Bavaria covers 70,550 kilometers of Germany’s land, and so, we know of it, right? The picturesque villages, medieval towns, beer, and lederhosen. We know of their great cuisine; Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Brawtwurst sausages, the Nurnberger Brawtwurst, potato, and beetroot dishes.
Now, the small region of Swabia, do you know of it? Swabia, in the southwest of Germany is quite different.
Swabia is in the third largest federal-state of Baden-Württemberg. Baden-Württemberg borders the east Upper Rhine that forms a border with France.
There are 8 million Swabians living in Deutschland, most call Baden-Württemberg home, with a few scattering into Bavaria. The capital of Baden-Württemberg is Stuttgart.
Swabians are an ethnic group who has native or ancestral roots in the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia. They speak Swabian, a dialect that other Germans don’t even understand! And they definitely enjoy their individuality.
The Swabian cuisine is made up of meats, Spatzle (a type of egg noodle, and Maultaschen, (pasta filled with diced meats). Gaisburger Marsch is a Swabian stew made with diced ox meat, cooked potatoes and spatzle.
Stuttgart hosts the second largest (next to Munich) beer festival, Cannstatter Volksfest, each autumn.
Neal and I had the privilege of living in Stuttgart for a while; what a great place to live! Rain/snow or shine, we were out and about as much as possible!
Stuttgart Christmas Market
The Stuttgater Wheihnachts Markt, was our first exposure to the European Christmas markets. What a lovely atmosphere and so much fun! Gluhwein first, I never guessed I’d enjoy hot spiced wine!
Holiday music plays while you browse kiosks stuffed with beautifully handmade gifts. Food stands loaded with brawtwurst sausages, pretzels, pastries, and beer, YUM!
Located about 68km from Stuttgart is Hohenzollen Castle in Hohenzollen Germany. This fortress has a long Royal Prussian history, and majestically sits atop Mount Hohenzollen.
Since its construction early in the 11th century, the house of Hohenzollen has split several times. But the castle has remained in the Swabian branch.
We really enjoyed our weekend in Heidelberg, it is located on the shores of the Neckar River, approximately 120km from Stuttgart.
Heidelberg is known for its university, founded in the 14th century.
But Heidelberg’s landmark is the castle ruin, perched above Old Town. It has a huge history of damages by wars and fire, even a lighting strike.
No castle would be complete without a wine cellar, and this one was fit for a king! The main storage consisted of three enormous wine barrels.
This barrel is the biggest, you can barely see me standing next to it! The barrel is a replacement, the previous cask, before it sprung a leak, had the capacity to hold 195,000 liters of wine. In 1750 this one was put to use, containing 228,000 liters of wein!
About 12km down the road from Stuttgart, is Ludwigsburg Palace. The 452 room palace is nicknamed the Versailles of Swabia. Ludwigsburg is actually part of two other structures, Schloss Favorite, and Monrepos. Ludwigsburg is one of the largest complexes in Europe. Also notable, it’s the only one from the baroque period that went undamaged from the 21st century wars.
Construction on the main palace began in 1704, by order of Duke Eberhard Louis and lasted until 1733. Louis also constructed Schloss Favorite from 1717 to 1723 to serve Residenzschloss’s original function as a hunting retreat. His later successor, Charles Eugene, built Schloss Monrepos.
Currently, Ludwigsburg Palace is closed for restoration, re-opening is planned for 2019.