& it’s creepy flamingos
If you remember it all started with the super secret big black nerd case, then we had nightmares about stuffed baby piggies, & now I’m all about the skinny-legged, kink-necked, Phoenicopterus. Just wait & if you can’t, scroll to the bottom for a chill inducing gif from me. I made it myself.
The next stop on the bus tour however, wasn’t Killesberg it was the “wine experience” & I had no interest in that. Once the bus climbed up the hill & I saw the view of the city, the vineyard was irresistible. Look for yourself.
Are you resisting? The picture on the right of the beautiful rose-windowed cathedral is a set of a million cement steps leading down to the next level of the vineyard. It’s Springtime & it seemed like the whole city was in bloom.
The hillside vineyard where I took these pictures is in a district or neighborhood of Stuttgart called Burgholzhof. Nearby are some U.S. military barracks, which I thought was interesting, we’d passed them on the way up. The top picture shows the Neckar River top right, The large white oval top left is the Porsche arena & between the two you can see the ferris wheel on the fairgrounds of the Spring Festival. The bottom picture above has a cool round building & a tall white tower, don’t ask me what any of that is. A couple of cathedrals going head to head in the top picture below & be sure to note the Mercedes-Benz logo lower left, those things are everywhere. Confusing enough? (BTW Where’s Waldo?)
This is the intriguing Burgholzhof Observation Tower built in 1891. The most interesting thing about the tower is that it was used in WWII as an enemy aircraft lookout. You can actually climb the tower for free, but just on the weekends. I only figured this out since I’ve been home, so I wasn’t disappointed at all. I didn’t even try to climb the tower I was already totally overwhelmed. I was having a Sound of Music moment. It was really sinking in that I was on a grassy green hilltop vineyard, next to an old stone tower on a warm, blue-sky day in freaking Germany!
I used up the entire hour just staring out at everything & trying not to break into song. I eventually found a bench & sat in the shade soaking in the view with a couple playing backgammon nearby. I started coming down off my high once I realized how thirsty & hungry I was, (+ jet lag) sadly the one restaurant there was not yet open for lunch. Below are more views of this beautiful city. I don’t have any idea about that huge hole in the ground in the middle of that vineyard, but the houses in the bottom picture have odd round windows or cutouts that reminded me exactly of that big hole in the hill.
A few minutes later I was at the stop waiting for the next tour bus & it was SO entertaining to sit there listening to a couple of old ladies speaking in German & then some teenagers after that. There wasn’t one minute that went unenjoyed! Never! Not one! It was probably for the best that I couldn’t understand what they were saying, if I had I’m sure it would have been much less entertaining. I had been hoping to relax on the bus, but the very next stop was Höhenpark Killesberg, or Killesburg Hill Park, so that meant almost immediately after climbing up the bus stairs to the second level, I was climbing back down again.
It was like stepping into a German wonderland. Turning the corner into the park there are all these paths, landscaped gardens & occasional statues. I walked up the hilly winding paths toward the tower (or where I thought the tower was) & suddenly I was overwhelmed by an intoxicating smell. Standing on this terrace (biergarten) looking down below is a huge flower garden curving away into the distance. I couldn’t stop staring at these crazy hanging yellow flowers I’ve never seen before. They were a million feet tall towering over purple hyacinths & then in the distance a kid-sized steam train puffs on by. Wunderland!
Did you see the heart in the grass? (Bottom left corner) I didn’t even notice it until I started editing my pictures. Once I got used to the amazing flower smell I picked up on another tantalizing scent. I turn around & the stand behind me is selling waffles. Waffles! (& water)
It was that waffle that got me up that tower. The Killisbergturm or The Killisberg Tower. Apparently you could order a waffle with any number of toppings, but I didn’t figure that out until I saw someone else’s waffle with applesauce on it. I had the regular (powdered sugar) chocolate was another option. I finally sit down breathing in the warm waffle smell (don’t breathe in powdered sugar) & flowers. Nearby some sort of 20’s swing music starts playing from the antique red carousel & that’s when I’m sure I’ve been dreaming this whole time. Here is the real live experience for you. Why don’t we have cool swing music for our carousels? We just have creepy circus-type music.
The magic (& food & water) revives me. I have less than an hour before the next tour bus comes, so I push on to the top of the tower. I run like a gazelle (actually I walked very slowly on my tired feet) past the older people sitting on a bench watching this crazy red-headed American climb the tower. Two intertwining staircases give you beautiful views of the park & the city all the way up the 4 levels & 348 steps.
It is kind of dizzying (especially for a motion-sick prone person such as myself) & the tower does move with the wind (which was blowing) & other people (who were climbing or descending). I loved the style of the tower & could have taken so many more pictures of it, but I was distracted by what I thought were flamingos in a distant pond. I knew the park had a petting zoo, so I headed in the possible-flamingos-possible-petting-zoo direction.
I found a whole slew of creepy flamingos & took way too many pictures of their skinny legs & kinked necks. (Animated gif still at the VERY bottom.) I also found some miniature ponies as part of the petting zoo behind an electrified fence. I knew you wouldn’t believe me, so here is a picture (below left) of a four-foot high electric fence. Please note: the electric fence is the perfect height for children to grab. As I continued walking around the gardens I spotted this label on a tree “Wintergrün Eiche.” Eiche means Oak in German. A Wintergreen Oak. Below that is the picture of me looking exactly as tired as I was in front of even more flowers.
It was about this time I saw the big red double decker tour bus driving past without me way off in the distance. I gave up & figured this gigantic park needed more than one hour to fully enjoy. I’m glad I did. I spent most of the bonus hour sitting on a bench near a huge water fountain (in the shade). I sat there watching all the German moms with their German kids playing on ridiculously dangerous zip lines (bottom picture above). That zip line was 3 times as long as what you can see in the picture & there in nothing securing that little girl in the yellow shirt to that seat. I’m sure no one would ever let that fly here in the States.
I made it to the tour bus stop in plenty of time after walking what felt like more than a kilometer (> 0.621371 miles) along the street back to the tour bus stop. I’m all about a nap back in the hotel room & an hour later Aaron texts me about dinner with his boss Matt. I wait in the lobby for Aaron to leave the Nerd Networking Event (NNE) & I see all these guys (above picture). They’ve moved nearly all the comfortable lobby chairs over next to the TV so they can watch the soccer match. Don’t ask me who was playing I have no idea.
We went for a walk with Matt to a nearby restaurant “Berliner Platz Kebap Haus.” We were going for completely authentic German-Middle-Eastern-Falafel type food. It’s totally a thing. Right? I got a wrap & the guys got pizza. The conversation was hilarious because Matt was telling us about the (mostly) harmless pranks he’s played on people in the office, & then he would tell us he really wasn’t a terrible person. For the record I never thought he was. I was so entertained I literally forgot to take pictures.
After dinner it was more German chocolate (Ja!) from the little shop next to the hotel. That night it was a dart throwing competition in German that lulled me to sleep. Apparently there are televised competitions for that.
Ok I know you’ve all been waiting for the creepy flamingo, so here it is! (I did warn you it was creepy.)