Mercedes Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

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Our visit to the Mercedes Benz Museum was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited). We stayed at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn and you could walk from there to the museum.

From the museum website:
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the only museum in the world that can document in a single continuous timeline over 130 years of auto industry history from its very beginnings to the present day. On nine levels and covering a floor space of 16,500 square metres, the museum presents 160 vehicles and over 1,500 exhibits.

That’s a pretty accurate description. On arrival, we took a futuristic elevator to the top floor.

The self-guided tour starts with the oldest first.

We then worked our way down a wide sloping spiral, surrounded by historical events and cars. I’ll post a series of pictures at the end of this review.

My favourite car – the 300SL with gull-wing doors.

My favourite movie vehicle from Jurassic Park – Lost World.

My least favourite exhibit – a Mercedes hand painted by some famous rapper presented as a ‘work of art’. If I were Mercedes, I would have banned the guy from purchasing a Mercedes for life for ruining a good car.

The ground floor has a showroom of all the latest Mercedes models.

We visited the ground floor restaurant. It was pretty sad compared to the excellent restaurant at the Porsche Museum. It wasn’t clear how to obtain food and we first queued at the nearby snack bar, only to be told there was waiter service.

The menu was unexciting and expensive. So if there was one thing I would change about the Mercedes Museum, it would be the restaurant.

We really enjoyed our visit and I’d recommend the Mercedes Benz Museum. If you’re planning to visit the Porsche Museum on the same day, then plan to eat there.

Mercedes Benz Museum
Mercedesstraße 100,
70372 Stuttgart, Germany

+49 711-17 30 000
e-mail: classic@daimler.com

Tickets.
Day ticket regular: 10 €, reduced: 5 €

If you have a Porsche Museum ticket, you receive 25% off admission and vice versa.

If you have a StuttCard (17 € for 24 hours) you can go free to both Porsche and Mercedes Museums plus a host of other museums and attractions.

https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/classic/museum/

Tuesdays to Sundays 9 am to 6 pm (Box office closing time: 5 pm)
Closed on Mondays and selected public holidays.

 

Belles Fleurs, Vinohrady, Prague, Czech Republic – somewhere to avoid

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Belles Fleurs has several outlets in Prague and also an online store. My nearest branch is near IP Pavlova metro station and tram stops.

They have a lot of flowers outside. On the afternoon of Monday 17th September, I picked up three bunches of five yellow roses. The assistant, clipped the ends from the stems, hand tied the roses and wrapped them in paper – she also gave me a sachet of powder to add to the water. Price 397 Kč.

Within ten minutes they were in a vase of water plus the powder from the sachet. The flowers didn’t look too good on Tuesday. I took these pictures today as I wanted to show them to the Belle Fleurs.

The assistant looked at the pictures and receipt, then announced that “refunds or replacements were only possible within 24 hours under Czech law”. With some persuasion, the assistant called ‘head office’ and confirmed that nothing could be done.

What terrible customer service! And to hide behind Czech law, assuming this law exists, just makes it worse.

So please avoid, at least this branch of, Belles Fleurs. If you do buy flowers from them and they start to look a bit tired within 24 hours, take them straight back.

BTW Marks and Spencer have much better flowers – they last longer and are less expensive.

Belle Fleurs
Bělehradská 382/124, 120 00 Praha-Vinohrady

Palm Beach Bar and Restaurant, Stuttgart

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Our visit to the Palm Beach Bar was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

We were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Stuttgart. The hotel is in the grounds of the Mercedes Benz Arena – home to Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart and there aren’t many restaurants within walking distance.

The Palm Beach Bar is behind the hotel and a one minute walk away – it looked like a cheesy version of TGI Fridays. As it was the Palm Beach Bar was pretty good.

There are big screens everywhere for showing sports. We were happy to watch a great game of football, the first game of the Bundesliga season where Bayern Munich beat Hoffenheim 3-1.

We had a Thai Curry and a Pizza

Both good pub grub dishes. Service was good and prices were okay.

If you find yourselves nearby the Mercedes Arena and you’re not looking for fine-dining, then you’ll be okay at the Palm Beach Bar.

Palm Beach Bar
Mercedes street 73B
70372 Stuttgart

https://www.palmbeach-stuttgart.de/

0711/16 22 11 99

Ludwigsberg Palace, Stuttgart, Germany

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Our visit to the Ludwigsberg Palace was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace is one of the largest Baroque buildings in Europe to survive in its original condition. Tours are available in English. We arrived at the entrance to the gardens and found that there was an entry fee that wasn’t part of the tour. I’m not sure if you can buy a combined ticket for both gardens and tour – the Palace website only mentions the tour.

So we walked around the edge of the gardens to the Palace entrance.

We found the tour entrance to the right and went up some magnificent stairs. It turned out that we were the only three members of the English tour and so this turned into a private tour.

Our guide was really friendly and was able to tell us all about the Palace, without sounding like a tour guide.

The first palace on the site, the main part of the building, was constructed from 1704 onwards. It was intended as a hunting lodge for Duke Eberhard Ludwig. In 1718, when Ludwigsburg became the Duke’s principal place of residence, he sought a more fitting reflection of his power and prestige. As a result, the three-wing complex acquired a fourth wing, enclosing a square. The impressive structure was completed in 1733.

The corridors and rooms were impressive.

There were styles from Baroque to Rococo to Neoclassical.

The Schlosstheater (palace theatre) in the eastern wing is one of Europe’s oldest theatres.

The view to the gardens.

We really enjoyed a tour – it was a nice segment between our visit to the Porsche Museum earlier that day and the Mercedes Museum on the next day. You may even be lucky and find yourselves the only visitors on the tour.

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace
Schlossstraße 30
71634 Ludwigsburg, Germany
Phone +49(0)71 41.18 64 00

info@schloss-ludwigsburg.de

https://www.schloss-ludwigsburg.de/en/home/

Open every day 10:00 am – 05:00 pm but you have to take a guided tour

Guided tours in English:
15 March to 15 November:
Mon – Fri 1.15 pm, 3.15 pm
Sat and Sun and public holidays 11.15 am, 1.15 pm, 3.15 pm, 5.15 pm
16 November to 14 March:
Mon – Fri 1.15 pm, 3.15 pm
Sat and Sun and public holidays 11.15 am, 1.15 pm, 3.15 pm

If you have a StuttCard (17 € for 24 hours) you can go free to Ludwigsburg Palace, Porsche and Mercedes Museums plus a host of other museums and attractions.

Adults 7,00 €
Reduced 3,50 €
Family 17,50 €

Porsche Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

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Our visit to the Porsche Museum was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

The exterior of the Porsche Museum is impressive. There are also three Porsche models attached to concrete arms just across the street.

An audio tour guide is included in the admission price – I didn’t take one as I don’t really like tours, even when they are self-guided.

A long escalator takes you to a huge upper floor and you’re surrounded by Porsche models.

There’s plenty to see  – a complete selection from old to new, including some rare and icon models. Many of the displays also play a sound of the engine.

There are also the racing models.

After a few hours, we took the escalator down and visited the Boxenstopp restaurant on the ground floor.

There was a spotless open kitchen.

The food prices were pretty reasonable.

And the food was outstanding. I’d love to try the fine-dining Christophorus Restaurant as I’m sure that would be amazing.

We really enjoyed our visit and I’d recommend the Porsche Museum – don’t forget to eat there!

Porsche Museum
Porscheplatz 1
70435 Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen

0049 (0)711 – 911 20 911

info.museum@porsche.de

https://www.porsche.com/museum/en/

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fine-dining Christophorus Restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday until midnight.

Prices
If you have a Mercedes Museum ticket, you receive 25% off admission and vice versa.

If you have a StuttCard (17 € for 24 hours) you can go free to both Porsche and Mercedes Museums plus a host of other museums and attractions.

Parking 4 €
Adult 8 € Concessions 4 € Children under 14 are free when accompanied by an adult
Evening tickets (from 5 p.m.) Adult 4 € Concessions 2 €
Family ticket (2 adults + children up to 18) 20 €
Guided museum tour (admission not included) 60 €
Guided architectural tour (admission not included) 90 €
Open museum tour (admission not included) 4 €
Annual tickets Adults (non-transferable) 32 € Concessions 16 €

Hilton Garden Inn, Stuttgart, Germany

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Our stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Stuttgart was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

Our stay at this Hilton was so we could visit the nearby Porsche Museum, Mercedes Museum and Ludwigsburg Palace. I can’t imagine that people stay here for any other reason except to attend matches at the Mercedes Benz Arena – home to German Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart. The hotel is directly next to the arena and so this is the view you’ll see from your window.

We were able to park directly outside, although had to move the car to the street afterwards – hotel parking is  €16.

Check in was smooth, although there was no mention of an upgrade for our two room bookings; one Diamond, one Gold HHhonors. We were also informed that the hotel restaurant was closed for refurbishment and so we’d need to go elsewhere for dinner.

On arrival at my room, it was clear this was the lowest level room. And I might have accepted that had the bed wasn’t so small.

The bathroom was okay.

I returned to reception and asked if they had any better rooms – it looked like the hotel was completely full. After several minutes, they decided to offer me an accessible room – that was fine with me. This room was much better, with an entry hall, large bed and more windows.

The bathroom was accessible – I quite like the large walk-in shower.

Breakfast was okay – what you’d expect from a Garden Inn.

If you’re planning to visit the car museums, Ludwigsburg Palace or attend a football match then the Hilton Garden Inn will suffice. Apart from that I can’t see any reason for anyone to stay here.

Hilton Garden Inn
Mercedesstrasse 75,
70372, Stuttgart
Germany

TEL: +49-711-900550

http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/baden-wurttemberg/hilton-garden-inn-stuttgart-neckarpark-STRPKGI/index.html

Templehof (unused) Airport Tour, Berlin, Germany

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Our Templehof Airport Tour in Berlin was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

Tempelhof opened 8th October 1923 and ceased operations on 30th October 2008. The old terminal was originally constructed in 1927. In anticipation of increasing air traffic, the Nazi government began a massive reconstruction in the mid-1930s. The main building was once among the top 20 largest buildings on Earth.

On 20 June 1948, Soviet authorities, claiming technical difficulties, halted all traffic by land and by water into or out of the Western-controlled sectors of Berlin. Faced with the choice of abandoning the city or attempting to supply its inhabitants with the necessities of life by air, the Western Powers chose the latter course, and for the next eleven months sustained the city’s 2½ million residents in one of the greatest feats in aviation history – The Berlin Airlift.

The former airfield is now used as a huge recreational space known as Tempelhofer Feld. The airport buildings are largely abandoned, although there are a few tenants who rent space there.

We purchased two tour tickets online https://www.thf-berlin.de/fuehrungen/english-guided-tours/ for €15,00 per ticket. We had less than an hour to get to Templehof from our earlier Dark Worlds Bunker Tour and arrived 20 minutes late to find the tour office closed and no sign of the tour. There were four doors leading to a corridor – luckily one was unlocked and we went inside.

We walked to the end of the corridor, only to find more doors, all of those were locked. Two thirds of the way down the corridor was a door that opened with steps down to the airfield. We went down, walked to the next set of steps, back up and found the door open – we were now on the other side of the locked corridor doors. There was still no sign of the tour, but it was great fun finding our way around without a tour guide.

We found ourselves in the huge deserted terminal building – an amazing space.

We climbed upstairs for a better view.

We found the doors to the stairwells were open, but once through there was no way back. It was then that the tour appeared – we walked back down and joined them.

The tour guide didn’t immediately notice two extra members. However, others on the tour wore green wristbands and a few minutes later the guide realised ours were missing. She asked if we were part of the tour and I said that we were, had arrived late and showed our tickets. “How did you get in here?” – I didn’t explain our entire journey, just that the door was open. “But you don’t have a green wristband!”. I replied that we did have tickets, but would be happy to continue wandering around on our own. We were invited to remain on the tour.

The tour continued, slowly and included a lot of stair climbing.

The tour was a little boring, especially after the excitement of our self-guided adventure – but at least we knew that we’d be able to leave and not be arrested!

We discovered that we’d missed a trip to the roof of the building – I’m sure that would have been great. What was interesting was how you could go out a door on one level and feel like it was ground level, then walk down a few flights of stairs and repeat.

If you just wanted to view the airport from outside, you could just turn up and wander around. To see the inside and the roof, you’ll need a ticket – if you’re accidentally late, just try a few doors!

Templehof Airport
Platz der Luftbrücke 5
12101 Berlin
Germany

English-language tours:
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1:30 pm
and Thursday (August and September) 1:30 pm

Duration of the tour: 2 hours

Adult: 15,00 €
Students: 10,00 €
Children (6-14 years): 7,00 €

+49 30 200 03 74-41 – although I called this number from the taxi while we were stuck in traffic and just got a voicemail in German

https://www.thf-berlin.de/fuehrungen/english-guided-tours/

Dark Worlds Bunker Tour, Berliner Unterwelten, Berlin, Germany

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Our Dark Worlds Bunker Tour in Berlin was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

The Berliner Unterwelten e.V. (Berlin Underworlds Association) was founded in 1997 – they research, discover and open forgotten underground spaces in Berlin. They run several tours of underground spaces – Tour 1 is called ‘Dark Worlds’.

None of the tours are bookable unless you are a group and send a request via the contact form on the website https://www.berliner-unterwelten.de/en/ – you need to arrive ahead of the tour and queue at the shop next to the south entrance of the Gesundbrunnen U-Bahn station.

The queue was quite long when we arrived and there were plenty of wasps around. We were lucky as I’d previously arranged with Berliner Unterwelten to collect tickets as I was planning to write this review. I really think they should set up an online booking system.

The tour group were led back into Gesundbrunnen station and down one flight of stairs to a green door. I was surprised that the entrance wasn’t deeper.

The tour guide spoke good English and advised that photography wasn’t allowed due to some copyright restrictions – there are dozens of artefacts in the bunker that are on loan on condition that they can’t be photographed. I’m going to contact Berliner Unterwelten and ask for some images that I can add to this review.

We entered through the door and down some stairs, still not that deep underground. Our guide explained that the bunker was used as a wartime bomb shelter, but a direct hit would have caused the roof to cave in.

We visited various rooms that had previously lain empty – Berliner Unterwelten had filled the rooms with various artifacts and display cabinets typical of the wartime period. It was really interesting, but I was also aware that the items had been assembled rather than be original contents of the bunker.

Everyone enjoyed the room painted with luminous paint – used to provide some light when the electricity failed. Our guide took a flash photo of a person on the tour then turned out the lights to show their outline in the luminous paint.

Another room had a mock up of the now defunct pneumatic post system, used from as early as 1870 to deliver post across Berlin. Our guide was able to send an illuminated tube whizzing around the pipes in the room and back.

90 minutes passed quickly and we soon outside again. We enjoyed this tour and next time I’m in Berlin, I’d like to try their other tours.

Dark Worlds Bunker Tour, Berliner Unterwelten
Brunnenstraße 105
13355 Berlin

Tours run all year (except Dec 22nd–26th, 2018 & Jan 1st, 2019): Wed – Sun at 11.00
April – October: additional tours Mon 3 p.m., Wed – Sun 1 p.m. + 3 p.m.
The tour schedule is subject to change.
Additional tours around national holidays are displayed in the calendar.

Duration: 90 min.

Admission: €12 (reduced €10)

https://www.berliner-unterwelten.de/en/guided-tours/public-tours/dark-worlds.html

Das Meisterstück Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

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Our visit to Das  Meisterstück in Berlin was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

Das Meisterstück specialises in beer and sausages. They have several restaurants in Berlin – we visited the Berlin Mitte location, just a few minutes walk from the Hilton Hotel Berlin.

It was a Tuesday night in August and the indoor part of the restaurant was almost empty – most people were in the courtyard garden. The plague of wasps that we’d found in Berlin made us decide against the garden – but the inside was fine.

A 0.4l beer was €3.70. Both our waiter and waitress was really friendly and helpful, despite our limited German. Our waiter had such good English that I accused him of being English and pretending to be German. We asked for traditional sausage dishes.

Blutwurst with Sauerkraut €11. This was pretty good.

Curry wurst €7.50. Well the 1970s called and asked for their food back! The sausage was good, but the ‘curry’ was just ketchup with curry powder sprinkled on top – although the powder was sprinkled in the shape of Das Meisterstück logo.

We then decided to try Thüringer – looked similar to black pudding €9.50. It tasted like black pudding but was much softer.

The bathroom was interesting – with a large picture of a woman wearing sausage, bacon and egg.

If you’re looking for friendly place near Berlin Mitte and want to try some German sausages, then I’d recommend Das Meisterstück.

Das Meisterstück Restaurant
Hausvogteiplatz 3-4
10117 Berlin​

Tel. +49 30 55 872 562

Open every day from noon to midnight

https://www.dasmeisterstueck.de/berlinmittecraftbeer

German Museum of Technology, Berlin, Germany

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Our visit to the Museum of Technology in Berlin was part of our German Road trip (that page has links to all the hotels, restaurants and places visited).

It wasn’t far to walk from the Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station (journey included with our Berlin WelcomeCard). You’ll know when you’re nearby as an aircraft hangs over the top of the building.

The entrance was on a quiet street.

After you enter, purchase a ticket for €8 (child and concession prices available) and climb a small staircase. After that, you can choose to visit the new building, full of ships and aviation, or turn right into a series of train engine sheds. You can click on the map below to make it bigger.

We went first to the engine sheds. The corridor felt really cosy and not what you’d expect in a museum.

There was something very relaxing about walking from one engine shed to another, just looking at steam trains while the sun shone through the windows. It was the exact opposite of a stuffy museum.

Outside were turntables used to bring the engines into the sheds.

There was also some nice-looking gardens, but there were too many wasps plaguing Berlin for me to venture there.

We could have easily spent more than a few hours in the engine sheds, but hadn’t really left enough time for the whole place and instead went back to the modern building. I skipped the first few floors dedicated to shipping…

…and went straight to aviation.

There is an outside terrace on the top floor where you can get a closer look at the aircraft that hangs over the top of the building.

You could easily spend more than two hours in the shipping and aviation building.

Back near the entrance was a small exhibition dedicated to the progresses in computing – I liked it but if computers aren’t your thing then you could safely skip that.

We could see another building on our map and asked how to get there. We were directed out of the entrance, turn right along the street, right again past the hanging aircraft and then several minutes walk to another building.

I wonder how many visitors miss this annex. We went inside and found an eclectic mixture of vehicles and spaces dedicated to different technical innovation.

We enjoyed wandering around, although I think anyone could easily see the annex exhibits in under an hour.

I’d definitely recommend a visit to the German Museum of Technology while you are in Berlin – even if you aren’t especially interested in technology, the place has a friendly, relaxed feel and it’s nice to be able to go outside.

German Museum of Technology/Deutsches Technikmuseum
Trebbiner Str. 9,
10963 Berlin,
Germany

Regular opening hours
Tuesday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.30 pm
Saturday / Sunday 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
Monday closed
Public holidays 10.00 am to 6.00 pm

https://sdtb.de/museum-of-technology/623/

Phone: +49 30 902540