Stuttgart often acclaimed as the place where business meets the future and is “Das neue Herz Europas” (“The new heart of Europe”). While in Stuttgart, I had some time time to explore the busy town centre area, walking, observing, shopping and relishing the ambience. Schlossplatz is the largest square in Stuttgart bisected by Konigstrasse (King’s Street) from North to South. In the warm and hot summer months thats the place to hang around to make the most of the sun. After a short walk through the grounds, watching happy faces rolling on the grass and little feet zipping through on scooters, I was looking for shade (born and bred in a tropical country, I have been spoilt by the sun) and what better than to cool off with a giant sundae generously dosed with Kiwis and ice cream.
Automotive industry is an integral part of the evolution of German history and economy and no visit to the country can be complete without a peep into atleast one of the many auto museums around the country. While in Stuttgart, I had a choice between Mercedes Benz Museum or Porsche Museum and needless to say I opted for the former since I always fancied owning and driving a Mercedes.
The building appears very modern and sleek from outside with a ramp to facilitate wheelchair bound visitors. Once inside, it is a peek into another world demonstrating how technology is pushing boundaries every moment. Karl Benz the founder had adopted the name Mercedes from one of his early dealers who had ordered a modified car for his daughter by the name Mercedes.
The entire set up is dazzling as we moved from room to room and across floors through the circular ramp observing the evolution of the automobile industry from two wheeler’s to four wheeler’s. The riveting display of vehicles is partly thematic and partly chronological. At the end of the visit, if time permits, do sit through the show that simulates a crash and it is definitely not for the feeble hearted !!
The best part of the museum is the Audio Guide which is blue tooth enabled ( which means no punching in numbers like the art museums) and gives a choice between history, technology and student summary.
For more details: http://www.mercedes-benz-classic.com/
Berlin Walk is a spectacular journey through the old and the new and I enjoyed every moment of it. Infact, it is one of my favorite cities in Europe and given a chance I would happily stroll around Berlin for days on end. I am glad I decided to join the walk around town to explore this charming city on foot. We passed by one memorial to another, stopping, looking and feeling the essence of a compelling memory of a time better forgotten in modern times of bloody separation to ultimate reunification. The intended brief stop in front of “Neue Wache” or New Guard House located on “Unter den Linden” the main east-west axis of the city stretched much longer since we were moved by the sculpture located inside right under the skylight.
The side note read “Mother and her dead son” by famous Berlin artist Kathe Kollwitz. The dark stone sculpture was beyond stone, it captured the emotions of the mother who had frozen in grief after losing her young son to the perils of war. My eyes were moist and the saline taste on my lips forced me to close my eyes as I connected to the grief. Kathe Kollwitz had lived her grief of losing her son Peter through this sculpture. The afternoon sun gazed through the skylight. Will it warm the mother’s heart that lay inside hugging her dead son one last time I asked? Maybe no and may be yes since time is known to heal. I wonder to myself, when Moon light streams in on a full moon day, will she break into a smile or under the cool breeze of the starry night will she recount days of joy or teach her son to count his blessings under the haze of a snowy morning. One thing it surely does, is remind every visitor of the tough life that this city witnessed during the times of war !!
We are born from our mother, she holds us in her womb for 9 long months. All through life her presence is a said and unsaid protection that we all look forward to. In Vedas, it is mentioned that the soul’s journey starts inside the womb and the umbilical cord connects us to her until we see the light of the world. While the physical cord is cut at birth, the invisible one remains and sometimes beyond death since a child resides inside the mother’s heart!!