We did a lot in 2017 and boy can I feel it now. It’s probably the first year I haven’t got frustrated about where we are going next or have time for the wanderlust bug to really hit as there was always something around the corner. Which I appreciate makes us very very lucky!! I’ve still got some content to come around our amazing safari in Tanzania as well!
It’s been hard to narrow down our favourites of this year but after much deliberation I’ve managed it!
2017 Top Experiences:
Seeing Northern Lights – This was one of the most spectacular things we did this year, the aurora is incredible. We prayed and hoped that we would get to witness them, especially after our failed attempt in Iceland. Standing out in the cold was well worth it!
One thing I really loved about Stuttgart was it’s accessibleness. You could get anywhere really easily, either by walking or the S & U bahns. It meant we could easily get out to Ludwigsburg within half an hour and back into town in no amount of time. I love German transport and Stuttgart really makes the most of it.
One of the draws of heading to Stuttgart, other than the beer festival, was a squash festival. As in, pumpkins. Yup, you read that right, a pumpkin festival. The annual event is held at the Palace of Ludwigsburg and this years theme was Romans.
Every year wooden structures are built and are then adorned with hundreds of pumpkins. All different shapes, sizes and colours. There were also large pumpkins and a showcase of lots of different squashes.
Other than a work out at Wasen our weekend in Stuttgart was filled with a museum, a squash festival and a walk around the town.
First up was the Mercedes Benz Museum. Stuttgart is home to two car giants, Mercedes and Porsche, both have museums in the city but we opted for Mercedes as it was closer to the beer festival site.
Carl Benz’s first car built in 1886 is what the museum is celebrating with more than 160 vehicles on display. They range from some of the oldest built cars to new futuristic ones. There was a good supply of buses, trucks, cars and F1 cars to keep everyone happy.
When the world thinks of beer festivals they think of the obvious choice Oktoberfest…but if you’re after a slightly less crazy but equally awesome option head a little further south to Stuttgart, Germany. Stuttgart is the home of Cannstatter Volksfest, or Wasen. A large beer fuelled festival that runs at the same time as Oktoberfest.
I’d say that Wasen has a slightly more family feel to the event, less stag do’s and more work parties. We saw everyone from teenagers to pensioners in the traditional clothing, stein in hand. The event is HUGE, with at least 7 beer tents seating approximately 5000 people per tent (based on some slightly tipsy calculations) and a fun fair to boot.
For our short weekend in Berlin I decided to split the posts between Christmas Markets and sights of the city. So here is post number 2 with the more cultural elements of our trip (i.e. ones that didn’t involve Gluhwein!)
I’m not one for early mornings at all and especially not early morning flights so my preference is to fly the night before, arrive late and have a lie in as when you do get up you’re already at your destination! Our first day in Berlin started with a hotel breakfast and a bracing walk. Berlin is pretty chilly in December so we wrapped up warm and walked over to one of the most famous sights in Germany – Checkpoint Charlie.
With everything that happened in Berlin recently I did for a second think about holding off on posting about our weekend there at the beginning of December. But, then in the next breath I thought it was such a great city and we enjoyed our time there so much it would be a shame. So here we go!!
We went primarily to visit the Christmas markets but as ever there were tons of other places we wanted to go as well so we did a bit of culture alongside the markets. As each of the activities were either market or Nazi/soviet related I have decided to split the posts in two, not by day but by theme. Up first is our tour of a very small portion of Berlin’s Christmas markets!
We visited three markets in total, the WeihnachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz market and Winter World on Potsdamer Platz. Each of them were different but our favourite was the market at Alexanderplatz.