Why do I suck on flirting

Stuttgart: Not sucking, but chewing

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"Where do you come from. Around here?" I met this real Berliner Michael while hiking in the Swabian Alb. "Stuttgart," I replied. "Oh, that's this city on the Neckar? And how is it in Stuttgart? Stupid? I only know about the change."

"Then come to Stuttgart," I growled. "I'll show you this city on the Neckar. It is much better than its reputation among you Berliners."

But I would like to seize the opportunity now and tell this not unsympathetic Berliner, as well as all the others who think of nothing but the deepest province, nothing going on, petty-minded, strange dialect and the like, why I live here. And why I really enjoy living here.

Jörg Armbruster

Jörg Armbruster was a correspondent for ARD in the Middle East for many years. He has been working as a freelance journalist since spring 2013 and writes mainly about the Arab region.

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I admit: This city in the densely populated basin, on the edges of which elegant villas with gardens rise up to half height, does not make it easy for you when you first meet. A city certainly not for everyone, especially not for a quick flirt, for something in between when changing trains or something. You can't just hit on Stuttgart, it's not poor, but sexy, but rich, but brittle. And it just doesn't have that narrow-alley-old-half-timbered-oh-how-romantic-charm that tourists like to look for.

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Of course, Michael, Stuttgart doesn't have as many pubs as Berlin. Instead, the impatient question "red or white?" Does not come up when ordering wine at a bar in a Stuttgart broom bar. Rather, the landlady will kindly inquire whether it may be a Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Lemberger or Trollinger. And the wines may have been harvested in Stuttgart vineyards.

Even the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce and Industry treats its guests with home-grown Lemberger, but not, dear Michael, because it's so "more desirable". If it’s about Swabian thrift, then these chamber-like self-caterers would be better served with a few bottles from the shop next door. Tending to the IHK vines on the steep slopes right next to the main train station and harvesting them in autumn is expensive and gets on your bones. One of the city's own wines is called Cannstatter Zuckerle, but it is not something to suck on, but rather something to sip on. That's what we call it when we drink our quarter. But of course you don't notice that if you just change trains in Stuttgart.

Yes, Stuttgart also has its beautiful corners beyond the vineyards. One of my favorite places is the Schlossplatz with the art museum and the spacious palace garden with opera and theater. Not to forget the city library, an almost magically shining temple of books of strict symmetry at night, from whose roof terrace one has one of the most beautiful views over Stuttgart. And under no circumstances should Stuttgart visitors interested in architecture miss a detour to the restored and converted Wilhelmspalais on Charlottenplatz. With this gem, the city has finally created a museum for city history. And repaired a piece of the city.

Further repairs will be necessary, because a large part of the city center is simply building sin, cut up and furrowed by multi-lane roads. City administration and a specially founded association now have big plans to finally remove these post-war scars on the face of Stuttgart. However, these plans are still in the city's own drawers. And they will probably stay there until the station is finally lower.

Our next underground station and your Berlin airport, dear Michael, have more in common than those responsible would like: Both will not be ready by the announced dates, but will be many times more expensive than originally promised.