Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Long Night of Museums

One of my new mom friends here in Stuttgart suggested a while back that we take a mom's night out to the Long Night of Museums event.  It's held once a year here in Stuttgart (other cities do it as well I've heard), and during that night, almost every museum in the city is open to ticket holders.  The ticket was 16 Euros and included your public transport that evening, so it was quite a deal.  Some of the museums can cost upwards of 6 Euros each, many being more.

Three of us were available to go and were excited to get out without the kids.  The event was set to run from 7PM to 2AM, so we met up a little before 6PM and sat down at a restaurant to plan our attack and get a little something to eat.  This is where I officially had my first apple strudel in Germany.  I grew up with Austrian immigrant grandparents, and my Oma has been making me apple strudel since before I could walk.  I wasn't sure any other strudel would live up to my expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I'm not saying that it was better than my Oma's but it was very good.

7PM rolled around and we decided to start making the most of our evening out.  Some museums are only open during certain parts of the year, so they were a little more popular on this evening since it's not something people could see anytime they wanted.  One of those was an underground bunker that also served as a hotel during WWII.  Below is the wrap-around line waiting to get into the bunker.

 The hallways inside the bunker

 One of the rooms inside the bunker

We spent a little time wandering in and out of museums that we probably wouldn't have paid for admission normally.  We went to a photo gallery, a large modern art museum, a tiny museum that was about the man who tried to kill Hitler, who was portrayed by Tom Cruise in the movie Valkyrie. 

There was lots of projection shows and entertainment throughout the downtown area

 The New Castle at night

 The Opera House

One of the museums we were most interested in visiting was called the Fruit Box (English translation).  It contained old musical instruments.  As a musician, it was something I was excited to see.   When we first got there, people were starting to sit down for a demonstration.  We grabbed some seats and although the presenter was in German, one of the moms we were with is married to a German and gave us a rough translation.  He discussed how children can make music out of anything and then invited us to come up to a contraption in the center of the room.  It was rigged with strings and various metal objects.  He encouraged us to grab two pieces of the string, to wrap them around our fingers, then place our fingers in our ears.  He then proceeded to tap on the various metal objects connected to the web of strings, and you could actually hear it through the vibration to the strings on your fingers!  It was really cool.  Below is a shot of the contraption from above.

We then went upstairs to look at the old musical instruments.  There were some really beautiful and interesting pieces and show below are some of them.

This one was so beautiful.  It's amazing how intricately built and decorated these instruments were, constructed hundreds of years ago.

After we left the Fruit Box, we walked over to the planetarium where they were having shows, and after waiting in line for about 15 minutes, we were told the next show wasn't for about 30-45 minutes, so we headed to the presentation at the Hauptbahnhof instead.  They were having an exhibit about the new Stuttgart 21 project which will completely transform the station and change train patterns in the city as I mentioned in the post about the train system here.

The scale model.  It's hard to see, but it was cool to see what will be underground once the project is completed.

It was about 11:30, when we were finished with the Stuttgart 21 exhibit and we were about ready to call it a night.  We stopped and grabbed a snack and chatted for a while longer, then split up to take our respective trains home.  I had a really great time and was so glad to have met some other mom friends.  It's great that we can get out during the day with our kids and then get together occasionally at night without them.  I don't know how I'd survive here without them!

1 comment:

  1. So fun! I went to one of those when I was in Paris. All the main attractions were open all night and for free. My friends and I decided to go see the catacombs, it was so fun...and scary going at night. Then we tried to hit the eiffel tower, but it was so crowded that we didn't end up going up. We just saw the Bendlerblock where von Staffenburg (valkyrie) was working and killed in Berlin. We read that there was a museum about him in Stuttgart.