stage. We explored as much as possible in an hour, taking in the melody of the ringing bells. It wasn’t the usual sound, infact it was a cheery version of the church bells. We hopped into the souvenir shop, to take away a little bit of Esslingen with us. We got home quite a lot.
Word of caution, our cards didn’t work here, neither the AMEX nor the Visa. Had to transact the old fashioned way. Which, come to think of it, fit the old town perfectly. Carry cash, folks.
Next up was the much hyped (by D) Mercedes Museum – even though he claims to not being a big Mercedes fan! I must admit this place has a lot of surprises. For once, it’s not just about cars. It’s about the history of the world and how cars evolved through varying eco-socio-politico backdrops. Car crazy or not, if you like history you should visit. Absolutely loved their exhibits of cars “in service”, ”famous cars”,”F1 safety cars” and the racing track in the end. My boy D was simply lost in car-love. We spent two hours ogling away and hit the road on pure testosterone to town number 3 – Ludwigsberg.
The Swabian version of the Versailles (Chateau) is what got us to visit this town. However, on actually getting there, we skipped the residential palace and stuck to mingling with the streets. We stopped at Residence café for refueling. Our table saw a delicious display of two hot chocolades, one had coffee in it, but we couldn’t tell (or maybe we ordered funny), a Mohnkuchen mit Streusel (German Poppy Seed Cake), I kept calling it the munchkin cake, it took some getting used to, but there was something captivating about every bite. Almost like swirling wine in your mouth, trying to identify every flavor. We had the cheesy pretzel sandwich again (Hrr, I really don’t understand why we kept picking that up!)
We had two tiny stopovers, one at the walled city of Beseigheim and the other at Lauffen am Neckar. Sweet little towns, with pleasing, but broadly similar landscapes.
At Lauffen we walked along the river, crossing something that looked like a castle. It was a long, peaceful stretch. Until we bumped into a really big and responsible looking Daddy duck, with his three ducklings. He was trying to organize something but didn’t like the attention we were giving his family. So he sort of raced in our direction, saw us a scamper, paused and turned and walked back towards his kids, with a triumphant “ this is how we quack some bones” . We politely excused ourselves and hit the road in a jiffy.
Last stop for the day was Bad Wimpfen. Oh mother of God, what a town! The big house turned hotel was the highlight of our trip. It was getting dark as we headed to our hotel – Hotel Neckarblick. Room 302 if you want THE room with a view. Except for breakfast, the place doesn’t have a kitchen. So, we were suggested by the very graceful and kind Erica at the reception, to hurry to town and get dinner. We did just that. We ‘supposedly’ took a shortcut into the main street, walking at the edge of the castle with the Neckar on one side and the yellowed wall on the other. It was pitch dark. And we were hungry. Our growling tummies were scaring us in every way possible.
We finally found a place that was open until late – Zum kräuterweible. So happy with the food and beers (see pictures) – we had a Schnitzel, one portion of Hausmacher (outstanding), fries, Strudel Sahne, Schwarzwald -Becher.
I have to mention the breakfast we had at Hotel Neckarblick. It was included in our package. It was simple, not a very large spread, but everything seemed like it was consciously selected. Every jam, every fruit – fresh or dried, bread, was handpicked. But the nest of all was the coffee Erica brewed for us. It was the best I’ve had outside of France.
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