Geeks Abroad! Post 5: Stuttgart Zoo (and the boys go to some car museum)

The following events take place on May 8th, 2015.

I wake, shower and as I’m trying to blowdry my hair, the dryer cuts out.  Wasn’t sure at the time if I’d killed it or if it was a circuit issue, but when I got home and tested it, it worked fine again.  I was trying to be very conscious about using the correct adapters and that my electronics were made for both 110v and 220v, so I’m not sure what the deal was.  So, wet hairstyle it is (ie, I pinned it back and did little buns with the rest).  I didn’t have time to do anything else because I needed to go meet Sandra!

Wait, who is Sandra?  I met her in San Diego at SDCC back in 2012 at a Castle fan dinner.

But of course, she was TAKING this picture so she’s not IN the picture….

It just so happens she lives in a town near Stuttgart so when we were planning this trip I knew we just had to get together!  Also, I had brought a surprise for her and was super anxious to see her reaction.

The boys walked me over to the train station where we were to meet, but they were planning to go off to some car museum while we hung out.  I feel like this would have been less than interesting for me so I’m even more glad Sandra was able to spend the day with me!

Here are some highlights from Jon and Jimmy’s excursion to the BMW museum.

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Sandra and I grabbed a little bit of food and then some water and then caught the train to the Wilhelma Zoological-Botanical Garden.  It wasn’t far.

We walked through a couple of greenhouses of various climates (let me tell you, they do a good job keeping that rainforesty, hot, humid climate in there for the appropriate plant life).

Then there was the penguins!!  Little bitty cute penguins!!

These guys were adorable! And so close! This one here is not zoomed in at all…
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I could’ve reached over and petted it!  And I was SOOO tempted to….  and then, knowing my luck, this particular blog would have likely been titled “I got bit by a penguin and then kicked out of the zoo”.

We walked through the butterfly house, in which I was surprised to find a bunch of bats chillin’, and rather more lively than I would have thought for the middle of the day.  One of them had a baby!

Walking around, we saw the insect house, giraffes, all sorts of monkeys, llamas, seals, peacocks, kangaroos, a sloth, even some chickens.  Here’s an an assortment of all the animals…

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We ate some lunch, and I managed to order a kids meal without realizing it.  Whatever…chicken nuggets and fries on a cartoon-decorated plate.  NBD.

We walked around for a couple more hours, and for a little while we stood and watched a very amusing bird running around it’s habitat, and then we sat and watched some monkeys for a while.  We probably sat by the monkeys for longer than was strictly necessary, but it was hot and I am out of shape so I needed to rest a bit.  We started to head back towards the front of the zoo, and passed the seals on the way.  One seal was finding a great deal of entertainment by splashing a bunch of water up and biting at it as it swam along, then diving under and going back to where it started and doing it over and over.

We also stopped to take some selfies and pics.

Also, I didn’t get a picture of this, but we’re pretty sure we saw a naked guy sunbathing in the park next to the zoo.

We did some gift-shopping and then headed back to the little train station.  As we waited for the train to arrive and during our journey, we noticed a growing number of people in festive traditional german-wear.  Evidently it was Frühlingsfest (Spring Fest).  Lots of this kind of thing…

Yep, dudes in lederhosen.

We met the boys back at the train station, and Jimmy asked if we wanted to go to this festival.  It was still hot, and I personally wouldn’t have have much fun in a beer tent, so I passed.  We decided to go out for some steak instead.  On the way to the restaurant, we detoured around a plaza in which an animation festival was also going on.  It was really a busy night in Stuttgart!

The food was good, but there was a miscommunication that happened when we asked for some water.  The normality of sparkling or ‘gassed’ water was mind-boggling to me.  It wasn’t that I asked for water and got sparkling because I didn’t specify, but I think when I asked for ‘flat’ water they heard ‘tap’ water, which is apparently not done and we got a talking-to about it.  It was all just odd and confusing.

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But also, here is the picture of what I brought for Sandra.  I’d given it to her in the morning when we met, but didn’t get a picture of it until dinner.

Rachel Skarsten was in Kansas City for Planet Comicon back in March.  Knowing that Sandra is a huge fan of hers, and that I was going to be traveling to Germany it was kindof a no brainer that I had to get an autograph for her.

After dinner, we walked Sandra back to the train station and said farewell.  We walked around a little bit and then I had another banana and nutella crepe.

We got back to Jimmy’s place and then we had to check on our travel arrangements for the next day.  The plan was to take the train up to Brussels, but that rail strike from before was still going on so I checked the status of our first train and it was cancelled.  So, it was more mentally scurrying around to try and find another way to Brussels.  Flying wasn’t an option this time.  Driving would have taken about 6 hours, and nearly 12 hours by bus.  After much frustration, we finally decided to drive to a town just over the French border and then catch a train from there to Brussels.  We’d get there a little later in the afternoon than we would have on our original train schedule, but it was the best we could figure on such short notice.

Stay tuned for the next post about our travels and Brussels.

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