Saturday, August 13, 2005

In the midst of routine...

The adage goes Nothing is as permanent as change. But, life in Stuttgart follows everything except the shift from normality. Life beckons the daily routine to be confined to predictable limits without transgression of even the minutest of barriers. The white sleet of snow is a result of the fugacious attempt by the sun to peek through the dense clouds. The vast stretch of snow leaves a permanent impression in memory of the everlasting invasion of the white precipitate. The initial excitement of the sight of snow soon turns into customariness, as exhilaration gradually transforms to "daily stuff".

The cleanliness of the city with the pristine air is a joy to behold. The rush of exhaust fumes directly to your lungs is a rarity in this part of the world. The Euro norms in the vehicles are adhered to strictly. People are driven by a sense of responsibility to uphold the basic rules and regulations, without the slightest tinge of non-compliance. The public transport system here may be one of the best in the world(though I have no idea about the other places!!). The bahns are a revelation here, with travelling from one corner of the city to the other corner being a highly pleasurable experience. The bahns from different stations are synchronized to such an extent that the connecting bahns from the other stations are not missed. Travellers are exposed to a new set of timings. 7:24 and 7:27 are totally different timings here. It is not taken as 7:25 or 7:30. Every minute is valued to a great extent.

Food is not at all a problem here as long as you are ready to eat anything. Unfortunately, I do not fall under this category. Being a strict vegetarian, every ingredient of the foodies is checked before arriving at a decision as to whether it is comestible by Indian standards or not!! Doner Kabab - a burger delight is a favourite among my Indian friends, although I didn't find it the same way. It is very popular here and comes in two modes of preparation - one stuffed with vegetables and schweine(pork) and the other is stuffed with vegetables and cheese. It can easily be substituted for a luncheon or a good dinner. The good old MAC finds its way in Stuttgart too with its wide array of delicacies. Gemuse MAC is the favourite of everyone here including me!! This too is a vegetable burger with scrumptious stuffings that rekindles your taste buds after every bite. MAC is a common sight here. The premier strasse of the city - KunigStrasse has a MAC almost in every other corner. There are other Chinese restaurants here and one of our regular hangouts is a place named China Town in the HauptBahnof - the main railway station. A huge bowl of delicious fried rice or noodles can easily be devoured by a bunch of hungry gourmets.

The daily essentials are procured by us in the local marts - Plus and Marktauf in the viccinity of the hotel. Although all vegetables are not available, we make do with the onions, tomatoes and potatoes. One great aspect here is the availability of a wide variety of dairy products - different kinds of milk, yoghurt, butter milk, cream puddings and what not!! The fruit yoghurt is one of my favourites, along with the vanilla - choco pudding, with creamed milk of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate forming the perfect icing for a nice evening. There are different varieties of biscuits and cakes too - butter biscuits, biscuits coated with choco and cream, soft cakes and so on. The applesaft and grapesaft quenches your thirst in the best possible way. The dinner is prepared with great care, but ultimately it has reached a level of saturation and not able to go that one notch beyond to what can be hailed as wow!!! That's great food!! Dinner ranges from chapathis and aloo parathas to sambar, rasam, tomato rice, dal and curds. The effort is doubled to duplicate our items for next day's lunch.

The temperature here is generally in the negative. In Bangalore, the lowest temperature to have experienced by me is not more than 15 degrees, while in Stuttgart the temperature effortlessly dips to -15 degrees. Unknowingly, we also had the pleasure of trekking at a temperature of -13 degrees one Sunday evening, and then terming it as an evening walk!! We are densely packed - an inner layer of thermals, vests, shirts, sweaters and on top of it a jacket which would have been unimaginable to be worn at Bangalore. Inspite of all this, our bodies feel the deep pangs of cold ripping through the wollen fortress. There is no effect of any kind of gloves here - whatever is worn ends up moist after some time and the hands are almost frozen within a few minutes. The local people are pretty comfortable with the weather. According to them, there is nothing called as bad weather but only bad clothing. I don't know how far I can agree with this statement!!

Stuttgart is a beautiful city with lovely landscapes in the backdrop. The most happening place is the KunigStrasse. It is a long street lined on either side by shops of all dimensions. Anything from vessels to fashion outfits, watches and junk foodies are available here. It is a common hangout for almost everyone to spend time on this street at any given time of the day. The Stuttgart palace, a massive building forms a part of this strasse. We too spent a Friday evening walking along on the street taking snaps at will. It is a different matter that we spend time here even during the weekends. It is an equivalent of Bangalore's MG Road. In simple terms, it is a hep and happening place. There is no scope for vehicles to ply on this road and it is exclusively meant for pedestrians to enjoy their shopping gleefully.

All in all, the adjustments are being done to enjoy the place. It also feels good to call up friends who are in the United States and have long conversations - thanks to the cost effective communication link from here. But then the countdown is still on….One more month to go!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment