Germany

From CET to CDT

Memory is really strange. On the one hand, I’m amazed at how fast the last three years of my life has gone by. I remember walking into my hotel room on the day I landed in Stuttgart, a full month before Rebecca would come, and putting down my bags and really wondering what I had gotten myself into. I had decided to take a job in a city I had visited only during my interviews, in a country I had only spent a few days in as a tourist, and here I am sitting down in my hotel room, in need of a shower, exhausted from jet-lag, only then grasping that I had committed myself and Rebecca to living in Stuttgart for at least three years.
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Stuttgart's Besenwirtschaften

Stuttgart has these wonderful little hidden little charms that make it a really great place to live. One of our favorites are the Besenwirtschaften, which are traditional Swabian wine houses. They’re operated by the families that own the numerous vineyards around the Stuttgart area, and by law they are allowed to open 4 months out of the year. They are scattered throughout the city and its surrounding towns, and if you find one you can enjoy very simple (and cheap) Swabian food and fresh wine from that year.
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Surfing in Munich.. in the winter!

A few years ago a good friend and I were walking through Munich’s famed Englischer Garten when we came across some guys surfing in a fast-flowing canal. It was really amusing to see these guys surf back and forth for a minute or two before falling or conceding to the next surfer. While it was highly unusual to see people surfing downtown in a city, it was at least summer-time and quite hot.
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Deutschland wins!

It took 91 minutes, but Germany managed to pull it off in the end, and Stuttgart explodes in celebration. Within moments, thousands of cars all over the city were all honking simultaneously, congratulating each other on a well played victory. It was a Wednesday night, but for Germans it was the night before a Thursday holiday, so everyone must have been up celebrating all night. We heard yelps and woots and honks for hours, especially since we’ve had to keep all of our windows open to keep the apartment cool.
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Esslingen Wine Hike

Rebecca and I had a great time today in Esslingen at the annual Esslingen Weinwandertag, an annual wine hike through the vineyards surrounding the town of Esslingen. We started off in Esslingen and wandered up a path leading to the vineyards and a few hours (and many wine glasses) later we arrived in Mettingen. At the start in Esslingen, we purchased a wineglass with a leather strap that brilliantly holds the glass upright around your neck, and every few hundred meters along the path we filled up with some delicious local wine and German snacks.
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Stuttgart's Staatgalerie and the Wilhema

Rebecca and I joined another couple and went to the Stuttgarter Lange Nacht der Museen event earlier tonight, and I'm happy to report that we had quite a lot of fun. The basic idea is that for €12, you have a free pass to all of Stuttgart's museums, including other sites like the famed TV Tower and the Wilhema zoo & botanical gardens, complete with special shuttles running between all the sites.
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A New Year

2006 is here, and for the second year in a row I’ve spent the beginning of the new year in Europe.  Last year it was Paris, and this year it was Stuttgart, and our Stuttgart experience was about 100 times more pleasant than it was in Paris. Rebecca and I just had a quiet night and watched fireworks from our living room, from which we can see nearly the entire downtown of Stuttgart.
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Christmas in Stuttgart

It's amazing to think that I've now been in Stuttgart for 4 and a half months. Only 6 more weeks and I can claim the 6 months mark. Four and a half months doesn't sound too long, but when I put it in terms years - half a year - it suddenly becomes a much bigger amount of time. Four and a half months brings me to the middle of December, which means that there's only another week until Christmas.
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My New Favorite Chinese Restaurant

I was searching for food earlier this evening along Stuttgart’s Koenigstrasse, and as I was just congratulating myself for walking by McDonald’s without giving into the temptation of a quick, familiar meal, I saw a sign for the China Garden. The sign was right on Koenigstrasse, and it said to go up to the 2nd level to find the restaurant. I haven’t had good ol’ MSG-laden, sauce heavy, Chinese food in a while, so I walked right in without even glancing to see what was on their posted menu.
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Two weeks later

Tomorrow marks my first full week of living in Stuttgart. It has seemed much longer than a week, and I’m surprised as I write this that it has only been that short of a time period. It’s been quite a busy week with all of my admin stuff as well as trying to catch up to speed with everything going on at work. I’ve been living in the Millenium Hotel for the last 6 nights, so I’ve got quite a ways to go.
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