For me, that magical list includes swing dances, bookstores, baseball stadiums, and farmers markets.
Discovering Stuttgart's farmers market was like a homecoming. The bustle, the patter of the vendors, the rainbow piles of produce painted a familiar atmosphere, a place I had been so many times before.
The market on Saturday, downtown, is really two — no, three: a produce market in the Marketplatz, flowers and jams in the Schillerplatz (above), and a flea market in the Karlsplatz. The produce and flower market run until around 1; the flea market later, perhaps 4. And there's always the indoor Markethalle close by, an array of gourmet and international stalls, open every day but Sunday.
The flowers are incredible. You just have to be careful about the walk-home load calculation.
The man watching over the stalls' canopies in the Schillerplatz is Friedrich Schiller.
A charming sight, one I haven't seen yet in a market — sticks for sale! Some of them were quite pricey, up to $20.
Are they Europe's Easter version of Christmas trees? I wonder ...
While farmers markets feel familiar, the prices at any particular one are so unfamiliar, a reminder that you are an outsider. What's a good price? What's a bad price? Really: 11 € for Spargel? (That's $14 for a bundle of asparagus.) I had heard Germans were crazy for their spargel, but the price seemed shocking.
I think it's because it was on the outskirts of the brief spargel season.
Now, in April, the prices are lowering, to around 5.50 € for 500 grams (a bundle, or about a pound). I wonder how low the prices will go. The only way to tell, of course, is to become a farmers market insider. As the Germans would say: Genau! (Exactly!)