Saturday, December 5, 2009

Esslingen am Neckar and Stuttgart

Yesterday: Ulm

We'll spend this Saturday in Stuttgart, since our flight leaves at 6:00am Sunday. I rented a car at a convenience store in Biberach, picked up Paris at the hotel in Warthausen, and we hit the road.

The first stop was Brauhaus zum Schwanen in Esslingen am Neckar. The Altstadt was closed to vehicular traffic on account of the Christmas market, but we found a parking garage and got directions from a friendly and helpful traffic attendant.

Brauhaus zum Schwanen, Esslingen am Neckar

The restaurant was full of people, but we did find a free table in the corner. We couldn't get any food, though, as there was a group of 60 in the party room, and the kitchen was running about an hour behind. Instead, we settled for the two beers they had on tap.

Schwanen Märzen

Schwanen Bockbier Dunkel

Just a few kilometers away on the other side of the airport is the SI-Centrum, home to hotels, theaters, shops, and restaurants, including Hausbrauerei Schloßturm.

Hausbrauerei Schloßturm, Stuttgart

Schloßturm is interesting for its indoor beergarden, and because it's nowhere near a castle. The food was good, though, and they also had two beers on tap.

Hausbrauerei Schloßturm Dunkles Landbier

Hausbrauerei Schloßturm Pils

I dropped Paris off at the hotel and dropped the car off at the airport. I walked over to the hotel shuttle area and waited about a half-hour with no shuttles in sight. So I called the hotel and they said the shuttle only runs Monday through Friday. I got in a cab and the driver had never heard of the hotel. I thought I remembered what street it was on, and he found the street, but it still took a couple times around the block to find the place. The fare was €14,50 and I only had €12,30 in cash and his credit card machine was broken. He decided to take my money and let me go.

I told the cab adventure to Paris, and she asked how we were going to pay for the cab in the morning if we didn't have any cash. There was no ATM in the hotel, but the front desk people directed me to a nearby gas station, where I restocked my wallet and bought myself a can of Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Hell.

Sunday's cab ride to the airport was uneventful, as were the flights home. And in the interest of fairness, I'll note that Delta actually got us from Amsterdam to Minneapolis an hour early, so we were able to catch an earlier flight to Omaha.

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