This Sunday, we took a walk with a good friend from grad school. As soon as he arrived, he stored his things in a locker and we went out in search of adventures. The city was built with a large park snaking its way into the center, so we started near the train station, and wandered through the park for several miles. It was big.
The parks around here are generally awesome. I believe you know about the rope swings. They’re awesome. And the jungle gyms, while typically too small for us to play on, would have been fantastic as kids. But the rest of the park is distinctly different than those in the US. Let’s play a game. What do you see in the photo below?
- An uneven walkway in which hornets build their homes
- A fun park feature for children
Wrong! (Okay mom, you got it right. But that’s just indicative of how I was raised. Ha ha ha!).
I’m not kidding about the hornets. Zoom in on that sidewalk photo above. There’s a hornet crawling into a hole. I was tempted to poke at it, but I can run faster than the hornet, and there were a lot of kids around. So someone was going to die.
This next photo was taken a foot from the path.
This was a pretty great feature of the park. Fish and rocks and probably some cute little mice and snakes, all in one place! I do not know why the kids weren’t out here trying to damn up the creek. Because if I was 10 years old again (or if Alissa wouldn’t have been around), I would have totally tried to dam up the creek. Causing mass flooding. People would have had to crawl on top of the hornet-nest-rock-hills to survive.
The birds were suspicious of every move I made. I didn’t want to eat them, I just wanted to pet one of the baby duck-bird creatures! They didn’t speak English, and I couldn’t speak enough German to convince them I had good intentions.
We walked until we found a food stand overlooking the Neckar river, which winds around Stuttgart and up through a bunch of towns further north. I didn’t take any pictures because I was too busy drinking Beck’s beer in the warm sand. They had a small “beach” area set up, complete with reclining cloth chairs and little wooden tables to hold your beer. Pretty great. I got a tan. Alissa called it a “sunburn”, but I’m pretty sure it’s a tan.
So to review, German parks are made up of the following:
- Awesome jungle gyms with zip lines
- Hornet-infested rock hills
- Streams with fish and overgrown grass with no signs to indicate damming them up and watching them overflow is disallowed.
- Beer gardens.
It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.