Thursday, September 3, 2009

Germany - Our Last Night in Germany

Tonight was our last night in Germany, and the viastore folks took us out to the Stuttgart Wine Festival to show us a good time. We had been talking about this all week, and word had gotten around that we were planning this, so by the time we got to it, we had a large following. Mark, myself, John, Ben and Rick, and we were joined by Martin and Regina Rommler, Halina Janischewski, Dieter Ruffner, Matthias Müller and Birgit Stark from viastore GmbH, and finally, Ben’s friend Arnin who is from Germany.

The plan was for the US folks and Arnin to meet at the central train station in Stuttgart at 7 PM. Ben and I, being the good hosts that we are, decided to go and pick up Rick at the train station near his hotel so he did not have to find his own way. He moved to a hotel that day that was near the airport, about a 25 minute train ride. So, Ben and I are off, on our own on the Stuttgart trains system for the first time…..and you know how I am on my own in Germany.

Seemed simple enough though, make one train change at the main station, and I will take us right to Rick. So we boarded the train in Feuerbach, and took our seats….they were pretty nice, with tables on the side and everything. Here is a picture…

If you notice in the upper right of this picture, it says “To 1st Class Section”….this is a picture of the door Ben and I passed through after about 10 minutes on this train. Yup, that’s right, we got on the train, apparently through the first class entrance, which I am sure is well marked on the outside. It was funny, as soon as we sat down we both started commenting how comfy the seats were, and how it was cool there were tables…..and no one else was in our section….this was the best train in the whole fleet..

Then I think we started to add things up, the nice seats, tables, no one else in our area…..and the door to this area looked familiar….oh, we had seen it from the other side on our last train ride….so we scurried out of there.

After picking up Rick, and making it to the main station, we had a bit of a wait as we were early, and the Bietigheim boys were running a little late. But we did find Arnin, and were chatting with him for a bit. Then Rick took off to find the bathroom. When he returned, he told me he had to pay 30 cents to get into the bathroom. I said no way, this was surely a blogable item. So I ran over to take a picture.

Sure enough, there it is, a turnstile to get into the bathroom. 30 cents, you gotta be kidding me. Arnin said it was so that the homeless wouldn’t go in there to sleep, makes sense now, maybe they do this in the US in big cities, I have no idea, but it was still funny.

What you cannot see in my picture however, is that right after the flash hit the turnstile, an older gentlemen turned the corner and was headed out. I can only imagine what was running through his head as he saw me taking a picture of him emerging from the bathroom. I ran back to the group, and started to tell them about this guy, and when I turned around to point, he was about 5 feet from me, giving me one of the worst stink eyes I have ever gotten as he slowly passed by…….wasn’t sure if he was just letting me know he was displeased, or if he was keeping an eye on me because he was not sure what I would do….anywho, more good times.

So, the Wine Festival, we got off the train in Stuttgart and had to hoof it a bit, but it did allow us to walk through a cool part of the city…

This is the New Castle in Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz (town square) built in 1746.

Shopping center opposite the New Castle

Entering the Wine Festival

This area is a large lot most of the time surrounded by these buildings

This is out tent, where we had a table reserved, with a rather surly gentleman sitting out from….I think he’s the bouncer at this club.

And our table that our German colleagues have saved for us…..a bit croweded

I would call this the German Sampler Platter, I believe it has Lentil, Sauerkraut, Pork, some form of hot dog and Maultaschen (ravioli).

Mmmmmmmm Good

The Gang

The gang at the other table that we had to commandeer

All in all, another great night here in Germany, thanks again to our German colleagues for showing us a great time while we were in their neck of the woods. See you in the office

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