Ten things I’m looking forward to this winter

I get asked a lot whether it was hard to come back to Stuttgart and to the cold weather after traveling through Australia for five weeks. Actually, it wasn’t too difficult as there are several things I’m looking forward to this winter:

1. Christmas markets

Winter in Germany is always something special because of all the lovely Christmas markets. And there are several very nice ones taking place in and around Stuttgart. I went to the markets in Ludwigsburg, Esslingen and downtown Stuttgart last year, and I can definitely recommend going there. There is also a very special one taking place on Hohenzollern Castle, the Royal Christmas Market. I’ve visited this one a few years ago and I would love to go again. It does cost entrance fee though (10 Euros!!) but the atmosphere up there is really special.

2. Stuttgarter Buchwochen

Since the 14th of November, the “weeks of books” (Stuttgarter Buchwochen) are taking place at Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart. Next to the exhibition of new books and calendars, the weeks of books offer a lot of different readings and several other events. OK, you need to understand at least a bit of German in order to enjoy the readings, but if you do, you can even learn a bit Swabian (for example on the 3rd of December when Edi Graf is reading Swabian Christmas stories!) or get to know 333 interesting places in and around Stuttgart, no travel guide talks about (5th of December, 8:15 pm, 333 Entdeckungen in der Region Stuttgart). Plus, there are a number of events for kids where they can participate in without speaking too much German (like creating sparkling Christmas decoration on the 1st of December between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm or painting Petterson and Findus on the 8th of December from 11:00 am).

3. Spa baths

Did you know that Stuttgart has the second largest number of natural springs in Europe? Even the old Romans loved the healthy water of the thermal springs! A visit to one of the baths takes away the blues on a cold winter day. You can choose between a huge number of baths. To name just the ones you find in downtown Stuttgart:

My favorite one is Mineraltherme Böblingen. You can choose between five pools offering different water temperatures – not to forget the Jacuzzi! The atmosphere is always very relaxed and when you go there during the week, it’s not as crowded as the baths downtown – at least, that’s my experience.

4. Time for books

I love reading. But somehow, I don’t find much time to loose myself in a good book during summer. But when the days get shorter and the temperature drops, I enjoy cuddling up with a cup of tea on the couch and spending the day reading. There’s one novel, I’m looking forward to a lot: And the Mountains Echoed, written by Khaled Hosseini. His first two novels, “Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” are my most favorite books, “A thousand splendid Suns” in particular. His books always lead me into another word, so different from everything I know. I hope “And the Mountains Echoed” is as good!!

5. Going to the movies

What I said about books is also true for going to the movies. You just don’t feel like sitting in a dark, sticky room when the sun is shining outside. During winter, it’s another story. One of my favorite cinemas in Stuttgart is Atelier am Bollwerk, an Arthouse cinema located between Rotebühlplatz and Liederhalle. They show international movies that don’t make it into the blockbuster cinemas.

Another cinema you might be interested in is Corso in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. It’s an international cinema that shows movies in the original version. So for all of you preferring to watch movies in English, Corso is your cinema!

At the moment, I can’t wait to see The Hunger Games – Catching Fire. I loved the books, real page turners if you ask me. Smiley

6. Museums

Winter time is museum time. Stuttgart and it’s region offer a huge variety of museums, exhibitions and galleries, you could go somewhere else nearly every day. So here are the places I want to go to this winter:

This is supposed to be a really nice exhibition about the time of the czars. I heard about lovely dresses! (oh my god, I’m such a girlie! Smiley mit geöffnetem Mund)

The Red Army Faction (RAF) was a militant-group that brought terror to West-Germany from 1970 up to 1990. The exhibition deals with the question which circumstances let to the terror, what happened really and how did the RAF came to an end. That was another dark chapter of German history and a lot of it happened in the Southwest.

Since September, the permanent exhibition of the Staatsgalerie presents itself in a new arrangement. I am curious what they changed and definitely want to go there this winter.

7. Having fun in the snow

I can’t wait for the first snowflakes to arrive! It’s always the same at the beginning of each winter, I just love the first snow Smiley (as much as I hate the last, dirty traces of it in February… Zwinkerndes Smiley). The Christmas markets are lovely when they are covered in white and isn’t a white Christmas what everybody dreams of, anyway?? Moritz and I have planned to be more active this winter. So next to sledding (as I did last year already – it was a blast!! Smiley mit geöffnetem Mund) we want to try cross-country skiing. There a a lot of tracks around Stuttgart, one even in Stuttgart-Vaihingen (when there’s enough snow Zwinkerndes Smiley). So I will check out the weather and see if we find a snowy day at Schwäbischer Wald or Schwäbische Alb or somewhere else close by. I will keep you updated.

8. Theaters

There are a lot of shows and productions to choose from this winter. I hope I make it to one of Eric Gauthier’s famous ballet productions. His work is really something special. Modern, sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful pieces of art. Even if you haven’t been a big fan of ballet so far, you might love Eric Gauthier because his work is just so special.

Another awesome event is Open Stage at Rosenau. Everybody who feels like he or she could contribute something is invited to step on the stage. Each Open Stage is different to the ones before and you never know what you will see. Some performances are great, others brave Smiley. I loooove this event and as I haven’t been to one in a while, I definitely go again soon!

9. Wellness weekend

I love to escape to a short wellness weekend in winter. Last year, I went to Bad Wörishofen with Moritz and Baiersbronn with my mum. This winter, a weekend with my former bridesmaid Nina is on the bucket list – a short “Thank you”-trip for just the two of us. And Moritz and I are also planning a short get away, maybe in February or March.

10. Spending Christmas in India

This Christmas, I’m doing something totally different: I’ll spend two weeks in India, doing an ayurvedic  panchakarma treatment. I was thinking about such a treatment for a while but never thought I’ll get the chance to do it in the near future. But it turned out that a friend and colleague of mine wanted to to it once, too. And as Moritz has to work this Christmas and my office closes over the holidays, anyway, we decided to go for it! I’m SO excited!! We’ll stay at Kadaltheeram Ayurvedic Beach Resort in Verkala. I will share my experiences with you here on the blog afterwards.

Let the winter begin, I’m ready! Smiley

What are you looking forward to, this winter? Is there another special event taking place in or around Stuttgart you plan on going to? Please feel free to share your ideas by using the comment box.

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