I awoke to a decent breakfast at Novum Hotel Rieker and checked out by 10am. I was planning to take a 40 minute local train to Metzingen, the outlet shopping city. Fortunately the hotel agreed to keeping my bag in the luggage store while I was shopping. I was at the train station at 10:15am, booked my ticket on the self-service ticketing machine at 10:18am and made it onto the 10:22am train (after a little sprint).
I previously visited Metzingen in 2006 and 2007 and had to return to this town for the awesome bargains I previously picked up.
The town looks older than I remember it and unfortunately I got lost making my way to the shopping area. Instead of taking 10 minutes from the train station I spent about 45 minutes on foot, only reaching the shops at 12pm.
I started at the Hugo Boss outlet where I tried on quite a few items of clothing. However, the price wasn’t that cheap (EUR to ZAR) and the clothes did not seem worth it. Zero wow factor.
I visited quite a number of the other brands but the quality of the clothing and prices were highly disappointing.
What happened to this town? The entire town has free WiFi available if your phone has roaming active or if you’ve got a local sim. I had neither so I couldn’t connect.
Around 3pm I stopped at a local coffee shop for mint tea and a slice of cake.
The only store that I purchased a number of items at a discount was Milka. People were purchasing trolleys of ridiculously cheap chocolates. I purchased 3 small slabs.
By 5:15pm I was back at Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof. I returned to Hotel Novum Rieker to collect my bags and returned to the train station for the 18:04 train to Heidelberg. The train arrived promptly in Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof at 18:44. It had been 7 years since I last visited the station and everything looked exactly the same! I’ve previously spent a total of 4,5 months working in this area (at SAP) in 2006 and 2007.
I quickly checked into the Heidelberg ibis hotel which is directly next to Heidelberg Hauptbahhof and had a quick shower. My friends were going to pick me up between 19:15 and 19:30.
It’s been many years since I had seen one of my ex-work colleagues. I got to meet her husband for the first time that day and we headed by car to Heidelberg town. After a little searching we managed to find a parking bay – something that is rare and precious in Heidelberg.
Bismarkplatz (the main transport hub in town) and Hauptstrasse (the main shopping street) looked very familiar. However there were quite a few new restaurants including Sahara which serves halal Lebanese grilled food.
We took a stroll through Hauptstrasse and its side streets to see what else was on offer. It was a good walk down memory lane for me as I used to live in an apartment just behind Hauptstrasse in 2006. I sampled some Negerkuss which is like a “Chocolate Kiss” or “Cutie Pie” in South Africa, without the marshmallow.
We then settled for dinner at an Italian restaurant which makes great thin crisped Italian pizza. Fortunately the vegetarian pizzas in Germany are not like the vegetarian pizza that I ate in St Moritz. There was thankfully no cauliflower, broccoli or carrot on it. It was great catching up with my friends that night, and I highly appreciated the opportunity to meet up with known company after a couple of weeks traveling solo.
I slept quite well that night as it was a full day of travel (Stuttgart to Metzingen to Stuttgart to Heidelberg). Although the shopping was disappointing I had Mannheim shopping to look forward to the next day.