Trip Start Oct 20, 2010
79Trip End May 03, 2011
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Where I stayed
I mean, really, what could possibly be bad about walking around a museum which is full of badass classic cars, some race cars, and learning about them and how they work? The correct answer, for those still searching for it, is nothing.
I was told that there wasn't a whole lot of point in going to both museums, as they were relatively similar in content besides the cars that were contained within, and that the Mercedes museum was better at explaining the history of the automobile and just about cars generally, so I decided that while Porsches are powerfully bitchin', Mercedes was the way forward.
The museum is housed in an impressive building on the site of the original Daimler factory (and the home of the automobile) not far from the centre of Stuttgart. There is still a working factory there, and there was a constant stream of vans and lorries transporting new Mercs around the place and taking them out for distribution.
The museum was 8 stories high, and, frankly, vast. There was no way I could have effectively done both museums in a day, so I'm glad I made an executive decision to only go to one and wasn't disappointed. Honestly, I probably didn't even have time to do the Merc museum justice, there was simply so much information contained in the audioguide. On each floor there were about 20 info points and each had at least 3 sections, ranging from 45 seconds of spoken text to a full 10 minutes.
On the top floor I started out trying to listen to everything that was going, but it quickly became apparent that if I was going to make it out of this museum alive (or at least, before it shut) I was going to have to be selective about what I listened to.
The floors were split in to time periods which gave the history of the (initially) separate Benz and Daimler companies, through their amalgamation to their merger with Chrysler and beyond, presenting classic models and the latest technology from each era as it went. Off each floor in a little annexe was an exhibition about certain types of vehicles, like commercial vehicles, emergency service vehicles, Mercedes owned by celebrities, or just plain reliable road vehicles.
The ground floor held the exhibit on the different Mercedes racing cars. They had formula one, indycars, rally cars, touring cars and loads more and it was nice to get a shot of a few of the shinier ones. There was also a 'racing simulator' which I assumed would be a driving game, but turned out to be a motion/flight simulator style thing which went through the history of Mercedes racing. It would have been more fun if you drove yourself, but there was a steering wheel to hold on to as you went around, and as the simulator went on to a section about the Nurburgring I had the smug satisfaction of being able to say I had driven around it anyway :D
That was the sum of my time in Stuttgart really. Besides that it is a pretty unremarkable place. Very industrial. And the city centre is currently undergoing serious demolition/reconstruction work at the moment. Got to see a crane chewing a building apart, which was quite cool actually.
Cars and demolition. Frankfurt was going to have to do something else to beat Stuttgart on the manliness front.