Exploring Southern Germany: The Stories of Swabia
Boasting the likes of Albert Einstein, Porsche, white asparagus, and the first ever pretzel; Southern Germany’s Swabish lands offer more than meets the eye.
In and around Stuttgart (pictured), you might notice a slight variation on the German accent being spoken around the bakeries and beerhalls. This is the Swabish accent, and is spoken, unsurprisingly, by Swabian people- the localsof the area.
Whether you find them drinking beers by the litre at Cannstatter Volksfest, munching on a pretzel in the streets of Stuttgart, or taking a stroll through the villages of the Swabish Alb; throw them a smile and a Swabish greeting of “Gruess Gottle!” and listen to the tales they tell (if you can understand them).
Although the region isn’t large, it boasts some big names as its exports- among some famous Swabish are physicist Albert Einstein, and literary giants Herman Hesse and Friedrich Schiller.
The Swabish history is rich in rumours, having been the subject of many a tale, including The Seven Swabians by The Brothers Grimm, which depicted the race as prudish and overly serious.
These days, this could not be further from the truth- the Swabish are known for their generosity and work ethic- having been at the forefront of establishing some of the most prestigious automotive companies in the world (including Porsche).
But perhaps the grandest boast due to the Swabian people comes from one fine attribute- their original Swabish cooking.
Legend has it, the planets first pretzel originated in this area; cooked up by a Swabish baker who wanted to see the sun shine through bread in three places. So try a butter pretzel at one of the stalls around Konig Strasse in Stuttgart- and taste a salty piece of history.
The Swabian cuisine casts its own spin on the German traditional fare, from meaty goodies to sweet delights, and much served upon a bed of the pasta-like spaetzle.
One such dish is Rouladen, which consists of a thin strip of beef wrapped around slices of bacon, pickles and onion and browned in gooey butter.
One may also choose the Maultaschen, (literally translated, it means ‘Mouth Pockets’) which are like inflated ravioli, stuffed full of local meats, herbs and vegetables.
For the veg-heads out there, a speciality in the area is the coveted white asparagus. This much sought after perennial is prime around springtime, and brings the tourists flocking in droves (North Americans are particularly known for returning to retry this southern specialty).
Cooked, it is often served next to potatoes and ham- which can come fresh from the Black Forest piggery. Translated as ‘spargel,’ this seasonal treat has earned quite a name for itself.
In fact, Europe’s biggest asparagus festival is held annually in May, in Bruchsal, just outside of Stuttgart.
Peering out over Stuttgart on a sunny day, the peaks of the Swiss Alps carving the far horizon, you can catch a glimpse at the luxurious spread of land the state of Baden-Wutternburg calls its capital.
Ride the elevator up the 150 metres for the best vantage point in town, the observation deck of the world’s oldest concrete TV Tower, (known in German as the ‘Fernsehtum’).
From here you can span your eyes across the Swabish Land, taking in sights as varied as the Mercedes Museum, to the town’s ancient castle, to the multitude of vineyards sprinkled upon nearby hills.
Stuttgart circulates within its own micro-climate, allowing for a rich abundance of fruits and almost tropical-looking plants to grow throughout the summer.
Looking out over the lands of the Swabish, you can literally see the countryside merge into the city, as green forests stop suddenly; giving way to busy streets.
Though Stuttgart is a city thriving on a wealthy industrial economy, many of its inhabitants radiate a down-to-earth pleasantry. As if they are living in the metro, though talking from a country heart.2015-09-25