Monday, 23 August 2010

Stuttgart 21

Stuttgart 21 is a plan to move the existing Main train station in Stuttgart, underground. Our current 'Bahnhof' is an end station, so to speak, that basically means that the trains arrive in the station and then have to reverse out again to carry on with the journey. Now the local government want to dig under the city and build extensive new railways so that trains travelling from all over Germany will be able to save about 10 minutes of their journey time. In doing so, they will also dig under one of the large parks in Stuttgart city centre, and that means that they will be uprooting a large number of the beautiful 400 year old trees that presently stand in the 'Schloss Park'. It has also been rumoured that when they dig the tunnels, they are not exactly sure whether the city will hold up!! We have seen something like this fairly recently in Cologne, when a building literally sank into the ground. A terrible tragedy that really wasn't necessary, and that we do not want to see again. The entire project will end up costing more than 4 Billion Euros. Surely there is better things to be spending that money on!
Here in Stuttgart there has been a lot of unrest because of this Project, every Monday evening (in fact almost everyday now) there are large demonstrations outside the Station. All over the city you see stickers and slogans against Stuttgart 21.

This is the most common one, and they are stuck on every corner post box, bus stop and basically anywhere they'll stick.
On Wednesday, Philipp and I went to a massive Demo with Philipps father and his partner, who came in from Karlsruhe to show their support. In fact, they come almost every week. The mood in the crowd was actually really nice, mostly because it was a quiet march, and people were talking and passing around information that they had heard. I even heard one guy telling some people of a beer that has been specially labelled and sold in a couple of Bars here and that from every bottle sold, 21 cents goes towards general costs like the badges and stickers against Stuttgart 21. There were signs everywhere and lots of people had dressed themselves up to emphasise their point. There were Police everywhere, but no trouble. We walked from the Bahnhof up to the Schloss Platz (the square in the middle of the city) and gathered there for what I can only call a mass shouting session. At exactly 7pm, after a few speeches from the leaders of pack, the entire square erupted with the noise of between 20,000 and 30,000 people. The hair on the back of my neck was completely on end!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Africa Festival

Recently I've been seeing all these posters for an African Festival in Stuttgart West. I was really excited about it because the poster promised a Drumming band and African food and I thought it might be a good opportunity to go and take some interesting pictures. Philipp even stopped studying for a couple of hours to come with me! However when we finally found the 'Festival', it was literally about 15 people sitting at a garden table. The African food was just a grill with some steaks on it and the Drumming Band the poster promised, was.... (and get this).... A Stereo!!!! I was so disappointed, and a bit pissed off!! As you can probably tell from the photo below!!!
The main problem was that last year there was another African Festival, down in Stuttgart South and it was fantastic! The food was amazing and in the evening you could hear the music all the way up to our house on the hill! There was also loads and loads of stalls selling everything from wooden Jewelry to wicker laundry baskets. It was great, and unfortunately I had hoped this one would be similar, if on a smaller scale! What a disappointment!

Photo taken by Philipp Linder