As I am a lost, homeless puppy, I am always looking for interesting stuff to do at Christmas time. This year marked my 7th holiday season hopping aimlessly around Europe and somehow, on the 24th of December I ended up at a train station alone at night. A little background info. I was going to stay in Ludwigsburg for the holiday season so in the last few weeks I had been trying to find places to volunteer which turned out to be more difficult than imagined. In the end I decided to try and make the best out of being here, God only knows what the future brings.
But train station? I literally found only one article online that mentioned how every year since 1945 there has been a horn and trumpet concert at the Stuttgart mail train station. I asked locals who have been living here for decades and none of them had heard of it. On a whim I decided to check it out, since it sounded too obscure to be a hoax. After taking the train all the way out I was greeted by a usual looking train station until I turned a corner and BOOM, maybe 40 musicians in a big circle in the middle of the departure area. In the centre was one local priest, as well as representatives from churches abroad who translated a lot of the “service” into French, Italian, English, Arabic and… I swear there was one more.
The whole thing was very surreal. Yet, I was not the only one out there, the musicians were surrounded by maybe 200 onlookers and some travelers almost stumbling over their own suitcases from the surprise effect this event had. Apparently it was first started to welcome soldiers home from the war, afterwards it acted as a musical farewell to guest workers during the big boom in the 1950s and 60s. Why no locals knew about it? No idea.
The thing lasted for 1.5h, it included Christmas songs, lots of blowing some German horns (this sentence will inadvertently get me lots of clicks from German porn enthusiasts) and some Bible passages but it was not… overtly religious? I thought the translation into the other languages was an important part but my favorite was definitely a priest being interrupted by loud intercom announcements of delayed trains. Priceless.
If you are ever, for whatever reason, in Stuttgart on Christmas, go check it out, it will be different, yet festive and memorable for sure. PS: sorry for bad quality of pics.
Me and my flatmate stayed in Ludwigsburg. At 11pm I did the obligatory Estonian countdown (since there is an hour of time difference between the two countries) and watched Mr Ilves’ bowtie. At midnight we went to the town square. Turns out, the city does not organize fireworks, it really is more of a “individuals blowing their hard earned cash into the air in the form of a 3 second lightshow and then paying taxes to get it cleaned up the morning after” kind of thing.
I did not see many fireworks being sold so I did not expect much boom boom pow. However…the town square was packed with drunken people, some Asian tourists, as well as idiots who don’t understand to point the fireworks upwards and not into the crowds. It was pretty and nice and…LOUD. The city is full of archways and any fireworks set off there were louder than gun shots at close range. I can say that from personal experience. Stay away from guns, kids. It was a nice evening but I was more concerned about making 2014 awesome rather than sending 2013 off in style. But that is just me.