Posts Tagged ‘Stuttgart 21’

Stuttgart 21

Because we were taking a Stuttgart-to-Barcelona morning flight, Russ, Kate, and I arrived one day early in Baden-Württemburg’s state capital (Baden-Württemburg is also the state in which we live).   One of the first places we went was to the train station to meet Joe who was coming in from Cologne.

 

Stuttgart Train Station

 

Going to meet Joe at the train station, we ran into quite a scene.  Outside the train station were thousands of banners, flyers, and protest demonstrations regarding the plans to improve the train station.  This demonstration is the namesake of this post: Stuttgart 21.

 

Stuttgart 21

 

Stuttgart 21 (21st century) is really a plan to make travel into/from/around Stuttgart easier for commuters and tourists.  Approved in 2007, the plan involves almost completely removing Stuttgart’s current (old) train station in order to create a more modern station which functions mainly underground.  For advocates of  Stuttgart 21, the new station is needed because the current station is not a “through-station.”  Trains must enter and exit in the same direction, reducing efficiency.  The new plan involves a cross system that would allow trains to enter the station and depart in a continuous direction.

Sounds good, right?  Well, many people are in an uproar over the plans.  Financially, the citizens of Stuttgart and Baden-Württemburg must cover most of the cost of the seriously expensive renovation.  Residents of Stuttgart, however, don’t really feel that it will benefit their city as much as the transportation system in general.  It will allow trains more easily to pass through Stuttgart, not necessarily attract more patrons to the area.

Secondly, the new station is a huge environmental concern.  Lots of Stuttgart’s “green space” will be destroyed and literally uprooted for construction.  The week we visited, one park in jeopardy was filled with people.  Posters, poems, and memorabilia hung on and around trees.  Some people even staged “sit-ins” with tree houses.

 

Tree house in the park (and a Polizei officer)

 

 

Bear Hug?

 

 

Joe Posing By a Protest Tree

 

A week after we visited, several trees in this beautiful park that we had walked through were taken down.  In that very spot, protesters blocking the site were maced and blasted with water cannons.  Over 100 people were injured.

After this event, a mediator was brought in to try to negotiate between sides.  Demolition has been halted until the next election season is over (March 2011).

ANYWAY!  Despite the clearly politically charged atmosphere, we had a nice visit to Stuttgart with a few unwanted raindrops.  We had fun looking at the older buildings and palace and enjoyed walking through the Schlossgarten (Castle Garden).

 

Lauren and Kate in Stuttgart

 

 

Where's Waldo? (aka Joe!)

 

 

Russ and Joe in front of The Palace

 

 

Schloßgarten

 

 

I love this tree!

 

We had a nice lunch at Platzhirsch (Literally translated, Deer Place) where we all sampled some typical German fare.

 

Platzhirsch

 

Joe had the traditional Käsespätzle (mentioned before in previous posts), and I tried Maultasche (giant ravioli stuffed with spinach, potatoes, and smoked ham) for the first time.

 

Joe and Lauren's meals

 

Russ dined on Schnitzel with Spätzle and Kate was served an enormous plate of lentils, Spätzle, and weiners.  The plate of lentils was big enough to serve an army, but the waitress was very concerned when Kate didn’t eat them all.  “Das schmeckt nicht?”  It doesn’t taste good?  “Ja, aber sie ist satt!  Alles schmeckt sehr gut!”  Yes, but she is full.  Everything tasted very good!

 

Kate and Russ's meals

 

We retreated to the hotel when it started to rain (and because we had to drive from the city a small distance to get near the airport and our hotel).  We ventured out at night to eat at the one restaurant near the place.  Strangely, though, we got to watch a fire company practice working the jaws of life on a car from our hotel windows.  It was pretty neat!  Walking in the cold and the rain to and from dinner, I’m pretty sure we all had one thing on our minds–Spain!

For more Stuttgart pics from Joe and Russ:

http://rlabarca.smugmug.com/Travel/Stuttgart-24-Sept-2010/

http://rlabarca.smugmug.com/Other/JoeKate-visit-2010/

Special thanks to Joe LaBarca for unknowingly allowing me access to his pictures for the blog. 🙂