Seven long and crazy years ago I was an exchange student in the small town of Cosenza, Italy with AFS Intercultural Programs. I was only 16 when I embarked on this journey where the only word I could understand was “ciao”. After about a month in, I started to have some troubles with my first host family. Still to this day I am not sure why but it was enough to make me want to pack and go back to California. Luckily, one of the program coordinators was able to take me in and house me for the remainder of my stay. I did and still do owe everything to her for allowing me to continue an incredible experience.
Now lets skip to the present. Ever since I knew I was coming to Spain I had begun to plan a trip to visit my Italian family. However they had moved from Cosenza, Italy to Stuttgart, Germany. So with a push of a button I had my tickets purchased and was on a plane to my first trip in Germany!
Stuttgart is a very wealthy city and exactly what I had expected when I thought of Germany. It reminded me the most of the USA from other countries I had been to before. The cars and streets were bigger but primarily because there are two major automobile headquarters in Stuttgart, Mercedes and Porsche. While driving around town I noticed that almost every other car was one of those brands with a few VW’s mixed in.
The first night we went to a town called Ludwigsburg to see a small Christmas Market. Just about every city in Europe seems to have their own kind of Christmas Market and Germany has some of the best! We walked around the market and saw everything! There were all sorts of gifts, many delicious beverages and foods and loads of people. I’m not much of a muelled wine person or Gluwein as they call it but we did have our fair share of hot chocolate. We also got to try some fried potatoes with a sort of sour-y yogurt sauce and a kind of german sauce that was 1/2 a meter long! It was VERY cold though this evening as we had come from Palma which was about 65 degrees and going to a 30 degree Germany.
The next day we took our time waking up and enjoying any time in the warm home that we could! Anna and Giuseppe made a fantastic breakfast for us with avocado toast, eggs and all sorts of fruits and cereal! We then got bundled up again to head out into the downtown Stuttgart and another Christmas Market. This one was quite a bit bigger than the last. We went to one booth and made our own candles which was pretty fun even if we were the only ones over 10! We also got to try some local egg pasta and potato patties (unsure of the name in German) which filled us up quite well! Germans do seem to love their cheese and potatoes. We walked around quite a bit and got to see the main square of Stuttgart.
After the markets Anna and Giuseppe took us to a nearby park with a tower that you could climb to see lots of Stuttgart. Boy was it beautiful with the light dusting of snow! After freezing our toes off we went back to their house and Anna prepared us a wonderful Italian style pizza… mamma mia!
On our last day in Stuttgart we woke up to…. SNOW! Which of course is always more fun to watch from inside than it is to be stuck in it outside… So we waited a little bit to head out and watched a few Christmas movies enjoying the view.
After the snowing had subsided a bit we went to another town called Kornwestheim where there was a medieval Christmas market. This was a pretty cool market in which everything was themed! All the store owners were dressed up and you felt transported to the 10th century! We found some great food as well including a bread that was served on a stick, more hot chocolate and this pastry that was filled with cheese and some pancetta! The names are beyond me because German isn’t the easiest language to read… but good nonetheless!
Germany is definitely a country I would like to visit again, I felt like one of the Germans since they were all so tall! It was great to finally see Anna after so many years, it still feels like just yesterday! Words cannot describe how happy I am to have finally visited.