12 Reasons Why I Love Echterdingen, Germany [near Stuttgart]
I love where we live. Our little German town is the perfect location for travel, and our area has some great things to brag about. Many towns in Germany have many of the same amenities and this is something I particularly love about Europe. In Germany, there aren’t suburbs like in the US, but rather small towns that are compact enough to fit most of your needs within a short walk or bike ride.
Here are some of the things I love about our small German town and the lifestyle it brings:
1. The Trails
I can take off from my house and walk or bike to biergartens nearby in the forest. This is also great if you are biking and really need water or something to eat (be careful, you still need to bring cash to pay for that water).
Throughout Germany, it’s common to have trails everywhere around you. All of the farm fields have public trails through them, and the forests have trails connecting to different towns. Germany and Germans in general love nature and it is a huge part of the lifestyle. I found this to be quite unique to Germany; every other European country I’ve visited does not have a trail system like this.
2. Everything is Nearby
Everything I need can be found in my town. When I first moved here I had to re-adjust my shopping habits and start visiting multiple stores to get everything I need (versus the states where you have megastores with everything in them).
I wasn’t terribly surprised by this since I’d studied abroad in Italy and knew how different things are in Europe. Since living here for a while, though, I have come to appreciate this and love all the different products and ingredients I can find.
In my town alone we have multiple butcher shops, a fish market, at least five bakeries (one of which is open on Sundays, an anomaly in Germany), a store called Obi that is basically a Home Depot (even the signage and colors are the same!), a few pharmacies, a farmers market held twice a week, a fruit and veggie stand with every seasonal item you can think of, tanning salons, a few car shops, a foot care store, restaurants, bars, multiple grocery stores…..the list goes on and on. All of this is within walking distance from my front door too which I absolutely love.
I should add that there are some stores here that resemble big box stores in the states such as Real or Kaufmarkt.
3. We have our own Wine Store
We have a wine cellar in our town. It’s called Charles’ Vinotheke and it is huge! Like most gems, it’s tucked away and I only found it because I happened to drive down this random street one day. This place has wines from all over the world and the owner is very helpful.
4. Close to the Airport
We are near the airport. While some people may not like this or consider it a feature, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing the planes fly over our house during the day. They’re not allowed to fly between 10-5am because of a city ordinance (this may have changed since I lived there). Also, when I want to go on a trip it’s only a 10 euro cab ride (or a few miles drive) to the airport.
5. Helpful Neighbors
Our neighbors are awesome. I haven’t talked about this too much but it’s true, I have amazing neighbors. They have parties, bbq’s, an annual neighborhood party, fires cooking homemade gluhwein in the winter and warm afternoon’s sitting on the benches with a beer in hand. They’re always so helpful and nice, and I’m so grateful for how welcoming they’ve been since we moved here.
6. No Car Needed
Everything is within walking distance from our doorstep. I will really miss this when we move back stateside.
7. Train System Just a Walk Away
We have a train called an S-Bahn in our town. From here we can easily get to downtown Stuttgart, to Volksfest in Bad Canstatt, and many other towns in the area.
8. Friendly People in General
It’s a common stereotype that Germans are not the most outwardly friendly people. In our town, hoever, people are really friendly. My Stuttgart friends paint a very different picture, but in my experience, our German neighbors and others in our town are always nice to us.
9. The Best Ice Cream Shop
We have the best ice cream shop in all of Germany. It’s true, we have a little Italian ice cream store on the main street that has the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. I think it was a huge selling point for my husband, he loves his ice cream. Since it’s run by Italians, they stay here for about 6-8 months of the year for the warmer weather, then when it starts to get cold they close up until springtime. I just saw a line last weekend so I should probably go get my fix.
10. Variety of Specialty Shops
We have a really good Asian food store. I love that there is a store for everything. Ours is a Thai store and has all sorts of goodies that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. They have coconut milk that’s just coconut milk and water which I love. Most coconut milk is filled with additives and things I don’t know how to pronounce.
There are many specialty shops like this all over including Italian (how about truffle oil or real Italian noodles from Italy) or Indian (where you can get amazing spices!), among others.
The annual fall celebration of the cabbage, Krautfest, is in our town. This festival lasts all weekend and is packed. They shut down the main road and fill it with food vendors, drink vendors, activities for kids, stages for live music and performances, and more. It’s a really fun festival and people come from all over to try kraut pizza, kraut burgers, or drink baileys in a kraut bowl.
12. Doggy Daycare
There’s nothing better than a reliable place I trust for my dog when traveling. It’s called Dog Holiday (dogonholiday.de) and their rates are really reasonable. They walk her, she socializes with other dogs, and then she comes home and sleeps for days.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons I like living here, such as a great number of restaurants and things to do to keep you around for the weekend. It is still considered a smaller town so I think people that enjoy the liveliness of a city would find it quite dull. For me it’s perfect. I prefer to live near a city, but I don’t necessarily want the hassle of living in one.