Upon landing in Stuttgart airport we were picked up by our sponsor. Sponsorship is a really nice program that work provides which partners soon to be co-workers with new arrivals to help answer any questions, and give a quick overview of where to go and what to do first.
Directly from the airport we were taken to check in, get our schedule for in-processing and cultural assimilation classes, and get new ID’s – yes that’s right, new ID pictures taken immediately after flying for over 14 hours, the photo’s are gorgeous.
The schedule of “mandatory” classes began immediately the next day and last all day every day for 10 days. That said, when we are asked, “How do you like Stuttgart?” we can honestly say we don’t really know yet, it seems great, but we have been in class!
Some of the classes are good info we need, some are protocol, and some are just overwhelming. It’s a lot to take in while still adjusting from jet lag. I only fell asleep a few times in class on one of the days. Thankfully we both don’t have to go to all of them together so I can start looking for a place to live.
Off to Wine Fest
One of the first things our sponsor told us was how great of a time it was for us to have arrived. There are fests for everything all year-long like most of Europe, but the start of Fall is the best for wine, beer and markets. A huge wine festival was starting in Stuttgart in 2 days, followed by Volksfest, the second largest Oktoberfest in Germany after Munich.
The festivals aren’t just one day or weekend, Stuttgarter Weindorf lasts about 2 weeks long. They go all out with full restaurant and bar set ups for tastings in the middle of the city. Over 500 different types of wine are available at 120 wine bars set up around the old palace. The tables within the tents are shared seating so if you see a spot, grab it, then flag the waitress. It was a great place to meet our first German friends!
The Wine: Germany is known for white wine. The white Riesling and red Trollinger are the top local wines. Personally preferring deeper red wines, we were surprised at how light, refreshing and smooth the white, rose and even red varieties are. Stuttgart regional wine is very different from a wine you find in the US or Italy in weight and flavor. The reds are very light in color and taste too. Wine is also served in a mug. I’m not sure if the wine type determines what style of glass you are served, stemmed or a glass mug. Will let you know when we find out.
Stuttgart is one of the largest wine growing communities in Germany. The towns are surrounded by vineyards growing up each hill.
The Food: Lentils (Linsen) with bacon, Spaetzle and Sausage/Hot Dogs (Wiener Würstchen). It doesn’t look very appetizing but it is actually delicious.