4 years ago on my first trip to Germany, my entourage made a brief lunch stop at the Porsche museum in Stuttgart whilst en route towards the Nürburgring and ever since then, I’ve always wanted to return. On this trip, I finally made the journey to the capital of the Baden-Württemberg state.
Whilst figuring out the German rail network might initially seem a little daunting, it isn’t all that difficult if you have successfully navigated the vast rail networks of Japan. Considering all the German ticketing systems both online and on-site can be viewed in English, acquiring tickets for my travel from Munich to Stuttgart was done easily at home even before flying over.
One interesting point to note though is that the earlier you buy your train tickets, the cheaper it is. So if you’re keen to save a couple of euros, booking those tickets online is be a good idea. Booking your train tickets online also allows you to better plan your journey as you will also be able to view the departure and arrival times of the trains and well as the number of available seats remaining if you are planning to go for a more spacious first-class seat. An option I opted for considering I had my luggage with me and the fact that we’re living in the middle of a pandemic.
So on a cold Saturday morning, it was time to set off for a rather eventful weekend in Stuttgart. As always, having checked out of my hotel slightly earlier, I grabbed a lovely cup of coffee at my (now) favourite local coffee stand before setting off from Marienplatz station towards Munich Hauptbahnhof.
Being somewhat of a stickler for punctuality, I arrived at the Hauptbahnhof with quite a bit of time to spare. With slightly over 3 hours of travelling ahead, I grabbed a quick sandwich at one of the many delis located within the station. You can dine in onboard the train if you like with a dining carriage available or table service for first-class seats but considering I’m not that fond of aeroplane food, it probably isn’t any better whilst on a train.
Locating your train car and seat is extremely easy with clear information panels on every train car displaying all the relevant information. As you can see, mine was car 11 on the 1160 train with its final destination in Duisburg, just after Düsseldorf. My stop in Stuttgart isn’t even across the halfway mark for this train’s journey.
Once on-board, each seat will also display where each passenger will be boarding and disembarking from. For an even easier boarding process, you can also download your boarding pass into the Deutsche Bahn app and do an online check-in once on board to avoid any hassle with the conductors. Neat.
These are the seats in first-class, slightly more spacious and more importantly, are spaced in a 1-2 arrangement and all seats are reserved, allowing me to have some space to myself. In the normal train cars, seats are spaced in a 2-2 arrangement and are not reserved, so tough luck if the train is crowded. I didn’t want to take the chance. Once onboard, it didn’t take long for the train to start rolling.
With yet another morning covered in fog, there really wasn’t much to see outside of the window so, with free WIFI on board, I just played with my mobile, watched some videos and had a nice restful journey since my carriage wasn’t crowded.
It did get a little more scenic as the fog started to retreat towards Stuttgart.
A complimentary Deutsche Bahn chocolate and anti-bacterial wipe were handed out just before arrival.
As always, time always seems to go by quicker while on holiday and it didn’t take long for me to be standing outside the main train station in Stuttgart and the first thing that hits me (other than the fact that all police cars are now Mercedes-Benzes instead of BMWs) is the much milder weather. Considering my stay in this fine city was to be brief, it made good sense to choose a hotel (very) near the main station and main shopping street, making the Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin located right next to the station’s entrance the perfect base for my holiday operations.
Happily, even though I arrived quite a bit earlier, they had my room ready and I was able to check in. While it did cost slightly more than some of the other hotels I could easily find in Stuttgart, the Steigenberger’s proximity to not just transport but local amenities and the size of its room made spending that extra dollar totally worth it. Just like Hotel Deutsche Eiche in Munich, I’d be happy to come back if I ever make another visit to Stuttgart in the future.
After grabbing a quick 15 minutes of rest, it was time to head out to the Porsche museum. 4 years I have waited.
Unlike the non-stop trains in the centre of Munich, the commuter trains on Stuttgart seem to run on a slightly less hurried schedule as the wait in between each train does take quite a while. That said, getting to the Porsche museum from Stuttgart station is an easy 15 minutes of travelling on the local S-Bahn train towards Neuwirtshaus (Porscheplatz) station. The Porsche museum is literally steps away from the station’s platform.
Just like how there’s no trip to the BMW Welt without a stop at the museum, for the Porsche Museum, I reckon your visit just isn’t complete without dining at Christophorus. An amazing restaurant serving one of the most enjoyable steaks I’ve ever had amongst all the countries I’ve ever visited. The service was also excellent with a complimentary appetizer and dessert served during my visit. Whilst prices are on the higher side for Germany, it is in my opinion, very reasonable and very fair for the overall quality.
Serving portions are on the more generous side so I had to order the lady’s cut for my Ribeye which was already a decent 250g of cured prime US cow. If you’re hungrier than me, the original cut is a more substantial 450g of that same cured prime US cow.
Since all I wanted was my lovely medium-rare Ribeye, I added on a side of roasted veggies without realising my steak came with its own side of onion rings. Just thinking about this meal makes my mouth water. It was so very good. I miss it already.
Now, some of you might be saying, well, it’s not a Japanese A4 or A5 Wagyu and while you might be right, I find such comparisons to be a grave injustice because even though top quality Japanese Wagyu is amazing (having dined in a couple of fantastic steak restaurants in Japan), there is certainly no way you can enjoy an A5 JDM steak the same manner as you would this perfectly seared slab of tender meaty American Ribeye. The difference between them is so stark that in my opinion, they should be treated as separate cuisines altogether.
Do remember though, if you are ever planning to visit, make your reservations early because getting a table without one will be difficult.
With my belly happily filled up, it was time to head down to the museum. Stay tuned!