Once upon a time, the hills of Stuttgart were populated by farms and farmfolk. Since they had no electricity (and thus no U-bahn), they were forced to carve steps into the side of the hills to get around. So all around the bowl that makes up Suttgart, there are small steps that wander up through the hills, known as Stäffele. A friend told us that little old ladies walk up and down what can sometimes be tiny, seemingly unsafe stäffele. In the winter. Covered in snow and ice.
Back a few weeks ago, we were in a town a the base of a sprawling grape orchard. At least, I’m assuming it was a grape orchard. It could have been cocaine. But whatever it was, the land was tiered off, and several columns of steps snaked between the tiers. It was gorgeous. We didn’t take photos, because it was rainy and we were in a car. But we remembered, and went out a few days ago, to find some stairs.
We finally found some called Haigststaffel, that begin in Degerloch.
Overlooking Stuttgart near top of Haigststaffel
Here we are at the top.
Young people trying to find the start of the stairs
We actually wandered around for a bit, because we missed the entrance to the stairs. The photo above is before we realized that we were not in the right place. Ahh, the ignorance of youth. We’re older and wiser now.
These stairs look much wider and safer than some of the ones we saw earlier, so I’m not entirely sure if one can use the cute “le” ending to describe these. There was no danger at all.
One of the coolest things about this area of the city is the absolute abundance of plant life. Some of these houses have forests and jungles in their back yards. I tried taking photos, but they don’t do it justice. And it doesn’t appear that Germans are big fans of well-mowed lawns. It’s rather nice, because it allows the wildflowers to bloom. I remember picking the dandelions out of my grandparents’ yard when I was a kid, whereas here, they’d have just let them grow.
Bottom of Haigststaffel (as with all photos on this blog, click to enlarge)
As it turned out, the Haigststaffel didn’t reach the bottom of the mountain. Luckily, we spotted another set of stairs nearby.
We walked down the stairs until we hit Marienplatz, a medium-sized square where kids ride bikes and the parents sit at the cafe and drink beer and eat ice cream. It’s also the final destination of the Zacke, which I posted about earlier. Since the train winds up the mountain, there are some areas where it looks like a roller coaster. I’d post a photo, but all my attempts came out looking stupid.
The walk down was great, but we took the train back.